Obedience Does Not Guarantee Victory

man prayingDuring a battle recorded in Judges 20, two times the Israelites prayed and asked God if they should fight the Tribe of Benjamin. Both times God said, yes. Both times they were defeated, proving obedience does not guarantee victory.

The Israelites couldn’t figure out the loses. They asked. God said fight. They fought. They were defeated.

God didn’t guarantee victory. He just told them what to do.

As the Israelites discovered through this battle, obedience does not guarantee victory. Nor does it guarantee our desired outcome. Sometimes the purpose of obedience is to teach us faithfulness to God’s directions.

After suffering severe losses both days of battle, the Israelites once again asked God if they should fight the next day. God said, yes, adding, “I will see to it that you defeat the men of Benjamin.”

Often, I believe, our default is to expect our desired outcome because we are obedient. Have you ever felt that way? As we see with the Israelites, although they prayed for direction and did what God said, victory was not granted until the third time they went to battle.

While writing this post I thought of Elisabeth and Jim Elliot, missionaries in the jungles of Ecuador. For Elisabeth, after nine months of developing a written language for the Ecuadorans in the jungle, her suitcase full of handwritten materials translating the language was stolen as she prepared to leave. Everything she worked tirelessly on so the people living in the remote jungle could have the Gospel in their own language was gone. Elisabeth’s obedience did not guarantee victory.

Then there is Jim. For nine months he repaired three dilapidated buildings, and constructed two new ones at the Shandia mission station in the eastern jungle of Ecuador. In addition to all that, he had five hundred hand-planed boards for future buildings on hand. Those boards represented five hundred day’s work. Regardless of his obedience to spread the Gospel to the people of Ecuador, the entire station of Shandia was demolished in a flood. It literally washed away. Not long after, Jim died at the hands of the Auca Indians at the age of 29. Jim’s obedience did not guarantee victory.

There are many more stories where the obedience of God’s people did not guarantee victory, both in Scripture and in the lives of those around us. The important thing, I believe, is to be obedient. And in that obedience, God brings victory.

Victory may not look as we imagine, or happen in our timing. Who knows? Victory may not come until we hear Christ say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

How do you handle times when your obedience does not bring the victory you expected?

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

The men of Israel asked the Lord, “Shall we go out again and fight against our brother Benjamin, or shall we stop?”

And the Lord said, “Go, for tomorrow I will see to it that you defeat the men of Benjamin.” Judges 20:28b

You can find my June Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Photo by Samuel Martins on Unsplash

Sunday Scriptures — We Don’t Have to Understand to Obey

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

We don’t have to understand to obey.

That pretty much sums up what the story of Joshua and the battle of Jericho says to me. Throughout these past three weeks I’ve looked at the story of the Israelites entry into the Promised Land from the beginning act of following the Ark of God, their obedience demonstrating their trust in God, and setting up a memorial to remember God’s provision.

In my study of this chapter in Israel’s history one commentary I read said, “Obedience to God does not require a total understanding of his commands; it requires trust in God even when his entire purpose cannot be seen.” Like I said … we don’t have to understand to obey.

It’s one more reminder he is God and we are not. God owes us no explanation. He doesn’t need our approval before he sets his plan in motion. He tells us to jump. We ask how high.

We may be at a time where our life makes no sense whatsoever. We don’t understand the twists and turns that led us to this place. We don’t know what God’s plans are, or why they seem so slow in coming.

We don’t have to understand to obey.

Here are some of the lessons we can learn through the example we have of the Israelites entering the Promised Land and conquering Jericho.

  • Follow the Lord’s leading because this is new territory, and we could get lost if we take our eyes off him.
  • Our obedience to follow God’s instructions for how he wants things done demonstrates our trust in him and his plan for our lives.
  • Remember what the Lord has done, and tell others.

What other lessons have you learned in your journey to the Promised Land?

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

On the seventh day the Israelites got up at dawn and marched around the town as they had done before. But this time they went around the town seven times. The seventh time around, as the priests sounded the long blast on their horns, Joshua commanded the people, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the town! Joshua 6:15-16 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Obedience

bing imagesby Sandy Kirby Quandt

Sometimes I wonder why God gave the Israelites certain instructions.

Like why did they have to walk silently around the fortified city of Jericho once a day for six days and then on the seventh day walk around seven times?

bing imagesDuring the seventh spin around the walls, the priests were told to blow their trumpets while everyone shouted at the top of their voices.

Then the walls came a-tumblin’ down.

God already told Joshua the victory was a done deal.

The city of Jericho would be destroyed.

Fear of the Israelites and their God would fill the hearts of the Canaanites.

So, why the week of walking around the city?

Why didn’t God just level the towering 20-foot thick walls and be done with it? Why did he tell the army and priests to follow his instructions and walk around the city walls for seven days?

Obedience.

That’s what I think.

God certainly didn’t need Joshua’s help to destroy Jericho. He used Joshua, but didn’t need him. God allowed Joshua, the army, and the priests to be a part of the victory, but he didn’t need them to accomplish his plan.

I believe God told the Israelites to march around the city of Jericho for seven days to see if they would be obedient in a rather simple task before he asked them to be obedient in something a little more difficult. I believe God wanted the Israelites to experience the victory that can be found in obedience to God so they would be more willing to obey further down the line.

And I believe it’s the same for us today. Don’t you?

God gives us multiple opportunities to obey him. When we do, we experience victory over sin and Satan.

We are told not to be jealous.

When someone receives an honor, or accolades we want bing imageswe have the opportunity to be obedient and not become jealous.

We are told not to look down on others.

When someone crosses our path or enters our life who we might not necessarily feel is in our social circle we have the opportunity to be obedient and not think more highly of ourselves than we should.

We are told to put God first in our lives.

When some other good thing, insert your own good thing here, threatens to draw us away from time spent worshiping God we have the opportunity to be obedient and not put any person or thing before him.

As with Joshua and the battle of Jericho, Jesus has already won the battle over hell, sin, Satan, and death. The victory is ours through the Resurrected Savior. All he asks is for us to claim him as Lord of our lives and be obedient to his will. He gives us the opportunity to experience his victory through our obedience to him.

Do you think you would have been on-board to walk around Jericho seven times?

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

The people of Jericho were afraid because the Israelites were near. They closed the city gates and guarded them. No one went into the city, and no one came out.

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Look, I have given you Jericho, its king, and all its fighting men. March around the city with your army once a day for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets made from horns of male sheep and have them march in front of the Ark. On the seventh day march around the city seven times and have the priests blow the trumpets as they march. They will make one long blast on the trumpets. When you hear that sound, have all the people give a loud shout. Then the walls of the city will fall so the people can go straight into the city.” Joshua 6:1-5 (NCV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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