I have been reading through 2 Samuel during my quiet before-bed time, and the other night I read a verse that really spoke to me — 2 Samuel 10:12. To provide you with a quick contextual summary, if you’re not immediately familiar with this section of scripture (I wouldn’t be, either), this is a time when the Ammonites went to war against Israel because they didn’t trust David’s kindness. David’s main dude (probably not the Biblical term), Joab, sees that the enemy forces are coming at the Israelite army from opposing fronts, and after explaining his plan of attack to his brother, Joab says:
“Be strong, and let us show ourselves courageous for the sake of our people and for the cities of our God; and may the LORD do what is good in His sight.” – 2 Samuel 10:12
In very basic terms, what Joab is saying here is, “Let’s be the best we can be, and God will do as He pleases.” In a story where a man is facing a battle from which he may very likely not return alive (spoiler alert, he lives), I was struck with a precise clarity about the key notion to leading a “successful” Christian life. More than that, it led me to a prayer I have been bringing to God since reading the verse. I wish to lead a life in which I do the best that I can — spiritually being as close to what God wants of me as possible, physically enjoying the fruits of my labor and what this world has to offer without idolizing it, and challenging myself to grow in every way possible. Some of these things carry eternal weight, such as how I present my faith to unbelievers, but most of them don’t. My prayer is to make the most of my time here on Earth, with a joyous and sincere heart, but an important caveat to this is that I never let it consume me. Why not? Because God will “…do what is good in His sight.”
I occasionally speak about perspective here, and this is simply another reiteration of that concept, I suppose, but it was truly an enlightening moment that I felt was worthy of sharing. I’m hardly writing about prosperity Christianity, wherein one’s view of God is more like a success-granting genie. On the contrary, I see this verse in two parts: the first is a hope, a sharing of what one aspires to come true, and the second is a genuine praise of God’s sovereignty. Joab’s comment isn’t focused on the external, as in “May we kick their butt and then get lots of hot babes!” but rather on the internal. I believe it is very good for us to share our desires, despairs, and feelings with God and one another, and when we need God’s strength, I believe that He will not desert us, but by framing my mindset in the manner that this verse presents, the emphasis is on both how I can be the best version of myself and on the importance of the second half — the portion in which I recognize and take comfort in the fact that God’s will shall be done “on Earth as it is in Heaven.”
I encourage you to include this verse in your prayers, as well, and in your own encouragement of fellow believers, adapting it to the applicable situation. The other day, I prayed, “I will remember to show reverence (to someone) today, and may the LORD do what is good in His sight.” I took a situation I was facing, offered myself an encouraging reminder to act in a way befitting a man of God, and then placed the outcome in God’s hands… acknowledging that whatever the results may be, if I have done my best, that is all that I can hope to control.