I am sure we have all been horrified by the events in Ukraine and the dreadful suffering of so many people. In the midst of this tragedy, one of the things that has deeply impacted me is the resilience and determination of the Ukrainian people as they have resisted and held firm in the face of overwhelming opposition. As I have been thinking about this, and praying for them, it has reminded me of the parallels between war and the spiritual battle that we are in. We can learn much from the Ukrainians’ perseverance in the face of oppression.
There is an account in 2 Kings 13, where Israel is being oppressed by Aram. King Jehoash of Israel goes to see Elisha, who tells him to shoot an arrow out of the east window, which was in the direction of Aram. The prophet then declares that this is: “The LORD’s arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Aram!” and says that the king would defeat the Arameans at Aphek. Elisha then tells Jehoash to take his arrows and to strike the ground with them. He does this three times, but then stops. Elisha is angry with him for stopping and tells him that, if he had continued and had struck the ground five or six times, his victory over Aram would have been complete. As it was, he would defeat them only three times.
This story speaks to me about persevering - in prayer and in the spiritual battle. How often do we pray a little and then stop? Today’s verse says that, when we persevere, we will receive what has been promised. The verses that follow in Hebrews 10 (verses 38 and 39) speak about those who shrink back, saying that the Lord has no pleasure in them. I wonder if we sometimes shrink back in our prayer life, praying just a little into each situation and then giving up.
Jesus tells a parable about a widow who persists in pleading her case with an unjust judge. He was not equating this judge with God in any way, but He told the parable to His disciples “to show them that they should always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1). Let’s be people who persevere and do not give up!
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