I had one job – hold on tight and try not to move. I had to become one with him and the motorcycle. When we leaned into a corner and were almost parallel to the road, close enough that I could brush my fingers on the ground, I knew he would not let us crash.
If I panicked and leaned away from the corner, my movement would have completely thrown off our balance and caused us to wreck.
When I rode on the back of my husband’s street bike, I knew he was in control. I only had to sit still and hold on for the ride.
That’s what God wants from us when He says to trust him. In Psalm 46:10 NLT, God says, “Be still and know that I am God.”
When you trust someone you are relinquishing control to them, saying, “I no longer hold the reins, and am passing them over to you.”
Judges 4-5 displays how we should trust God.
Deborah, known as the mother of Israel, led the Israelites at the time because there were no men that were up for the task.
For the last 20 years, the Israelites had been cruelly oppressed by Jabin, king of Canaan. They felt powerless against the Canaanites, who controlled 900 iron chariots, led by Sisera.
Finally, they cried to the Lord for help.
God told Deborah to help Barak, the military commander, lead an army of 10,000 Israelites into battle. Barak was scared, but he trusted that Deborah had heard from God.
Barak took his army to the top of a mountain overlooking a river, where Sisera was waiting. “Then Deborah said to Barak, ‘Go! This is the day the Lord has given Sisera into your hands. Has not the Lord gone ahead of you?’” Judges 4:14 NIV
Three Things We Can Learn From Judges 4 and 5
1. God Gives Second Chances
The Israelites were oppressed because they disobeyed God. In Judges 4:1-2 NIV, it says, “Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord… So the Lord sold them into the hands of Jabin…”
In Exodus, God allowed them to wander the desert for 40 years because of their disobedience. Now, they needed rescuing again.
Does this pattern sound familiar? Personally, the sins of my past still tempt me today. Even the Apostle Paul struggled with this.
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do. But what I hate, I do.” He continues, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Romans 7:15, 21-25 NIV
No matter how hard we try to earn God’s favor, we will never quite measure up on our own. Like the Israelites, despite being rescued, we keep sinning.
Stories like this in the Old Testament serve as a reminder that God never gives up on his children. He never gave up on the Israelites, and He won’t give up on you!
2. Ask God For Help
God waited 20 years for the Israelites to ask for help.
Sometimes we have to suffer awhile before we realize how much we need Him. In our own sin and desperation, we insist on doing things our way. My friend, not only is this the hard way, but it’s called disobedience.
God already went ahead of us and made it as easy as possible. “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 NIV
All we have to do is call on Him and trust Him.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6 NIV
How would your life be different if, at the first sign of trouble, you prayed? Furthermore, what if, instead of waiting for trouble to come, you called on God daily to help you?
3. Hold On for the Ride
We should be like Deborah, who heard from God and obeyed him. She didn’t worry about the results. She knew God went before them into battle and, therefore, they would be safe.
It’s not our job to worry about the details, it’s our job to hold on for the ride.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5 NIV
God works in the most unexpected ways, and although overcoming our trials may seem impossible to us at the time, we must believe God is working.
When we put our trust in him, he will make all things possible! He will do more than we could ever ask or imagine – no, not just more – ABUNDANTLY MORE!!! (Ephesians 3:20)
What occurred next is a perfect example of what happens when we relinquish control to God.
When Barak and his troops descended into the valley, God went first and prepared the way. The opposition was only strong because of their 900 iron chariots, but it began to storm and the river swelled; then all the tanks pulled by horses became ineffective.
Imagine how powerless Sisera’s men must have felt against 10,000 Israelites when they were forced out of their chariots that were washing away.
God didn’t need the Israelites to fight, he just needed them to trust and obey.
There is absolutely nothing that we can do to earn his grace and favor.
He only requires us to trust Him.
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6 NIV
God wants to do the same for you!
This battle was perfectly orchestrated by the same God that we serve today!
We must trust that God knows more than we do. Remember, He is all-knowing. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knit us in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:19). He knows the past and the future.
He has a perfect plan for all of us. Even when we think we’ve screwed up, causing our life to fall apart, we need not worry. God makes all things good, for “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” Romans 8:28 NIV
He did it for the Israelites and the same God longs to do it for you.
The next time you find yourself in a tough situation, remember:
1. God gives second chances.
2. Ask God for help.
3. Hold on for the ride.
First published in Living By Design Ministry’s Saturday SOULfood Newsletter on March 5, 2022 here.