September 20, 2018
"So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised." Hebrews 10:35-36 (NIV)
Can I make a confession? Sometimes I quit too soon.
I've quit when what I really needed was to press on and press through. Sometimes I've grown tired of the struggle - tired of trying. And I've missed many blessings because I threw up my hands in the battle and said, "Just forget it."
I don't want to do that any longer. I don't want to stop too soon.
The battle plan for Joshua to take the Promised Land was as simple as it was strange, complete with marching for seven days around the city of Jericho, a whole army shouting and priests blowing trumpets. (Read more in Joshua 6:1-21.)
Now, that was a strange plan. God's infinite ways often don't make sense in our finite minds. Sometimes you have to be willing to look ridiculous and be radical to live a remarkable life. The choices you make when you feel God's nudge will become the hinges on which your destiny swings.
Jericho was "tightly shut" (Joshua 6:1, NLT). Sometimes it can feel like our promises are "tightly shut" as well. That doesn't mean we give up. That means we suit up, step up and keep moving forward.
In Joshua 6:2b, God said, "See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands" (NIV). Notice the verb tense. God did not say, "I will deliver Jericho into your hands." He said, "I have delivered Jericho into your hands" (emphasis added). He had already done it, but the Israelites had to obey and put their foot down to receive it. I love how God speaks in past tense to our present problems.
But here's the conundrum: What do you do when what God says doesn't match up with what you see? When all you see is a big wall standing between your promise and your present situation?
There will be times when you're doing everything you know to do, and you still don't see any movement. The Israelites walked around Jericho for six days, and as far as they could tell, nothing happened. I'm sure it unnerved the people behind the wall, but as far as the walkers could tell, not one brick fell.
This is where many give up - me included - when they don't see any progress. "God, throw me a bone," I cry. "Show me a little something! Let me see just a hint of progress! Can I see one brick fall?" And God says, "Keep walking ... by faith."
Just because you don't see God working does not mean He isn't. Jesus said, "My Father is always working" (John 5:17, NLT). The writer of Hebrews notes: "So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised" (Hebrews 10:35-36, NIV).
Today, you might be on lap number seven around your "Jericho" and not even know it. Suppose they had stopped on day six, saying, "This is ridiculous. I'm not feelin' it. Not one stone has fallen to the ground. I don't see any progress. Those folks are probably in there laughing their heads off. So I'm going home."
They would have missed the blessing.
I wonder how many times I've missed the blessing because I stopped too soon. Perhaps you've wondered:
- How much longer will I have to wait until God brings my prodigal home?
- How much longer will I have to struggle with my unbelieving husband?
- How much longer will I have to endure this dead-end job?
- How many more laps will I have to walk around Jericho before the walls come tumbling down, and I can take hold of my Promised Land?
I don't know the answer to the question of how much longer, but I do know this: Tomorrow could be the final lap. Don't give up too soon.
Lord, sometimes I just want to give up. As a matter-of-fact, I am tempted to give up on something pretty important right now. Fill me with the power of the Holy Spirit on the inside, so I can persevere on the outside. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Galatians 6:9, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." (NIV)
Today's devotion was adapted from Sharon Jaynes' book, Take Hold of the Faith You Long For: Let Go, Move Forward, Live Bold. Don't settle for a mediocre faith that's less than what God intends. Grab hold of that mountain-moving faith you've always longed for!
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What's one situation in your life when you perhaps gave up too soon? Where is God calling you to press on? Share your thoughts in our comments section.
Get a sticky note, and write the following: "I will not give up on _____________." Fill in the blank and keep it somewhere you'll see it often.
© 2018 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.