Wouldn’t it be nice if life would slow down just a little bit?’
Have you ever voiced those words or heard them from a friend? Even though we can be responsibly focused on the next conquest or checking something off of our ‘to-do’ list, many times we do find ourselves as if spinning on a merry-go-round – hardly hanging on and afraid to let go. ‘Faster, faster, faster’ someone shouts.
Let us look at two verses from scripture to help illustrate how God establishes your victory in this fast-paced world – things that when understood will ensure your victory in any situation. After all, God has a better way and it will mean the defeat of your enemies as you learn His secrets to success.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, if you are a Christian and are allowing the grace (or power) and Spirit of God to work in your life, then time IS on your side. We serve a God who is not limited by time as He exists in a timeless eternal realm where it is impossible for Him to be too early or too late.
‘The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.’ Lam.3:25-26
Sometimes God allows waiting so that the enemy can fully see what God is doing in you and fear His mighty hand. Psalms 66:3 reveals this. Our waiting on God prepares us as much as our victory which brings a great dread in the hearts of those who may oppose us. Wait for the Lord to develop a heart of victory in you as He prepares a heart of dread in your enemy. Getting ahead of Him will abort this process and may require us to fight in a way we would have otherwise not needed to.
Most Christians learn early that the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years after seeing God’s mighty deliverance from the bondages of Egypt. Joshua 2:10-11 tells us one of the benefits of this time through the words of Rahab the harlot in Jericho. When two spies came to spy on her city, she tells them –
‘We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.’ Joshua 2:10-11
It is important to remember that 40 years had passed since the Israelites had left Egypt and God had dried up the Red Sea. For 40 years, the hearts of the inhabitants of Jericho “melted in fear’ as they grew up hearing the stories of an enemy they are now having to face. Kings had fallen and now it was their turn. They already saw their defeat before a sword left a sheath or one battle horn had been blown.
You may have heard the phrase, ‘your name precedes you’. This refers to a reputation going before you to change the outcome and surroundings before you ever arrive. It is important that we walk in the Holy Spirit fruit of patience as it is the very place that victory is born.
After the spies leave Jericho, this fear that burns in the hearts of kings is stirred so that the nation of Israel can prepare itself through consecration (see the whole account in Joshua 5). Here in verses 1-3 we read –
‘Now when all the Amorite kings west of the Jordan and all the Canaanite kings along the coast heard how the Lord had dried up the Jordan before the Israelites until they had crossed over, their hearts melted in fear and they no longer had the courage to face the Israelites. At that time the Lord said to Joshua, “Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelites again.” So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the Israelites at Gibeath Haaraloth.’ Joshua 5:1-3
Here we see that God uses fear in our enemies to give us an oft needed time of rest and realignment with Him that can test our hearts. Use it.
After the army heals, this story continues with the march around Jericho in Joshua chapter 6 where God lays out the ‘rules of engagement’. The spies were protected and Rahab was told that if she tied a scarlet cord out her window, she and her whole family would be saved when the Israelites attacked the city.
With the army prepared for attack, they were told to ‘march without saying a word’. Conversation is helpful but within the wrong circumstances, speaking out loud can lead to distraction and foil success. This time to wait before attacking afforded a highly necessary delay. Undoubtedly, by the end of the 7 days of marching, everyone in the army had come to notice the scarlet cord indicating the family and area to protect.
Had they talked amongst themselves or moved too fast, Rahab’s family could have been killed and an oath of protection thwarted. As we see at the end of the story, there is a time to shout!
‘On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times. The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the army, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city!’ Joshua 6:15-16
Patience is a virtue. Haste does make waste. And as Isaiah 40:31 tells us,
‘But they that wait (hope, trust) upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.’
God knows where you need to be. True faith is knowing where you are destined while being at peace where you are. It is His job to finish what He has begun in you. There is wisdom in learning to say, ‘Not so fast!’ – and then pray. In summary, God calls for us to slow down and walk at His pace while He provokes a fear in your enemy and gives you time to notice the small and easily missed things along the way.