So the people shouted, and the trumpets sounded. When they heard the blast of the trumpet, the people gave a great shout, and the wall collapsed. The people advanced into the city, each man straight ahead, and they captured the city…
And the LORD was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout the land.Â Â Â Joshua 6:20,27 (HCSB)
Therefore, so that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to torment me so I would not exalt myself. Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times to take it away from me. Â Â Â 2 Corinthians 12:7-8 (HCSB)
If you haven’t done a word study recently, I can recommend one on victory, victories, and
victorious. If you don’t have something like a Strong’s Concordance, there are options online like Biblegateway. A word study gives me a thread to follow throughout the Old and New Testament, as God teaches me what He says about victory in my life.
One of the first Old Testament stories I heard was actually a song, â€œJoshua Fit the Battle of Jerichoâ€. What an awesome, active story of God giving instructions on how to win a seemingly impossible battle, against lopsided odds, with unconventional strategies. It is a story of obedience. In my eyes which see thousands of years later and with a Western mindset, it truly is an example of obeying without understanding the reasoning. The marching and blowing trumpets for six days without any visible change in the situation. I imagine the people inside the city laughed at them! How extraordinary when a single shout yielded the entire wall of the city collapsing. The victory was more than just that day. The reputation Joshua and His God provided a massive wall of safety against their enemies who were afraid to challenge them.
Paul, on the other hand, shows me that God does not always provide the victory that I ask for. We don’t know exactly what this â€œthornâ€ was. It could have been a disease or an ongoing conflict with someone. We don’t know. We do know that it was severe enough that Paul pleaded or begged for God to release him from this suffering. We also know that Paul was aware of God’s response.
But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”Â 2 Corinthians 12:9 (HCSB)
The victory was a big one. Paul learned his strength, the joy in the suffering, would come from God Himself. Paul would not live with this thorn through his own power or plan. God would carry him by the power of His Spirit.
Each day, I ask God to give me eyes to see His victories (yes, plural) in my life. I believe that even when I ask and God says â€œNoâ€ that there is a victory because He works on my mind and heart to see His best way. Strong, independent me is learning that my weakness and dependence on God actually makes me stronger and more independent of this world.
You pushed me hard to make me fall, but the LORD helped me.
The LORD is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation.
There are shouts of joy and victory in the tents of the righteous:
“The LORD’s right hand strikes with power!
The LORD’s right hand is raised!
The LORD’s right hand strikes with power!”
I will not die, but I will live and proclaim what the LORD has done. Â Â Psalm 118:13-7 (HCSB)