Do you read a chapter of Proverbs every day? There are thirty-one chapters so it works out nicely even on months with 31 days. Today is Sunday, October 21, 2007 and the last verse in this chapter is one of my favorites and in many ways describes how I want to live my life.
The horse is prepared against [for] the day of battle,
but safety belongs to the Lord.
This verse combines God's Sovereignty and what God expects of humans incredibly well in a very practical sense. What God expects of humans is called human responsibility. Sometimes you may hear God's Sovereignty and free will—but a disciple of Christ isn't focused upon free will. I want to know what my responsibilities are in this kingdom whose King is Jesus Christ—what does He expect of me? What are my human responsibilities? I see clearly in the Bible that He is Sovereign in all aspects of life and in the universe.
Even the opening verse in this chapter, Proverbs 21.1, reminds me of this fact:
The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water:
he turneth it whithersoever he will.
This verse compares the manner in which Our Sovereign Lord turns the heart of the king to the manner in which HHHhH e turns rivers—He can redirect a river as He sees fit anytime He chooses. Consider any flood and you know the manner in which a river is no longer contained in its normal path. We seem to understand well how God works in all of creation—but within the heart of man we limit God—why is that?
The Bible doesn't!
If a king has a choice in any matter, it is because God permits him that choice and our God gives us many of choices. But I don't want to focus on that. As a Spirit-filled follower of Christ, my focus in life should not be upon what choices I have—it should be on just the opposite! What my Lord expects of me should be my focus. What are my responsibilities? In this verse, He tells me to prepare the horse for battle. The horse isn't going to prepare itself for battle. The owner of the horse prepares for battle with the horse.
Many men and women in Berean go to battle. They literally go to places all over the globe where the rifle range is two-way, and people shoot back. These men and women need to prepare for battle—they must train hard. Jesus taught that the foolish king goes to battle without counting the cost and determining if he can win (Luke 14.31). Yes, "safety" is of the Lord. Or "victory" in the ESV is of the Lord. Safety and victory is of the Lord! But the horse must be prepared for battle. God gives man a brain to use and to prepare for the battle or the storms of life. This can be applied to personal finances—we must prepare the horse for battle. We call this an emergency fund. Most Christians simply do not have enough money in the bank; hopefully, they are not flippantly saying deliverance is from God—God will provide. The horse is
prepared for battle. Man prepares the horse for battle.
The out of shape soldier who can't shoot; follow instructions; and perform his warrior tasks in battle can't claim half the Bible verse for himself. He is instructed by King Solomon to prepare himself and his horse—his equipment—for battle. The student who hasn't prepared for the examination doesn't say victory is of the Lord.
The born-again believer who gets advanced notice that a tropical storm is coming doesn't declare God is Sovereign—safety belongs to the Lord—without preparing for the storm.
He prepares and prepares and prepares.
He stock piles potable water; buys extra food; covers windows and brings in that which he doesn't want blown away from outside; he does all he can to prepare for the storm and then bows the knee to the Sovereign God of the Universe and says, "safety belongs to the Lord."
As a disciple of Christ, that's how I want to live my life. How about you? Do you understand that our emphasis in life doesn't need to be on free will—it needs to be upon my responsibilities before my King!
Don't get me wrong, I love free will—
I love the choice to drink sweet or un-sweet iced tea.
I love the choice to buy a blue or brown suit.
I love the choice to drive a truck or a car,
But let's be real what will all that matter in eternity.
I don't have a choice in serving the King. The Sovereign God of the Universe has called me into his Kingdom to be a foot soldier for the Captain of my Salvation and I will obey.
I have but one life to live for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords—I will surely not live it to its fullest for Him if my heart is focused upon my free will.
By God's grace, I want to focus upon my Lord and Savior. My prayer is that He will show my everyday how to better prepare my horse for battle and I will do it—by His Grace!