Monday, July 30, 2012

The Ultimate Military Commander

I have been away for a couple of weeks. I spent one week in San Diego at a conference for work and the other week was on vacation. While I was in San Diego my hotel was right across the water from the Naval Base. This was a huge base with numerous ship coming and going throughout the day. All day long I saw large helicopters flying overhead as well as boats with what appeared to be Navy Seals on board, large ships and airplanes. To say I felt safe with all of that military activity is an understatement. The training and activity seemed to go on non-stop. That is a good thing for us and our allies.

However, as I was reading this morning I came across an interesting passage that made me think about that week in San Diego.
Daniel 1: 1, 2 - 1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put in the treasure house of his god.
Did you see that, the Lord delivered the king of Judah to Nebuchadnezzar. A battle broke out and the Lord determined the outcome. Look at another passage:
Joshua 10:9-12a  - 9 After an all-night march from Gilgal, Joshua took them by surprise. 10 The Lord threw them into confusion before Israel, who defeated them in a great victory at Gibeon. Israel pursued them along the road going up to Beth Horon and cut them down all the way to Azekah and Makkedah. 11 As they fled before Israel on the road down from Beth Horon to Azekah, the Lord hurled large hailstones down on them from the sky, and more of them died from the hailstones than were killed by the swords of the Israelites.12 On the day the Lord gave the Amorites over to Israel

Again, the Lord gave the Amorites over to Israel. They fought but God determined the outcome. I am sure they trained hard and studied military strategy and were well prepared but that is not what won the battle for Israel.
Judges 4: 14, 15 - 14 Then Deborah said to Barak, “Go! This is the day the Lord has given Sisera into your hands. Has not the Lord gone ahead of you?” So Barak went down Mount Tabor, followed by ten thousand men. 15 At Barak’s advance, the Lord routed Sisera and all his chariots and army by the sword, and Sisera abandoned his chariot and fled on foot.
Again, the Lord routed Sisera.

I believe we have the best trained and most advanced military in the world but in the end the Lord will determine who wins and who loses on the battle field.

The same can be said about any area of our lives. We can study hard, work hard and plan well but in the end the Lord will determine our vocation, our possessions, our place in this world. The writer of the book of Proverbs said the same thing:

Proverbs 3: 5, 6

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
I think one of the things we try to read into this passage is that He will direct our paths away from anything bad and only direct us towards good things. I don't see that here. If you look at the passages above, and there are more I could have included, Israel had the enemy delivered into their hands and Israel was delivered into the hands of the enemy. God allowed what was in the best interest of his people, Israel, to happen. He allowed for prosperity and poverty, he allowed for victory and defeat. The same can be said about our lives. He will direct us into situations that will grow us as believers, sometimes through victory and sometimes through defeat.

In the end we have to decide if we trust that God knows what he is doing. We have to decide if he is not only capable of determining the outcome on the battlefield but but also determining the outcome on our lives as well.

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