The unexpected need not derail us as we lean on Him.
Today’s Scripture reading comes from 1 Kings 20:22, quoting from the NASB:
“Then the prophet came near to the king of Israel and said to him, ‘Go strengthen yourself and observe and see what you have to do; for at the turn of the year the king of Aram will come up against you.’”
There is much to be said for taking advantage of the right time to rest and gain perspective in anticipation of what might lie ahead. With a certainty, we can be assured troubles will come, sooner or later. As seasons change, so do the realities of daily living. A consideration of how the Lord provided in the past provides fuel to go the distance when the unexpected occurs.
King Ahab’s wars with the Aramean King Ben-hadad are described in 1 Kings 20. Israel’s small army was not allied with other nations as was the Aramean army. In fact, King Ben-hadad had pushed Israel around, requiring Israel’s silver, gold, women and children. Not until the Lord put an end to Israel’s acquiescence did Ahab stand up to Ben-hadad. By a surprise attack, Ben-hadad found himself in retreat with plans to attack Israel again in the spring.
Intimidation, threats, and the unknown have a way of manufacturing fear and anxiety. However, God’s wisdom is available to us. God’s prophet gave Ahab answers, the way ahead, and confidence. Today—God’s Word and His abiding presence steady us when we are facing great and small obstacles. As with Ahab, the very things that are not obvious to us, the Lord uses as His tool to deliver us.
At the corner of triumph is not the place to pull back and declare, “game over, problem solved.” It is time to do as the prophet told King Ahab: “strengthen yourself,” recoup, and be ready for what lies ahead. Rest in the Lord and reflect on His presence—even when His presence may seem less apparent. Know that conditions will change, but the Lord’s presence never does. The unexpected need not derail us as we lean on Him, for it is God who guides and helps. The one whose confidence is in the Lord has no weakness a foe can take advantage of. May the Lord be our guide in all circumstances, and may He daily strengthen us to be suited for whatever comes our way.
Points to Ponder
Over the next week, here are 3 points to ponder during your personal time of reflection or with a small group or mentor.
- First, how are you resting in God? Is He your very present help in times of trouble?
- Second, what do you need to do to be ready for unexpected troubles?
- Third, have you resolved not to allow evil to rule or dictate your behavior? Are you likely to retaliate with an eye for an eye, or do grace and compassion dictate your reaction to evil?