Against All Odds

Against All Odds

By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days.
–Hebrews 11:30

In the 1800s, a pharmacist named John Pemberton created a tonic that would cure headaches, melancholy, and “all nervous afflictions.” He took a jug of the reddish-brown syrup to Jacobs’ Pharmacy in Atlanta with instructions to add carbonated water and drink. Word of the tasty new potion spread slowly, and during the first year, about nine glasses were sold per day. Pemberton’s bookkeeper came up with a catchy, alliterative name for the product and penned a fancy logo. Unfortunately, in spite of Pemberton’s hard work and persistence, he did not live long enough to see his little headache remedy develop into the Coca-Cola Corporation.

History is filled with people who never saw the full results of their hard work–not only in the realm of business but in the realm of faith. Although God occasionally allows us to experience a taste of the rewards for our faith in Him, most people end up dying without ever seeing the full results of their faith in this life. But the kind of faith that pleases God is one that obeys God even without visible results.

The Israelites often struggled to obey God, but they famously exhibited that kind of faith. Hebrews 11:30 says, “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days.” Moses’s successor, Joshua, was finally leading the Israelites into the promised land. But there was an obstacle: a city called Jericho–more specifically, the massive inner and outer walls around Jericho. God told Joshua, in essence, “March around Jericho once a day for six days. Then on the seventh day, march around the city seven times. On that seventh march, blow the trumpet and shout at the top of your lungs, and the walls will come crashing down.”

Picture the Israelites, in their heavy armor, marching around the city in the hot Palestinian sun. I am sure some of the Israelites were complaining to Joshua, “Why are we doing this? This is not working!” But if they had given up, they would have missed God’s blessing. Because on the seventh march on the seventh day, just as God had said, the walls came crashing down.

It is easy to obey God once or twice without results, but it takes faith to keep on obeying God even when there are no visible results. Maybe God has told you to stay in a difficult marriage when you are not being fulfilled. Or to read your Bible even though you do not feel like you are getting anything out of it. It takes faith to obey God’s instructions even when you do not yet see the results. That is the kind of faith that pleases God.

***

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Against All Odds” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2020.

Rebecca Burns, “The First Glass of Coca-Cola Is Served,” Atlanta magazine, May 7, 2012, https://www.atlantamagazine.com/thisweek/first-glass-of-coke-served-1886/.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org