1 Chronicles 18-20…100% God’s sovereignty and 100% human responsibility.
These chapters outline a time in which soldiers, like Joab, did not hesitate to speak freely of God to their companions in arms. As we move increasingly toward a culture in the US where absolute truth is considered divisive and intolerant, casual followers of Jesus will be exposed. Even in the bible belt, there will likely be a cost to following Christ in the coming years, and those who would typically make a hasty profession of faith will have to carefully consider what they are doing.
We are reminded in this section of 1 Chronicles of Joab’s memorable advice to both trust in God and fight tirelessly. David’s General felt that the ultimate issue of the battle must be left to God, but that nothing could absolve him and his soldiers from doing their best. They believed that God was in complete control of the situation, but that they also were completely responsible for acting, and seeking to obey and love Him by excelling in their fighting.
This balance of God’s work and ours is an evidence of understanding scripture clearly. We must believe that God is the ultimate arbiter, but we must seek to speak and act as though the responsibility were entirely on ourselves. To believe that God will do all, and therefore ourselves to do nothing, is as bad as to believe that God leaves us to our unaided endeavors. We believe in the strength and sufficiency of God’s purpose. But, we know that there is a link in the chain of causation which we must supply. This is difficult for us to grasp in our finite human minds, which is why we need to trust the truth of scripture more than our own understanding.