“The children of Ephraim, being armed, and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle.”
One of the worst statements that could be said about any people is mentioned in the verse above about the children of Ephraim when it says that they “turned back in the day of battle.” What a sad commentary on a people who had God to fight for them, but they got focused on the weariness of the battle, which caused them to turn back, instead of on the blessings of God’s presence.
Many believers have made the same decision that the children of Ephraim made, and that decision was to turn back in the day of battle. There have been many believers who seemed to be strong stalwarts of the faith who crumbled in the day of battle. Many leaders who seemed to be men of spiritual steel melted when the battle came their way. In this chapter, several things are given that can help you from turning back in the day of battle.
First, remember the works of God. In verse 11, Ephraim forgot God’s works, which resulted in them turning back. Never forget what God has done for you. If anything, never forget the greatest work that God has done for you in saving your soul from Hell. You must have a good memory of God’s works if you don’t want to quit in the day of battle.
Second, remember the miracles of God. The battle has a way of seeming too big for you to handle, but if you will remember the miracles of God, the battle will never be too big and will never cause you to want to turn back. Ephraim forgot the “wonders” that God performed, and that is why they turned back. Reminding yourself of God’s miracles from the past will help you to continue in the heat of the battle.
Third, remember the deliverance of God. In verse 13, Ephraim forgot about God’s deliverance. God has always delivered you in past battles, and He has the power to deliver you in today’s battle. Remembering God’s delivering power will help you to continue while carrying the weight of the battle.
Fourth, remember the guiding hand of God. In verse 14, God guided Ephraim in the day and night. God’s guiding hand has never misled you, and He will not mislead you in the present battles that you face if you will trust Him and follow Him. God knows where He is leading you, and though you may not understand His chosen pathway, you must trust that God knows how to get you out of the storms that you face.
Fifth, remember the provision of God. In verse 15, God gave Ephraim the water they needed out of a rock. God has always provided for you in the past, and He will still guide you in the present if you will stay in the battle. You are running from the providing hand of God when you run from the battle. It may look impossible for God to provide for you in your present circumstances, but God has a rock to refresh your soul if you will stay close to Him in the battle.
Sixth, remember the mercy of God. In verses 38-39, Ephraim experienced God’s mercy in spite of their sinful actions. God has been merciful to you many times in your life. There have been many times when God’s mercy rescued you from your self-made situations. My friend, don’t waste God’s mercy in your life by quitting in the battle; instead, let God’s mercy be the catalyst that keeps you going when you want to quit.