“I returned and saw under the sun that – The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, nor favour to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all.” (Ecclesiastes 9:11 NKJV).
When Ben-Hadad king of Syria gathered all his army and went up and besieged Samaria there was a great famine in the city. It was so terrible that women started to boil and eat their children. But, when God wanted to put an end to the famine, He caused the Syrian army to hear behind them the noise of chariots and the noise of horses – the noise of a great army.
On hearing the noise of a great army coming behind them, the Syrian said to one another, “Look, the King of Israel had hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of the Egyptians to attack us!” Therefore they arose and fled at twilight, and left the camp intact – their tents, their horses, and their donkeys – and they fled for their lives.” (2 Kings 7:6-7 NKJV).
While the mighty men of valour in Samaria were trembling for fear, four lepers at the entrance of the gate of Samaria said to one another, “Why are we sitting here until we die? “If we say, ‘We will enter the city,’ the famine is in the city, and we shall die there. And if we sit here, we die also. Now therefore, come, let us surrender to the army of the Syrians. If they keep us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall only die.” (2 Kings 7:3-4 NKJV).
With this mindset and resolution, these four lepers rose up in the twilight to go to the camp of the Syrians, and when they had come to the outskirts of the Syrian camp, to their surprise, no one was there.
The Scripture reveals the miracle that happened in 2 Kings 7:
6 For the Lord had caused the army of the Syrians to hear the noise of chariots and the noise of horses-the noise of a great army; so they said to one another, “Look, the king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of the Egyptians to attack us!”
7 Therefore they arose and fled at twilight, and left the camp intact-their tents, their horses, and their donkeys-and they fled for their lives. (NKJV).
Therefore, when these lepers came to the outskirts of the camp, they went into one tent and ate and drank, and carried from it silver and gold and clothing, and went and hid them. They came back and entered another tent, and carried some from there also, and went and hid it.
Then, they said to one another, “We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news, and we remain silent. If we wait until morning light, some punishment will come upon us. Now therefore, come, let us go and tell the king’s household.” (2 Kings 7:8-9 NKJV).
While the mighty men of valour were in the city trembling with fear, God gave the spoils of war to the lepers who were without strength. While capable men were in the city, God chose to use these lepers who were the scum and the outcast of the society to spread the good news to the people in the city of Samaria. Why?
So that no flesh should glory in God’s presence!
Apostle Paul reveals this truth in 1 Corinthians 1:
27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;
28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,
29 that no flesh should glory in His presence. (NKJV).
Like Solomon, it is indeed wisdom to realize early in life that “The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, nor favour to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all.” (Eccl. 9:11 NKJV).
While we must diligent employ or harness the gifts, talents, skills, or resources that God has given us to fulfil our God-given dreams, visions, callings or purposes in life, however, we must ultimately rely upon or trust in God for success, and not in our skills, abilities or efforts.
The Scripture states:
“The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but deliverance is of the LORD.” (Prov. 21:31 NKJV).
“The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.” (Prov. 16:33 NKJV).
“No king is saved by the multitude of an army; a mighty man is not delivered by great strength. A horse is a vain hope for safety; neither shall it deliver any by its great strength.” (Psa. 33:16-17 NKJV).
“A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. (John 3:27 NKJV).
Simon Peter was undoubtedly a highly skilled, experienced and diligent fisherman, yet he caught nothing in spite of toiling diligently all night until when he put his trust in Jesus’ word that he should launch out into the deep and let down his nets for a catch.
The Scripture testifies, “But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking.” (Luke 5:5-6 NKJV).
Beloved, it is indeed foolishness and pride to trust completely only in your skills, expertise, education, qualifications, experiences, talents, gifting, family background, relationships, strength or prowess for fulfilling your God-given dreams, visions, or purposes in life. You must learn to trust wholly in God’s love and faithfulness.
The Scripture states: “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.” (Jer. 17:7-8 NKJV).
Friend, as you set out in life to fulfil your God-given dreams, visions, calling or purpose in life, don’t fall into the “pride trap” of trusting in yourself or in any man.
King Solomon, the wisest and riches man who ever lived, admonishes you in Proverbs 3:
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil. (NKJV).
King David, the man after God’s heart, also admonishes you in Psalms 37:
5 Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.
6 He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, And your justice as the noonday.
7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. (NKJV).
It is wisdom to heed wise admonition!
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for revealing to me today that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong in life. From this moment, I choose not to lean on my own strength, skills, talents, efforts, or understanding, but on You alone for success in life, in Jesus’ name. Amen.