Can I make a confession? Sometimes I quit too soon. I’ve quit when what I really needed to do was to press on and press through. Sometimes I’ve gotten tired of the struggle—tired of trying. And you know what? I’ve missed many blessings because I threw up my hands in the battle and said, “Just forget it.” I don’t want to do that any longer. I don’t want to stop too soon.
I think about the Israelites taking the Promised Land. I wonder if I would have kept walking or wanted to just give up on the third trek around Jericho.
Remember the story? The battle plan to take the Promised Land was as simple as it was strange.
Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.” (Joshua 1:2-5)
Now, that was a strange plan. God’s infinite ways often don’t make sense in our finite minds. Sometimes you have to be willing to look ridiculous and be radical to live a remarkable life. The choices you make when you feel God’s nudge will become the hinges on which your destiny swings.
Jericho was “tightly shut up” (Joshua 6:1 NLT). Sometimes it can feel that our promises are “tightly shut up.” That doesn’t mean that we give up. That means that we suit up, step up, and keep moving forward.
God said, “See, I have delivered them into your hands.” Notice that verb tense. God did not say, “I will deliver them into your hands.” He said, “I have delivered them into your hands.” He had already done it, but they had to obey and put their foot down to receive it. I love how God speaks in past tense to our present problems.
But here’s the conundrum: What do you do when what God says doesn’t match up with what you see? When all you see is a big wall standing between your promise and your present situation?
There will be times when you are doing everything you know to do, and you still don’t see any movement. The Israelites walked around Jericho for six days, and as far as they could tell, nothing happened. I’m sure it unnerved the people behind the wall, but as far as the walkers could tell, not one brick fell.
This is where many give up—when they don’t see any progress. “God, throw me a bone,” I cry. “Show me a little something! Let me see just a hint of progress! Can I see one brick fall?” And God says, “Keep walking…by faith.”
Jesus said, “My Father is always at work” (John 5:17). The writer of Hebrews notes: “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised” (Hebrews 10:35-36).
Today, you might be on lap number seven and not even know it. Supposed they had stopped on day six saying, “This is ridiculous. I’m not feelin’ it. Not one stone has fallen to the ground. I don’t see any progress. Those folks are probably in there laughing their heads off. I’m going home.”
They would have missed the blessing.
I wonder how many times I have missed the blessing because I stopped too soon. Perhaps you’ve wondered:
- How much longer will I have to wait until God brings my prodigal home?
- How much longer will I have to struggle with this unbelieving husband?
- How much longer will I have to endure this dead-end job?
- How many more laps will I have to walk around Jericho before the walls come tumbling down and I can take hold of my Promised Land?
I don’t know the answer to the question of how much longer, but I do know this, tomorrow could be the final lap. Don’t give up too soon.
Lord, sometimes I just want to give up. As a matter-of-fact, I am tempted to give up on something pretty important right now. Fill me with the power of the Holy Spirit on the inside, so that I can persevere on the outside. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
What is one situation in your life right now that God is calling you to press on? Leave a comment and let’s pray for each other.
Today’s devotion was adapted from my book, Take Hold of the Faith You Long For: Let Go, Move Forward, Live Bold. Join me as I show you how to take hold of all that Jesus has done for you and placed in you. Don’t settle for a mediocre faith that’s less than what God intends. Grab hold of that mountain-moving faith you’ve always longed for! This book also includes a Bible study guide and could be the very study to help you take that next step of faith.