The Horse and the LORD
Proverbs 21:31 (ESV) — The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD.
The Bible speaks throughout its pages about the consequences of our actions. The Proverbs speak repeatedly about the sluggard who doesn’t prepare his field. He will go hungry. There is a consequence for not tending to your work. The rich man labors and doesn’t stay in his bed all morning. The principle of reaping and sowing fills the teaching of the Bible. However, one thing we are reminded of is the principle that overrides this completely: God is in control. Victory belongs to Him.
Be diligent in life, working hard, doing right, and acting wisely. Remember, the LORD reigns over all. Trust Him as you work, knowing He brings victory.
We see this taught in our text today. Proverbs 21:31 says, “The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD.”
What does this passage mean? The wise army prepares for battle. The armor is double-checked, the sword is sharpened, and the horse is prepared to ride. These features of battle preparation are important. They are not to be skipped. The warrior that neglects these things will perish quickly in battle. Yet this text teaches a greater lesson: preparation alone doesn’t determine the end result. Ultimately, the LORD is over the battle. He chooses the victor. He gets the final word.
This principle stated clearly here is displayed all over Scripture. God gives victory to a weaker Israel multiple times. He rescues them from Egypt. They route the people in the land of Canaan. God gives them victory over the Philistines. Israel never had the upper hand in any of these battles, but they had the LORD.
The application for us is two-fold. First, we should always be diligent to prepare in life. We should work hard, do the right things, and act wisely in all situations. Second, we remember that the LORD rules over all things. We have to do our work, but we should trust that all things are in His hands. He gives victory.
Reflection & Journal:
- Why is it important to stress that preparation and hard work are good?
- What principle does this passage teach that we must always remember?
- How does this passage challenge you?
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