Saturday, November 24, 2012

1 Chronicles 19-20: Faith & Strategic Planning


1 Chron 19:10-15 Joab saw that there were battle lines in front of him and behind him; so he selected some of the best troops in Israel and deployed them against the Arameans. He put the rest of the men under the command of Abishai his brother, and they were deployed against the Ammonites. Joab said, "If the Arameans are too strong for me, then you are to rescue me; but if the Ammonites are too strong for you, then I will rescue you. Be strong and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. The Lord will do what is good in his sight." Then Joab and the troops with him advanced to fight the Arameans, and they fled before him. When the Ammonites saw that the Arameans were fleeing, they too fled before his brother Abishai and went inside the city. So Joab went back to Jerusalem.

Joab, Israel's general, told his brother Abishai: "If the Arameans are too strong for me, then you are to rescue me; but if the Ammonites are too strong for you, then I will rescue you. Be strong and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. The Lord will do what is good in his sight" (1 Chron. 19:12-13). Here we see faith and strategic planning going hand in hand. Faith in God means not just trusting God for a successful outcome, but also trusting God to grant us the wisdom to use the right strategy to achieve the outcome. So when Joab saw that he had to fight in two fronts against two armies -- the Arameans behind him and the Ammonites ahead of him--he worked out a quick strategy with his brother Aishai, but at the same time leaving the outcome to God: "The Lord will do what is good in his sight."

Here we see that it is important to trust God in our planning, not just for the outcomes. Sometime, poor strategies can lead to bad results, no matter how much we pray. Trusting God must not just be focused on the products but also on the processes. I have seen this happened again and again in evangelism: prayers are offered diligently for the outcomes (salvation of pre-believers) but not enough for the processes  involved in the evangelism. If the process is defective, the product cannot be good, no matter how much we pray. For example, if we fail to contextualize our evangelistic method in reaching the targeted audience, we would fail to communicate the Gospel meaningfully. Prayers that are just focused on outcomes, but insist on doing the ministry the same old unsuccessful way will simply produces the same outcome (failure).

Trusting God is not just praying to God for a successful outcome but also that God will help us change the way we are doing things in order to have a successful outcome. If we are unwilling to change our strategies and methods that have not proven successful before, more praying will not change the outcomes.

Father, grant us wisdom to do what is right and effective in the ministry, while trusting You for the outcomes. Amen.

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