Sermonette for Saturday

And they were helped against them, and the Hagarites were delivered into their hand and all that were with them, for they cried to God in the battle, and He was entreated of them, because they put their trust in Him. 1 Chronicles 5:20

How many wars can you name? After you get them all named, check to see if the war in today’s text is among them. I’m pretty sure it’s not! What was this war? Who started it, and who all was involved? We really don’t know much about it, except that part of the Israelites were involved. As the tribes of Reuben and Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh, moved to take their portion of the promised land, they met opposition from the Hagarites. Crying to God for help, the Israelites went to war to take what God had promised them. Because they trusted in God, God gave them the victory, and the Israelites had a good land to occupy for many years. They learned a simple but powerful lesson in that war, a lesson we do well to heed today.

Who did the armies of these two-and-a-half tribes defeat in this war? The only thing we can be certain is that their opponents were the offspring of the bondwoman, Hagar, and were probably the descendents of Ishmael. They had no claim on God’s promises and no access to God’s help. They were defeated by those who had received God’s promises and who were taught to seek God’s help. Has God given us promises? Has God offered us His help? Yes, He has! Have we received God’s promises? Have we accepted His help? To a certain extent, we have not!

Just as the Israelites were promised a possession and His help in obtaining it, so we have been promised eternal life and God granted it to us in the day that we put our trust in Him. He has also promised us victory over sin and temptation; how are we doing in that battle? He has also promised to help us in our testimony before the world; are we winning that battle? He has promised to supply our needs and to bear our burdens; how victorious are we in trusting Him in these?

It would seem that the only reason the Reubenites, Gadites, and Manassehites won the war in today’s text was their trust in God. That is also the only way we will win any wars today. -Jim MacIntosh

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