The battle was set against him in 2 Samuel 10. Enemy troops had gathered against Joab and his men in the front and back. He was stuck between a rock and a hard place, between a hammer and an anvil, between the devil and the deep blue sea. It was a tight spot; what could he do? Have you been in a tight spot? Maybe you’re in one today, damned if you do and damned if you don’t. What will you do?
Joab split his forces. He stood with some in the front and put his brother Abishai in the back with the rest. He drew up a strategy and battle plan: “If my enemy is too strong for me, then you will help me, and if your enemy is too strong for you, then I will come and help you.” Sounded like a good plan. It’s good to have a plan. Hannibal of “The A Team” always had a plan. God gave you a brain and head for more than a place to keep your hat, so figure something out in your predicament. Plan your work then work your plan.
But that’s not all Joab said, there’s “the rest of the story,” as Paul Harvey always used to say. After coming up with his plan, Joab added, “Be of good courage, and let us be courageous for our people, and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to him.” Have the courage and strength to work your plan, and ultimately trust in the Lord. May He do what seems good to Him. He is the Lord and will not share His glory with another. He makes everything beautiful in its time. He makes all things work together for good for those who are in Christ. He will do what seems good to Him. Be of good courage and trust Him to do what’s best.
It’s like when Paul wrote to the Philippians about his travel plans. “I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon,” he began, “I hope to send him just as soon as I see how it will go with me, and I trust in the Lord that shortly I myself will come also (Philippians 2:19-24).” Paul had no idea what would happen to him in the next few weeks, but he had a plan and trusted God for the results. Or it’s like when James gave his instructions to those who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— but they don’t know what tomorrow will bring. We are like a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead, we ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” If the Lord wills…
So you’re in a hard place. Make a plan. Work the plan. The good news for Joab (and us) is that God works His plan and does what’s best. “Joab and the people who were with him drew near to battle against his enemy, and they fled before him. And when those in the rear saw that they had fled, they likewise fled before Abishai Joab and Abishai returned from fighting and came to Jerusalem.” You can call upon Him in the day of trouble; He will deliver you, and you shall glorify Him (Psalm 50:15). “His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love (Psalm 147:10-11).” Make your plan, work your plan, and trust God to do what seems good to Him.