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Below you’ll find my thoughts as they pertain to each portion of scripture we read this week. Come back on Monday when we’ll continue our study on Faith & Provision.
Week 2 Conclusion
Wasn’t this week’s study amazing? I found it empowering knowing that God is working through me regardless of how small or incapable I might be.
I went through some stress this past week. Nothing much, but enough to make me restless. I started to worry about what I did wrong and how I could slay this giant looming before me. I got to praying right away asking for wisdom and strength. I felt like a complete failure.
And do you know what got me through?
Eight little words. “I’m here because God wants me to be.” I had to say that to myself a few times before it kicked in. I couldn’t understand why, but after digging into the Word this past week I knew that understanding wasn’t part of the equation. Trust was. I had to believe that God was at work behind the scenes. I had to trust that His wisdom excelled mine. I had to rejoice when I least felt like it. I had to trade my wisdom for His.
And you know what? The very next day things fell into place better than I ever imagined they would.
I was reminded of this quote by Martin Luther King, Jr. “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
Even when we think that we can see the whole staircase, we can’t. Things could change at any time. We can be heading in one direction today, and a completely different direction tomorrow. All we have is this moment to rejoice, and be thankful, and trust.
God always provides, in ways that excel the wisdom of man. Sometimes He pares us down first. He takes away the things we think are important so that we might learn the importance of trusting, and leaning, and hoping for things that are beyond the scope of this world.
1 Samuel 17:1-51 – “David & Goliath”
Throughout history, God has been using the foolish things of this world to confound the wise, the weak to dismantle the mighty, and few men to overthrow a vast army. Why? So, we might clearly see His mighty power and strength.
1 Corinthians 1:27-29 reads, “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence.” (KJV)
It’s for this reason that God chose a young shepherd boy to face the mighty Goliath instead of choosing a skilled warrior to accomplish the task.
So many read this story and completely miss the point by glorifying the courage of David instead of recognizing the power of God within Him. Philippians 2:13 reminds us, “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Do you see that? He works in us both to will and to act.
It’s not a story about courage. Although courage is an important virtue to have. It’s about the mighty power of God, His authority, and His strength. The victory isn’t ours, it’s His.
There’s another layer to this story which is often overlooked. It’s found just a few chapters back in 1 Samuel 13:19-22:
“Not a blacksmith could be found in the whole land of Israel, because the Philistines had said, ‘Otherwise the Hebrews will make swords or spears!’ So all Israel went down to the Philistines to have their plow points, mattocks, axes and sickles sharpened. The price was two-thirds of a shekelfor sharpening plow points and mattocks, and a third of a shekelfor sharpening forks and axes and for repointing goads. So on the day of the battle not a soldier with Saul and Jonathan had a sword or spear in his hand; only Saul and his son Jonathan had them.”
We see that Goliath wasn’t simply a giant, He was a champion armed with weapons of war, while the Israelites were for the most part disarmed. This couldn’t have happened by chance—God doesn’t move forth unprepared. Every detail of this story was set in place with incomparable wisdom and care. As we read further on in this study we’ll see a similar story as God pares down Gideon’s army before sending them off to battle. That’s how He works when it comes to our faith.
Charles Spurgeon once wrote, “Whenever God means to make a man great, He always first breaks him in pieces.”
Have you noticed that in your own life? How you’re completely disarmed in the midst of a trial? How everything is stripped away before it gets better?
The question is, do you have more faith in your problem, or in the power of God to solve it?
David stood before the giant and said, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty.” Faith was his weapon of choice. It wasn’t his strength, his courage, or even his sling that brought down the giant. It was faith in the power of God working through him.
Joshua 6:1-20 “The Battle of Jericho”
It’s been a week since I read this chapter and the seven-day march has been on my mind every day. I’m intrigued by God’s mysterious wisdom, and fascinated by His attention to detail. I could never assume that I full understand God’s intentions, but I’d venture to guess that He commanded them to march around the city for seven days so that their faith could be tested. Not faith in the size of their army or the weapons they had—just faith in the wisdom of God.
His plan would seem foolish to most. No weapons of warfare, no plan of attack. Just simple obedience to an almighty God. As they marched, they exercised patience, reliance, and trust. Accepting the wisdom of God, they adhered to God’s plan and followed His lead.
Marshall Segal, a staff writer at DesiringGod.org writes, “If you’ve walked with Jesus for long, you’ve likely felt what some of them were feeling: a hope in God’s promises mixed with rising impatience about his timing; an awareness of God’s bigness and wisdom, but a lingering suspicion that you know better than he does; a genuine faith that he would come through in the end, but with persistent questions about how he would do it.”
We’re all faced with trials. Perhaps not a 30 ft. wall, but these obstacles loom before us none the less. Without a plan of attack, it’s hard to imagine that the walls will come down, but in God’s timing and by His wisdom they do.
My favorite Bible verse from Ephesians 3:20 says that He is “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” (KJV)
It reminds me that Someone much greater than me is at work in my life. Someone who knows every step that I take. Who holds my future in one hand and His plan in another. Someone who is able to take that future and mold it into something much greater than I could ever imagine. Someone Who has my best interest at heart. While the waiting, reliance, and trusting may not always make sense to my limited understanding of God, I’m still marching in faith.
By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days. – Hebrews 11:30, (NIV)
Judges 7:1-25 “Gideon and the Small Army”
God uses people to display His glory, not by their strength, or power, or numbers, but by His strength alone.
We see this in the story of Gideon as God pares down the army by removing more than two thirds of their men. His intentions are clear—the victory belongs to the Lord.
“You have too many men.” He says, “I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’”
So, 22,000 men left while 10,000 remained. But God didn’t stop there. He wasn’t satisfied until He had pared down that army to merely 300 men.
Looking back at Judges chapter 6, we see that Gideon wasn’t the brave warrior one might expect to find leading an army to battle. He was timid and doubtful, and needed a lot of convincing before he agreed to God’s plan. Imagine his thought process as his army of 22,000 men was whittled away.
Perhaps courage wasn’t Gideons greatest asset, but we can clearly see that obedience was. Without question he sent the men home as commanded by God.
There have been times when God has allowed me to be “pared” down so that He might prepare me for bigger things. Times when friendships have crumbled, people have moved on, I lost a job that I thought was everything at the time, finances were tough, my children were sick…
Those times of paring down are times of growth, because I learn to trust less in this world. I learn to lean on my savior for everything that I have. I learn to trust Him with the next step. I learn that where I am and what I have at this moment is more than enough because He is at work.
Maybe you’d like to weigh in? I’d love to hear your thoughts. 🙂
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That’s all for today. Have a great weekend, and I’ll be back on Monday for Week 3 of Faith & Provision.
You are loved by an almighty God,
The Time-Warp Wife
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