WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
NOVEMBER 15, 2023
TOPIC: DON’T GIVE UP!
BY T. O. BANSO
“But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded” (New International Version).
In Joshua 7, the people of Ai defeated the Israelites the first time they went to attack Ai. That defeat was capable of discouraging them from fighting the people of Ai again as the defeat followed their conquest of Jericho. The people of Ai defeated them because of the sin of Achan. He took some of the devoted things God had warned the Israelites not to take when they fought against Jericho.
After the culprit had been fished out and judgment executed on him and his household, God told Joshua not to give up but to return to fight against Ai. “Then the Lord said to Joshua, ‘Don’t be afraid; don’t give up. Lead all your fighting men to Ai. I will help you defeat the king of Ai. I am giving you his people, his city, and his land’” (Joshua 8:1 Easy-to-Read Version). Note the phrase “don’t give up.” The New King James Version renders it as not to “be dismayed.”
A defeat or setback can make someone give up. But the Israelites didn’t give up. Joshua, their leader, obeyed God’s command. He led the people for another attack and God gave them victory over Ai.
Many people have given up on their businesses, careers, projects, academics, and so on because of initial failure or difficulties. They are holding on to the past instead of learning necessary lessons from the past, putting the past behind them, and trusting God to help them and give them success. The same people of Ai before whom the children of Israel fled earlier were defeated after the Israelites had dealt with the sin in their midst. Imagine that they had given up and refused to go again to fight the people of Ai. They would not have known that victory over Ai was still possible. When you give up rather than persevere and trust God to turn your situation around, you miss the testimony of the marvelous works of God, His wonder-working power, which you would have shared with others.
Note that it was sin in the camp of the Israelites that prevented God from acting on their behalf and giving them victory the first. Sin could also be responsible for some people’s defeat today. If they can get rid of sin in their lives, God will move mightily on their behalf. “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1-2 New King James Version). However, that is not to say that sin is responsible for every defeat, setback, or failure.
Don’t give up if you fail or you are having difficulties with a project or an assignment God has given you or believe is God’s will for you. You may have failed in your previous attempts at doing something or achieving a goal God has given you but don’t give up. If you give up, you won’t experience the victory or success that God has in store for you. Sometimes people don’t achieve success or victory at the first attempt. Don’t quit; don’t give up.
In Judges 20, all the tribes of Israel enquired from the Lord before they went to war against one erring tribe of Israel, Benjamin. God told them the tribe of Judah would go first to fight against the Benjamites (Judges 20:18-19). Nevertheless, the tribe of Benjamin defeated them. The other tribes of Israel suffered a heavy loss – twenty-two thousand Israelites died (verse 21). This was both baffling and discouraging. “But the men of Israel encouraged one another and again took up their positions where they had stationed themselves the first day. The Israelites went up and wept before the Lord until evening, and they inquired of the Lord. They said, ‘Shall we go up again to battle against the Benjamites, our brothers?’ The Lord answered, ‘Go up against them’” (Judges 20:22-23 New International Version).
Again, despite God’s approval to go and fight against the Benjamites, the Benjamites defeated the other tribes of Israel the second time, killing eighteen thousand of them (Judges 20:25). “Then the Israelites, all the people, went up to Bethel, and there they sat weeping before the Lord. They fasted that day until evening and presented burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to the Lord. And the Israelites inquired of the Lord. (In those days the ark of the covenant of God was there, with Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, ministering before it.) They asked, ‘Shall we go up again to battle with Benjamin our brother, or not?’ The Lord responded, ‘Go, for tomorrow I will give them into your hands’” (verses 26-28 New International Version).
It is not clear why God allowed all the tribes of Israel to be defeated two times despite giving them approval to go and fight the Benjamites. The Benjamites were defeated the third time that all the tribes of Israel went to fight against them. “On that day twenty-five thousand Benjamite swordsmen fell, all of them valiant fighters. But six hundred men turned and fled into the desert to the rock of Rimmon, where they stayed four months. The men of Israel went back to Benjamin and put all the towns to the sword, including the animals and everything else they found. All the towns they came across they set on fire” (Judges 20:46-48 New International Version).
Because the other tribes of Israel didn’t give up, God eventually gave them victory. If they had given up because of their earlier painful losses, they wouldn’t have experienced the victory God gave them. It doesn’t mean that you must fail first before you succeed. But if your success is being delayed, as it happened to the tribes of Israel in Judges 20, don’t give up. Hold on to the Word of God. Persist in what you’re doing. Be consistent. Don’t squit unless God says so.
Maybe you have been obeying God but you are yet to see the result of your obedience; don’t give up. God will reward you. In 2 Chronicles 15:7, a prophet, Azariah son of Oded told Asa, king of Judah, “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded” (New International Version). Don’t give up, too; your work will be rewarded. You may not find things easy but don’t give up. Endure; persevere.
Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:1, “God, with his mercy, gave us this work to do, so we don’t give up” (Easy-to-Read Version). He also said in verse 8, “We have troubles all around us, but we are not defeated. We often don’t know what to do, but we don’t give up” (Easy-to-Read Version). Note the phrase “We don’t give up.” Don’t give up on the work God has given you. Continue even if you don’t see significant results in your labour yet. God rewards faithfulness.
If you have troubles around you, don’t give up. Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the LORD delivers him out of them all (Psalm 34:19). Have faith in God (Mark 11:22). “Don’t give up and be helpless in times of trouble” (Proverbs 24:10 Contemporary English Version). The New King James Version puts it this way: “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.”
If you don’t know what to do, don’t give up. God knows what to do. “God will bless you, if you don’t give up when your faith is being tested. He will reward you with a glorious life, just as he rewards everyone who loves him” (James 1:12 Contemporary English Version).
Probably your good is being repaid with evil. Don’t give up. God will deal with those who repay your good with evil. “If you repay good with evil, you will never get evil out of your house” (Proverbs 17:13 Good News Translation). Don’t give up doing good. “Let us not be weary in doing good, for we will reap in due season, if we don’t give up” (Galatians 6:9 World English Bible).
Don’t give up on God. Don’t give up waiting for the answers to your prayers. Don’t give up on yourself. Christ is coming back; don’t give up on waiting for His return. “Brothers and sisters, be patient until the Lord comes again. See how farmers wait for their precious crops to grow. They wait patiently for fall and spring rains. 8 You, too, must be patient. Don’t give up hope. The Lord will soon be here” (James 5:7-8 GOD’S WORD Translation). Don’t give up!
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, I receive encouragement from you; I shall not give up no matter the challenges I face. I shall be of good courage and not give up. Help me Holy Spirit not to give up doing good. I shall receive my reward in Jesus’ name.
(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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