They said to Joshua, “The LORD has surely given the whole land into our hands; all the people are melting in fear because of us.” ~ Joshua 2:24
“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. 17 Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. 18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. ~ Matthew 10:16-20
Resting in God’s will doesn’t always guarantee smooth sailing. So often as the Israelites came to battle against another country they would have clear signs that God was leading them (or not). Their victory dominated to such an extent that God’s power struck fear in the hearts of their enemies (interesting side note that the other people all recognized that the power of their God won the battles, not necessarily the power of their army).
Flip over a few hundred years to the New Testament and Jesus, God the Son, sent out his disciples directly. No prophets needed to discern God’s will there. I love the reassurances of Christ amid the reminders of the Old Testament take over of the Promise Land. Israel endured battles, victorious, but they were still at war with all the violence and pain that it entails.
Disciples went out into the spiritual battlefield.
We do the same.
The end result is guaranteed victory, but some days it is easy to forget that. I sure don’t face arrest or floggings, but do sometimes get a cold stare or a retort adorned with cynicism.
Sheep among wolves. I feel that at times.
Victory in the end, but right now the battle rages. Staying shrewd and innocent, and trusting that God will give me the strength to speak when my own words fail. I don’t need to craft the answers. He will give them. I don’t need to wonder if I have the strength to stand in face of that unbearable opposition. He will be my support.
Despite the counterattacks I should have the same confidence that the spies exhibited. God’s power is melting hearts still today.
Father God, We live in times of such fierce opposition to the gospel. Such blatant apathy and animosity to Your Word and Your Son. I know how the story ends though, and I need to continue fighting. Keep this sheep determined to stand for you. Thank you, Lord, for the evidence of your strength and working each day. ~Amen