Possessing by Trusting

The Mt. Trumbull Schoolhouse, Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, Arizona
The Mt. Trumbull Schoolhouse, Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, Arizona

This year, I’ve been reading a chronological Bible I found amongst my grandmother’s estate last summer.  It’s been fun to see the Bible in a more blow-by-blow fashion instead of jumping around based more on topic than timeline.

Wildflowers below Mt. Hood on Cooper Spur, Oregon
Wildflowers below Mt. Hood on Cooper Spur, Oregon

As I was reading a few weeks ago, a particular passage jumped out at me.  Realize, I’ve read the Bible several times, so I must have read it before.  But this was the first time I’d never noticed it, mostly because instead of being in the middle of endless lists of names, it was put in the context of the story.

Pelicans at Point Arena-Stornetta National Monument, California
Pelicans at Point Arena-Stornetta National Monument, California

“During Saul’s reign… [the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh] waged war against the Hagrites, Jetur, Naphish, and Nodab.  They were helped in fighting them, and God delivered the Hagrites and all their allies into their hands, because they cried out to him during the battle.  He answered their prayers, because they trusted in him.  They seized the livestock of the Hagrites – fifty thousand camels, two hundred fifty thousand sheep, and two thousand donkeys.  They also took one hundred thousand people captive, and many others fell slain, because the battle was God’s.  And they occupied the land until the exile.” (1 Chronicles 5:10; 19-22).

Sheep in the Flat Tops Wilderness, Colorado
Sheep in the Flat Tops Wilderness, Colorado

This didn’t happen during the initial conquest of the land – it was during the time of Saul.  That’s about 350 years after they were told to take over Canaan.

Cabins at Jockey Hollow, Morristown National Historical Park, New Jersey
Cabins at Jockey Hollow, Morristown National Historical Park, New Jersey

Yet even with all of Israel’s idolatry, the people still knew enough to cry out to God during the battle.  Their cry changed the course of history – because in the middle of the battle, they trusted God to win it for them even as they fought.

Mount Woodring reflected in Leigh Lake, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Mount Woodring reflected in Leigh Lake, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

That trust in God in the crucial moment was far more than just a “win” in a single battle.  The trust gave the tribes great wealth (fifty thousand camels is more than a few!)  But it also brought them into the possession of land that they held until they were removed from the land for their sin.  Trust gave them a safe and secure home.

Once a northern terminus of the Underground Railroad, the B. Forman House is now a picnic shelter
Once a northern terminus of the Underground Railroad, the B. Forman House is now a picnic shelter

In the battles that we face, we must remember to cry out to God in the middle of the battle.  We must learn to trust before the battle even begins so that when that crucial moment comes – as small and as insignificant as it may look at the time – our trust in the Lord will bring victory.  “He [God] granted their urgent plea because they trusted in him” (1 Chronicles 5:20 ESV).  Trust paves the way for possession of the promises God speaks to us, the blessings that He gives us, and the peaceful life that He calls us to live in.

Matthews Cabin near Mabry Mill, Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia
Matthews Cabin near Mabry Mill, Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia

There’s a not-so-old song that puts this idea into poetry:

“What if the path you choose because a road?

The ground you take becomes a home?

The wind is high – but the pressure’s off

I’ll send the rain wherever we end up.*”

Road over Courthouse Wash in Arches National Park, Utah
Road over Courthouse Wash in Arches National Park, Utah

Trusting in God gives you the ear of God and the strength to take the ground that He has given you.  Crying out to Him in the battle changes the course of history.  The victory gives you a home and an inheritance.

*Amanda Cook, “The Voyage.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jd3vuxpMKUM