The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the LORD.
Have you ever felt that — life is an uphill battle? Like I’ve said before, “One step forward. Two steps back.” Big problems get bigger. And no matter how hard you try to climb out of the hole of adversity you just can’t seem to make progress.
Even those who are wise enough to prepare for the unfortunate eventualities of the future still must fight the battle when it comes. You can have the best insurance policy on the planet, but that doesn’t eliminate the pain and suffering that accompany a debilitating disease. Scrimp and save all your days and then the stock market goes south, or a family crisis takes all you have.
No matter how meticulously you plan for the future, you can’t guarantee a positive outcome. Without question, God honors faith. But not all of our desired outcomes are in His will. Jesus didn’t want to suffer the agony of the cross. But He willingly surrendered to God’s higher purpose when He prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)
Our focus text from Proverbs speaks to the preparations we make for life’s battles. “The horse is made ready for the day of battle..” Well, you aren’t likely readying a horse for an impending conflict, but you may be plotting a course of action.
When in crisis mode, we seek help and encouragement. Friends, family, co-workers may or may not be the best resource, but we give them a try. Sometimes we seek the advice of professional counselors and religious leaders. We read self-help and motivational books. And if we’re facing health related issues, we turn to physical trainers, medical doctors, or herbal remedy practitioners.
As Christians, we appeal to God for answers and a strategy for victory — as we should. (Luke 11:9, James 5:16) We scour the Bible for God’s promises and counsel — also as we should. (Psalm 119:105) We see His forgiveness and do all we can to excel in righteousness and godly living.
When Janet and I were shopping for a home, we toured a house equipped with a storm shelter. The builder explained that if the dwelling were destroyed by a tornado, the inhabitants would survive.
Sometimes the best we can hope for in a disaster is to survive. But that’s not where our focus text leads. “Victory rests with the Lord.” Victory isn’t just surviving. It’s overcoming hardship, defeating the enemy, beating the odds, achieving success, and winning the prize.
The process for the Christian is two-fold. (1) Prepare for battle. (2) Victory rests with the Lord.
It always comes down to point #2, doesn’t it? The outcome is in the Lord’s hands.
As I write this, I’m closing in on the end of my 70th year on this earth. A drop in the bucket compared to eternity. In my life, I have made many plans and undergone great preparation for specific outcomes. Some have ended in the victory I hoped for. Others have crashed on the rocks of failure and disappointment. But the greatest of all victories still remains. Thank God, I’m prepared, and the outcome is assured. The ultimate “victory rests with the Lord.”
No way I could recall all the conflicts of my life. There have been many. But the greatest of all battles is coming. And this one won’t just be my battle, but it will affect everyone.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:2 we’re warned that “the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” Therefore, we must be ready. On that great day, all Christians will receive victory over man’s greatest foe which is death. “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:5)
It is wise to prepare for the potential crises of life. But the greatest plan is the Lord’s plan for eternity in His heaven with Him. Victory is guaranteed for all who place their trust in Jesus.
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
For more on this topic, check out this article: Heaven is a Choice and Not Mandatory
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 4 (October – December) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.