Man and mountain(Part 2)

Let’s look at 2 stories from the Bible that illustrate a couple ways we learn to endure with faith rather than quit before our breakthrough.

The first story is the account of the Hebrews as they circled Jericho to conquer it (Joshua 2-6).  God had given Joshua the word that they were to conquer Jericho but the walls of the city and the fortifications were immensely intimidating.  The Israelites were outnumbered and out-gunned, so to speak. But God wasn’t asking them to fight.  He told them to simply circle the city 7 times – one circle per day. 7 is the number of perfection in the Bible, so God was telling Joshua and his people that there is a plan in the mind of God and if we follow it to its completion, we win. The problem is that we often quit before that happens!

What would the end of the story be if the Israelites had stopped marching on Day 6? Over 3 million Israelites would not have seen a miracle when the walls of Jericho melted into the desert sand like a stick of butter on a hot sidewalk. They wouldn’t have seen God fight a battle for them that they couldn’t fight on their own.  And they would not have been able to take that city as the first conquered city in the Promised land, that had been given to Abraham hundreds of years earlier.

Thank God they circled all 7 times, even though they saw no cracks in the wall by the 6th trip; even though they may have felt stupid circling a city, blowing a trumpet; even though the men who marched went home each night to their wives and had no progress to report. Thank God for their sakes and ours that they didn’t quit.

Now we can rationalize that their instructions weren’t so hard to follow because they only had to stick it out for one week.  I know, I know…some of the situations that we’re facing have been going on for years! And I get it.  I am in some of those right now.  Believe me, not seeing any movement in an area of your life for years can really make you want to throw in not just the towel, but the entire gym bag. In moments of severe discouragement, I’ve heard myself say, “Forget it! This isn’t working. I have better things to do with my time than to keep striving toward this goal that is elusive.”

But is it elusive or is it just not here yet?

Now let’s look at the life of Joseph from the Old Testament.  Joseph was the favorite son of his wealthy father. As a teenager, Joseph was given a series of dreams by God. In those dreams, he was elevated to high position and his father and brothers were bowing to him. Unfortunately, in his youthful impetuousness, he made the mistake of telling his older brothers, who were already jealous and fed-up with his pampered position, that one day they would all bow to him. And for this, they hated him even more and plotted to kill him. However, instead of killing him they sold him to Ishmaelite slave traders who were on their way to Egypt. Thus, in the prime of his life, Joseph finds himself sold into an Egyptian landowner’s house as his slave. That’s a huge step backward for this young man. Joseph worked for Potiphar for about ten years without getting any closer to the word that God gave him about being a leader with authority and power.  While he was a great manager, and that was a certain kind of authority, it was not what Joseph knew in his heart God had promised him. I’m sure he was tempted to give up on his dreams many times, because as a slave his future looked mapped out at best.

And then everything went to pieces.  He ends up in an Egyptian prison because of the lie of one woman. At this point in his life, he could not be any further from the materialization of his dream than he is sitting in that prison.  Years go by.  Not days.  Not months.  Years. Years where he makes a name for himself and becomes the manager of all of the prisoners but still remains incarcerated.  Years where he interprets the dreams of 2 prisoners and one swears he will try to help Joseph get out and then forgets about him.  Joseph had years of having to endure a trial that most of us cannot imagine. But he didn’t quit.  He didn’t give up on God or on his dream.

And because of that, he was perfectly positioned for his breakthrough when it came. If he had weaseled his way out of prison even one day earlier, he wouldn’t have been where he needed to be in order to get called upon by the Pharaoh to interpret his dream.  In that moment, Joseph went from being a prisoner to being the second highest in command in all Egypt.  God fulfilled EVERY part of Joseph’s dream because he was faithful and didn’t quit.

Now you:

  • Do you have dreams in your heart that don’t seem to be materializing right now?
  • Do you have situations that have been hard for such a long time that you are tempted to throw up your hands and quit?
  • What thought patterns do you have running below the surface that are causing you to fight against yourself when you try to endure?

If you struggle with quitting on commitments, relationships, or your own dreams for your life, you can get back up and receive grace from God to change.  I’m telling you, God can change anyone or anything. We cannot change ourselves in the deep and healed ways that bring lasting peace and consistency.  The best we are capable of doing is reforming our behavior.  But even that is exhausting. So talk to the Lord today.  Ask HIm to revive your hope, grant you strength to endure and restore your vision for His wonderful plans for your life.

Let’s pray:

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you that when I am tempted to quit, I can ask for grace to help me in my time of need and receive the ability to stay in the game! I don’t want to quit and lose my reward.  I know that there are works You have prepared for me to do before the foundations of the world and I certainly don’t want to quit without achieving ALL that you have ordained for me to do.  If you prepared the works, I have what it takes to accomplish them.  I just need to access the grace to finish my course! So Father God, I ask for grace to be poured out on me.  I humble myself before You and confess that I can’t do this on my own.  Thank you for changing me! In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Ephesians 2:10: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

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