Focal passage: Joshua 6:1-5, 12-16, 20
It’s often difficult to persevere when our task seems far from completion. Discouragement and frustration can easily set in and suddenly, giving up seems far more appealing than the path of obedience. What’s our response in the midst of what feels like fruitless labor? Are we quick to forget God’s plans and forego obedience? Or are our lives marked by perseverance in following God’s commands?
Consider the scenario: God had commanded Joshua to march around the city, only to then return to camp without having conquered Jericho, day after day. Consider how they had seen God part the Jordan at the first step they took into its waters. The same God who displayed His might so decisively at the Jordan now seemed to be commanding them to do warm-up exercises.
As leaders we like to see results, but sometimes the lesson that God is teaching is one of patient perseverance and resolute trust in Him. We might imagine one of the Israelites wondering, “Why do we have to keep marching in circles waiting for the seventh day? Why can’t God just act now?”
Without a doubt, God is capable of bringing about the victory now. He is powerful enough to bring about the end result right at this moment. But what then becomes of our being made into the image of Christ? Is it not through faithful obedience that we learn to wait on the Lord instead of seeing Him as our cosmic wish-granter?
We may not know God’s plan for the specific situation we are facing. We might pray and obey for years and not see “victory.” Yet we know with certainty God’s ultimate plan to display His glory and conform us to the image of Christ. We who are in Christ are completely free to obey God and trust Him fully in every circumstance because we have full assurance of His ultimate and decisive victory!
As you lead others, help them to see what a faithful and powerful God it is that requires our obedience!