Proverbs 21:31 The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but deliverance is of the LORD. There is an important principal revealed in this verse. Deliverance is from the Lord, however it only comes as the horse is prepared and enters the battle. Many of our spiritual battles aren’t lost due to a lack of crying out to God for deliverance, they are lost because we fail to prepare for victory. God will give us victory over challenges, but it only comes as we prepare ourselves and enter challenging situations. If we don’t prepare and run from the battle we are called to fight, we don’t give the Lord the opportunity to bring deliverance in our lives.
A great example of this is in the story of Elijah. In 1 Kings 19, Queen Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah that said she was going to have him killed. Elijah’s response was to run for his life. This great prophet who was in the middle of an important assignment from God to bring revival to Israel ran because he wasn’t prepared for the an attack from the devil. Because Elijah ran from his assignment, the revival in Israel stopped. This created many additional problems. Here is a short list of things that would never have happened if Elijah wouldn’t have ran and finished his assignment:
He would have anointed Jehu king over Israel. If Jehu had been king instead of Ahab (Jezebel’s husband), Naboth would have never been killed (1 Kings 21:1-14). Jehoshaphat (king of Judah) would not have become friends with King Ahab and Jehoshaphat’s son would not have married Ahab’s daughter, Athaliah, who ended up killing almost all of the royal family (2 Kings 11:1). The responsibility for both of these tragic events plus the decline of the revival in Israel are a result of Elijah’s failure to prepare for an attack from Satan through Queen Jezebel.
This is all pretty sobering stuff. You are probably asking, how do I prepare for battle? Ephesians 6:10-18 talks about the armor of God. We are told to clothe ourselves with the breastplate of righteousness, helmet of salvation, sword of the spirit, shield of faith, and so on. This is our preparation. To live in the presence of God and remind ourselves of who we are in Him. To remind ourselves that as Jesus is, so are we in this world (1 John 4:17). When we do this, we are ready to take our place and take on any enemy that comes our way.
When Dean Smith was the head coach of the University of North Carolina’s basketball team, his teams were renowned for their preparation. Coach Smith once said, “We prepared for pressure by the way we practiced.” His teams won the game mentally before the game was ever played physically. There is a famous story about about 1974 Carolina-Duke game where Carolina trailed by 8 points with 17 seconds left. At a time when most teams would have given up and quit, Coach Smith calmly instructed his team of how they would pull off the comeback. He told his team, “When Bobby Jones goes to the foul line and makes the two free throws, we will steal the inbounds pass and score and cut the game to 4.” This is exactly what happened and this sequence of events led to one of the greatest comebacks in college basketball history.
There is one additional point I want to make about the armor of God discussed in Ephesians. All the armor is for the front; there is no armor for the back side. This is because we are called to prepare for battle and not called to run. We are called to stand and fight so the Lord can bring deliverance. When we avoid the battle we were born for, we’ll face a battle we aren’t equipped for. Elijah’s cowardice in the story above left Israel unprepared to face many of the challenges that later came its way. The deception about running from a problem, is it always seems easier, but the reality is it usually create a much bigger problem we will eventually have to face.
I want to encourage you to prepare yourself for the battle God has called you to by spending time with Jesus each day. Allow Him to prepare you by reminding you of who you are in Him and giving you any specific instructions you need for the day. Then take on your challenges with boldness so the Lord can bring victory through your hands!