I grew up playing sports from the time I was 3 years old. My dad coached little league and would take me to the practices. His team would practice on an old playground at the three-story red brick school-house in our little town of 200. There was no backstop so any foul ball or missed ball from the catcher was my to snag. I have vivid memories of Dad asking me to grab a bat and taking my first swing of the bat. I remember hitting it to him and he threw me out, but it is still as real as when he happened many years ago.
The many teams I played on won our share of battles, but rarely knew the outcome of the games before we played. It was only during the games that you would get the feeling of being victorious or defeated. What if we had known that every battle or game had a foregone conclusion before it was played and that outcome was that you were going to be victorious. That is the goal anyway, isn’t it. Not to lose but to win. Whether it’s a baseball game or a battle of two powers, the goal is to win. Total victory. Total domination. Total submission. Win. That is the goal.
Thousands of years ago, God had the same thought in mind when He heard his children crying out to him in Egypt. They had gone down to Egypt to get food because of a severe famine in their land and stayed–for several hundred years. Unfortunately, the land they lived in turned them into slaves and they began to cry about their misfortunes and situations. God heard them and promised to bring them out of Egypt and promised to give them a land of their own where they would be safe and free from slavery. You can read their plight and freedom from slavery in Exodus and Numbers. God said he would give them victory from the enemies of the promised land, but they didn’t believe him, so the men 20+ years of age all died over a 40 year time because they didn’t believe that God had given them victory.
Fast forward 40 years where all the men 20 years and older had died in the nation of Israel and they are at the same place ready to enter the promised land again with a new leader, Joshua. Joshua sends in two spies to specifically look at the first battle they will encounter, Jericho. The spies go into Jericho and connect with Rahab, the harlot who tells them about the mindset of all people living in Jericho.
She said to them, “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below. (Joshua 2:9-11 NIV)
God had given them success and victory before there was ever a battle, but they didn’t experience this truth for 42+ years because of their focus on their own power or lack thereof and not on God’s power. They (all the men 20+ old who died) could have had it all and could still have lived, had they trusted in God’s power versus their own power. They never got to experience God’s promise because of their unbelief.
How many times has God-given us a promise in the bible for our personal lives and yet we never experience that promise because of our focus being on the circumstances of live versus the Power of the Master in charge. Frankly I don’t want to even think about that because of the unopened gifts I could have had if I would have only trusted Him.
On this journey we have a choice daily to put our trust in Him and His power to realize His promises for our lives or to trust in the power that causes us to miss out on the abundant life He offers. I do know what my choice needs to be and choose to pursue that choice daily. How about you?