What if God’s not asking you to take a leap of faith, but instead is prepping you slowly, over the long haul? When we examine most of God’s “overnight” successes more closely, you’ll see a long track record of preparation.
Psalm 32:8 (NLT) says, I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. The Amplified Bible says, watch your progress. This progress takes time.
Look at the toppling of the walls of the mighty city of Jericho in Joshua 6. Though the miracle itself took 7 days, there was a 40-year build up. When the Israelites left Egypt after 420 years of bondage as slaves, Exodus 17 (AMP) recounts how God led them through the wilderness in “easy stages, according to the commandment of the Lord.” It only took a few days for God to get the Israelites out of Egypt, but it took those 40 years for Him to get Egypt out of them. During these stages, Israel learned to trust God. He provided their shelter in the form of a pillar of cloud by day and a fire by night. He provided their food (manna), and their water gushed from a desert rock. Only after Israel built their faith for these basic needs could they dare to trust Him for Jericho. By their obedience to Joshua and God’s plan, the tallest and thickest city walls they had ever seen were swallowed into the earth, and Israel marched in to possess the first occupied city in the land God had promised them.
Look at David. Before he killed Goliath, he was just a teenaged shepherd, faithful to protect his flock alone in the fields. When a lion came, he killed it. When a bear came, he killed it. So when the pressure was on and his God was under a direct challenge by this warrior-giant, David was confident God would deliver him into his hand the same way. David had built his faith over time and testing.
In this same way, God will guide us and prepare us for our big leap. The spectacular accounts of Jericho and Goliath’s defeat have several common threads. Patiently adopt these ideas in your own life so you’re ready at to shine for God at a moment’s notice:
1. Worship & praise God every day. When did the walls of Jericho fall? When the Israelites shouted praise. In fact, their entire 7-day procession around Jericho was led not by their mighty warriors with weapons, but by their mighty worshippers: priests with trumpets. And David? Even before he killed Goliath, he was a skilled musician and had begun to write songs of praise to God. He went on to write much of the book of Psalms, a timeless guide to worship for us all.
2. Consecrate yourself. The 40-year wilderness wandering was not God’s Plan A. The Bible makes it clear that unbelief caused delay. Root out unbelief in our your own heart by removing the limits you’ve placed on God, on His ability or on His timing. And just before Jericho, Joshua led Israel in an intense time of prayer and dedication. Consecration means recognizing sin and wrong attitudes so you can fix them as they come up. A mark of maturity is to read the Bible for the corrections and not just the blessings.
3. Follow the Holy Spirit, not your own reason. Both Jericho and Goliath were formidable foes, and God’s plan didn’t seem to add up logically. What if Joshua or David had obeyed only their human reason? Instead, they relied on the Holy Spirit upon them. We of the New Covenant have even greater access to the Holy Spirit who now lives in us. Jesus promised in John 16 that the Holy Spirit would guide us into all truth and show us things to come. If we’ll listen and obey, He’ll position us at the right place at the right time for maximum impact.
4. Be faithful in the small things. There was no fanfare for David when he killed the lion and the bear in the field. It was simply part of the job his dad had given him. He developed his musical gift by playing and singing to God, though no one was around to hear him. God sees the small things you do for Him, and He’s using each of them. Be faithful over little, and God will make you ruler over much.
Thank God for the Good Shepherd who wisely prepares us to bust walls and kill giants, one step at a time.