Defeat Before Victory

…”The Israelites asked the Lord, “Should we fight against our relatives from Benjamin again, or should we stop?”… (Judges 20:28 NLT).
God’s ways are sometimes mysterious. We should not think it too strange when a just cause initially encounters defeat.  Nor should we assume that in the short-term that success is an endorsement of our pursuits.  If Israel had stopped after two tries, this story would have had an altogether different ending.
This story in the Book of Judges chronicles how Israel unites against the tribe of Benjamin to punish them for a detestable act they had committed.  Though clearly directed by the Lord to attack them, they were twice soundly routed by this tribe.  Some has suggested that Israel did not ask God how they were to attack.  Others have speculated that they were overconfident in their ability to win the battle.  Whatever the reason, it is clear that you can initiate a righteous cause and experience significant failure.
There is a pivotal question asked in the Scriptural reference. Should they try again or quit?  If I had to choose someone to be on my ministry team, I would select perseverance over talent every time.  Of course, I would prefer to have someone talented and persevering, but if I had to choose, I would take the latter.  How many times does God ask us to do it over and over again, until we get it right? How often have we doubted the Word of the Lord because things did not go as planned initially?  God always accomplishes his purposes, but sometimes we experience defeat before we can see victory.  As the commentator, Matthew Henry once wrote, “We may lose a battle but we will win the war. Right may fall, but it will always rise again.”

 Image used with permission by Microsoft.

Ken Barnes the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing
[email protected]

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