NOT LONG AGO I was reading through Psalm 78 when my eye fell upon verse nine. I was intrigued by the strange stroke of the psalmist’s pen. See if you get the same vibes:
The warriors of Ephraim, though armed with bows, turned their backs and fled on the day of battle.
Like foxes hunted by hounds, they ran. The only weapon they used to restrain the enemy was a cloud of dust they stirred up as they retreated en masse, in a hurry, while “armed with bows.”
What an indictment! When these trained fighters should have charged with confidence into the fray of conflict, instead, they fell back in fearful retreat. They caved under pressure. They allowed fear to override their confidence and they turned tail and ran. How sad! Yet that’s how many believers respond in the heat of their own time of adversity and struggle.
Notice, though, what the Bible says should be our attitude in battle:
This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
Are you facing some difficult challenge today? Don’t run! Stand still . . . and refuse to retreat. You are under command to “be strong and courageous.” Look at it as God looks at it and draw upon His power to hold up under the blast. Sure, it’s tough. Nobody ever promised you a rose garden.
I’ve never been much of an admirer of Harry S. Truman—but I did, at times, appreciate his gristle. The political battle often raged during his presidency, and on one occasion he responded to it with the words:
If you don’t like the heat, get out of the kitchen!
I’ve not met anyone who was able to stay strong without some time in the heated kitchen. The Ephraimites cut and ran as soon as things heated up. My advice is a slight revision of President Truman’s: stay in the kitchen so you can learn how to handle the heat!