(For the Daily Prompt: Quote Me).
The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the Lord. Proverbs 21:31
There are many beautiful Bible verses, and many more powerful ones that strike a deep and resonating chord within my soul. John 14:6, John 3:16, Matthew 10:29-31, Job 39:19-25, Philippians 4:13, and of course the beautiful, beloved Psalm 23 are just a handful of gems from the treasury of this precious guide to life. But of them all, Proverbs 21:31 is the most personal to me.
When I read the Bible, sometimes it feels like I’m reading a letter from a friend, not a centuries-old book. I am not yet so good at listening to make it feel that way as often as it should, but it even happens to me, and sometimes it’s like Jesus is speaking straight into my heart through the hallowed pages.
But when I read Proverbs 21:31, I get the feeling that it was written just for me. As though God sent the words, years and years ago, into the heart of a rich, wise, wonderful, powerful King, to be written down and read out for generations after generations, all just for the rather small and thoughtless heart of one quite insignificant little girl sitting at the feet of Africa. And whether or not it’s true, that’s a pretty big feeling.
The horse is prepared against the day of battle. I must work hard, and not only with my actual flesh-and-blood horses; I must work hard on my soul and others’, to be ready for the day of battle, when Christ the King will come. I want to be like James and John and Matthew. Not like the young man who said, “I will follow Thee, Lord; but first let me bury my dead father.” I want to be like the apostles, who left all, rose up, and followed Him. And so I must prepare my soul-horse against the day of battle, exercise its muscles of faith until it moves with the grace of fitness, burnish its coat of hope until it bursts aflame in the sunlight, train its deepest thoughts and mind until its very being sings with the sincerity of its love. I must array my soul in trappings of humility, patience and forgiveness; I must bridle it with kindness and bit it with temperance and self-control, shoe it with peace and sit upon it armed with the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
And I cannot do it alone. Safety is of the Lord, and only He can turn my shrivelled little soul into something beautiful. Something that can scream His name from the housetops. Something that can run through the pearly gates, arms outstretched, shouting that same Name with unbearable joy. I want my soul to be that one, and only He can make it so.
I can present my soul-horse to Him, though. I can play my part; stand it up so that He can see every last fault from its temperamental white-rolling eyes to its cow-hocked fearful legs, trot it up on a hard surface so that He can see how the fear and anger has lamed it. I can help to prepare my horse against the day of battle, but safety will always be of the Lord. No matter how hard I work or how strong I become, I will always be a speck of dust in the face of His glory, and I will always be tiny, worthless, undeserving of His all-knowing love.
But it won’t matter to Him. I can prepare my horse, but safety is His. And safety He will give to me, on that glorious day when He comes on the clouds; safety will be mine, when He gathers me up in His arms and holds me close against Him.
If I can only prepare my horse. It’s a fiery horse and not the prettiest, and it likes to bite and kick, especially at God. But I have to bring it under control. I have to beg my Lord to help me discipline it. And then if by His grace my soul is subdued and steps out in faith, in courage, in joyous servitude, then I know that the Lord’s safety will be mine, too.
Because my God keeps His promises. May all glory be His for ever and ever. Amen!