By Holly Culhane
I tend to oversimplify things. I can’t justify it. It’s simply a fact.
For example, when I hear Sir Isaac Newton’s third law of motion, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction,” I simply think of the word “because.” Because – the most direct of the conjunctions used to express cause of reaction – because one thing took place, another one followed. Pretty simple. (If you’re a physics fan or a Newton groupie, please don’t take me to task for this; just pray that I’ll gain deeper insight!)
This theory jumped off the page at me when I read that three of the tribes of Israel had gone against their enemies in battle and won … because when they cried out to God during the battle, they trusted Him.
What happened (the action)? The tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh cried out to God and trusted Him.
The result (the reaction)? They won the battle.
Somehow 44,760 warriors waged war against four people groups and won. They were clearly outnumbered. When the battle was over, the plunder alone consisted of 50,000 camels, 250,000 sheep and goats, 2,000 donkeys, and 100,000 captives. They took more camels after the battle than there were warriors on their side during the battle.
They cried out to God during the battle, and he answered their prayer because they trusted in him.
1 Chronicles 5:20a
Just five verses later, something else happened (another action): “But these tribes were unfaithful to the God of their ancestors.”
And the result (the reaction)? “So the God of Israel caused King Pul of Assryia … to invade the land and take away the people of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manassah as captives.”
Because of their trust, He saved them. Because of their unfaithfulness, He allowed them to become slaves.
Trustworthiness vs. unfaithfulness. Salvation vs. captivity.
As a shepherd leader, what actions are you taking today that will produce the reactions you pray for and hope take place in your life and the lives of those you influence? Are there changes you need to make or steps you need to take to produce more desirable reactions in your life and the lives of those you shepherd?