The sum of Proverbs 21:31 is this: Man bears the burden and responsibility to plan and labor for success; however, whether on the battlefield, in business, in school or in personal endeavors, God is Sovereign and He determines safety, success and victory.
So it was for Israel after the resounding overthrow of the great fortress Jericho (Joshua 6); the hearts of the people were lifted up with pride and they went up to fight against the men of Ai without seeking the Lord and suffered humiliation and defeat before their enemies (Joshua 7). David, though only a shepherd boy when he stood before the Philistine giant Goliath, believed what all Israel did not, “the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’S” (1 Samuel 17:47).
Dear friend, I have known many who, when they were young, tender and of humble means were dependent on the Lord; however, a little success and their hearts were lifted up with pride and they ceased to trust and remember the Lord alone gives the victory. The principle that planning for tests, challenges and battles is the responsibility of man and God is Sovereign and determines the outcome, whether victory or defeat, is found throughout the Scriptures. The role of the believer is to put forth every effort to study and prepare, then step forward in utter dependence on God; confident He alone gives the victory.
I close with the psalmist’s declaration of the same principle:
Psalm 33:16-20 – “There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength. 17 An horse is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength. 18 Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; 19 To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. 20 Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield.”
Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith