“When calamity comes, the wicked are brought down, but even in death the righteous seek refuge in God (Proverbs 14:32).”
“All in”, I said. The deciding moment in the game had come.
I was sitting at the train station of my town, waiting for the bus, when I decided to call a friend. He is a young man I used to work with.
My friend agreed to meet me and pick me up. About 20 minutes later he came driving up in his black, growling Corvette.
It wasn’t long before he had gathered a couple of his friends for a rousing game of poker at his apartment. This was a renewal of the contests we used to have before I moved away a couple of years ago. Having returned now, I was looking forward to the night.
We don’t play for much money. It’s coffee money really.
Most of the night, I was down. In fact, one of the boys across the table from me had such a load of chips it looked as if he was building a fortress over there.
I thought the game would be over fast. We had just gotten started.
However, poker is a game of ebbs and flows. The two fellows to my left and I hung in enough to make a game of it.
Finally, it was just me and the young man with all the chips. I looked at my cards.
In my hand was two hearts. On the table were three more.
In poker parlance, I had what is called a flush. That’s a pretty high hand.
That’s when I went all in. It seemed like the right thing to do at the time, so I pushed all my chips into the pot.
I won. I took all the money. What seemed earlier like a sure defeat earlier had turned into a resounding victory.
This must have been curious to my fellow players because it was obvious I didn’t play much. I was a little shaky on the procedures and rules of the particular game we were playing. Still, I came away with the pot despite my inexperience.
It isn’t always the most talented or experienced who come away with the laurels, in games or any other avenue of life. A believer in Jesus Christ may know that he gains victory DESPITE his abilities and resources.
David once went “all in” on a building project he had in mind for the Lord. He planned to build a temple for Him.
However, David wasn’t going to be able to see it through. He was old. His son Solomon was going to have to man up and finish the temple.
David did what he could though. He gave all his wealth for the project so his inexperienced son could get off to a good start (I Chronicles 29:1-5).
David ultimately didn’t trust in Solomon to get the project done. He put his faith in God to bring it off. It was the Lord who had provided the wealth David had donated to the temple construction (I Chronicles 29:10-13).
Ultimately, though, David didn’t know what the result would be. He was hoping that there would be a large palatial structure built for his Lord, but he wouldn’t be around to see if it would come about or not. He invested in the project by faith in a calculated risk. David went all in with the cards he had.
It takes a certain attitude toward God to be able to do what David did. In some respects, when we follow Jesus Christ we have to do what we believe we should do and let the chips fall where they may. If things don’t work out, then we believers know God is around to pick up the pieces if need be.
A high priest of Israel demonstrated this attitude toward God. Eli was facing punishment for not restraining his evil adult male children.
One day God communicated to Eli’s servant Samuel what he was going to do to Eli and his descendants. It wasn’t pretty.
Eli wrangled the message from God out of Samuel. When he heard it, Eli, an old man, responded, “He is the Lord; let Him do what is good in his eyes (I Samuel 3:18b),”
In reading this, I was moved by Eli’s surrender to God. He knew he deserved what was going to get meted out to him and was willing to accept his punishment.
More than that, though, Eli revealed that he had faith in the character of God. He knew that even in the mire that God would be merciful in some fashion.
Matthew Henry says about Eli’s reply,” With such a threatening prospect before him, his piety and meekness were wonderful.” Henry writes to all believers, “Such is the spirit of meek and unmurmuring submission in which we ought to receive the dispensations of God, however severe and afflictive.”
It is a scary yet wonderful thing to be in the hands of the living God. Sometimes our mistakes and sins get us into such stews that our only recourse is to go all in with Him.
For example, it is almost surreal to look at your bank account and realize that the only money you have on hand this day is the coins and small notes on your dresser. Your entire worldly wealth can be placed in your pants pocket.
There seems to me to be two responses to be made when you are in such a state. You can either panic, or you can humbly say,”He is the Lord. Let Him do what is good in his eyes.”
I for one, when I am in such a condition, want to trust in the goodness of God. Tomorrow is another day.
The lyrics of Don Moen are comforting:
God will make a way
Where there seems to be no way
He works in ways we cannot see
He will make a way for me
He will be my guide
Hold me closely to His side
With love and strength
For each new day
He will make a way
He will make a way
By a roadway in the wilderness
He’ll lead me
And rivers in the desert will I see
Heaven and earth will fade
But His Word will still remain
He will do something new today
I am encouraged by these words of Moen. I think I will send the video to a person who I know will be facing a tough time tomorrow.
They will need to go all in with God this week. So will I in my circumstances I think, but God is my refuge.