Proverbs 21:31

Safety is Of The Lord

The horse is prepared against the day of battle:
but safety is of the LORD.

Introduction: This is a simple proverb and its meaning is obvious: regardless of our preparations and effort, ultimately, safety is from the Lord. He is the Sovereign Lord.

The horse is prepared against the day of battle:

1. Solomon uses the example of preparing for battle.

a. Prepared defined: To be firm; be stable; be established; be secure; be enduring; be prepared; be arranged; be settled; made ready; built up.

b. The horse was the tank of its day. It was a major military vehicle… it was a valuable piece of military equipment.

c. It provided much safety and security for the ancient armies.

d. It enabled them to rush into a village and gave them the added element of a surprise attack.

e. If the battle was not going so well, it enabled them rush back home too!

f. A soldier with a horse stood a much better chance of survival than a foot soldier.

g. And a cavalry is by far superior to an army of foot soldiers. (Remember the old cowboy movies when the Indians were about to destroy the wagon train, and then at the last minute, the cavalry appeared on the horizon to save the day!)

h. Thus, a soldier who wanted to survive would prepare his horse for the day of battle.

2. We should prepare for battles: Whatever kind of battle we might face.

a. Soldiers should prepare for war. They should seek out the very best battle plans. They should seek out the best equipment.

b. Businessmen should prepare for the battle of the business world. Make the best plans you can. Use the best and most efficient machines to punch out your widgets. Prepare your advertisements and your promotion to the best of your ability.

c. The farmer should prepare his fields. He has to plow them, and break up the fallow ground. He has to make sure the soil is well drained, weeded, watered, fertilized, etc…

d. If you are sick, make the best preparation you can to deal with your illness. Seek good medical help. Follow the doctor’s instructions. Take the prescribed medications. Do the proper exercises.

e. Students should prepare for the battle in school too! Read the homework assignments. Do all the exercises. Study for the exams. Follow your teacher’s advice and counsel.

f. There are countless other kinds of struggles, trials, and battles that we face as believers in which preparations are required.

g. We are to put our best effort into preparing to face the battle… and to come out victoriously.

h. Like the athlete in I Cor. 9:24-27, we are to put in our best effort… lay aside anything that would hinder us from winning… keep our body under subjection… keep our eyes on the crown… and keep on running… keep on striving.

i. This proverb is NOT teaching us that we should not strive for victory. It is NOT teaching that effort on our part is unnecessary.

j. There is a common expression often used that is most misleading: Let go and let God. It is only half right. Of course, we should let God have His way, but we should NEVER let go!”

k. When we let go there is no safety and no victory.

l. Don’t ever let go of your thought life. We are (by God’s grace) to control our thought life.

m. Don’t ever let go of your emotions. Our emotions are to be under control of the Holy Spirit.

n. Don’t ever let go of the steering wheel of your life and hope that God will steer FOR you. He will not. You will wander aimlessly and may drift very far away.

o. God doesn’t work INSTEAD of us. He works IN and THROUGH us.

3. The horse SHOULD BE prepared for battle.

a. Preparations for any kind of battle are good and necessary.

b. It would be foolish indeed to face the battle WITHOUT proper preparations.

c. That is not faith, it is presumption.

d. Prov. 20:18 – “Every purpose is established by counsel: and with good advice make war.”
• Be prepared for war… plan ahead… think things through… make all the necessary arrangements…
• Get counsel; get advice; and act accordingly.
• Be ready, equipped, and have a battle plan.

e. FAITH prepares for battle. When God sent the Joshua and the Israelites into Canaan-land, he told them to gird up their swords and be ready for battle. Repeatedly we read that the Lord delivered the enemy into their hands, but the Jews had to slay them with their swords.

f. Faith prepares but it also TRUSTS in God for safety and victory.

g. Ps. 127:1 – “Except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain that build it.”
• Faith labors to build the house, but acknowledges that the labor is vain apart from the Lord.

h. Jas. 4:13-15 – “For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.”
• FAITH makes good business plans, but does not ignore the will of the Lord.

i. Whether we are facing a literal battle, a business battle, or any other kind of struggle, human effort, labor, and striving are necessary, but they must be accompanied by TRUST… because our efforts alone are vain… fruitless… futile.

4. Ecc. 9:11 – I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

a. God is sovereign over time and chance.

b. Plans, equipment, counsel, preparation are all good and necessary, but they do NOT guarantee victory or success.

c. Providence can overrule any time God sees fit… no matter how strong the army, how well trained the runner, how wise the business plan, etc.

d. Preparation is good, but it is only one side of the coin.

But safety is of the LORD.

1. Safety:

a. Safety = salvation; deliverance; victory.

b. Men can make the very best of plans and preparations, but ultimately deliverance, salvation, safety, and victory comes from the Lord.

c. This proverb deals with two sides of one coin: man’s responsibility and God’s sovereignty.

d. Both are in the Bible and both are true.

e. Safety is of the Lord.

f. Zech. 4:6 – Not by (human) might, nor by (human) power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.

2. Deut. 17:16 – For this reason, God commanded Jewish kings NOT to multiply horses.

a. God did not want Jewish kings to trust in their military might, but to trust in HIM.

b. If they trusted in the Lord, a very small army would be able to defeat a much larger army.

c. Israel’s history is replete such examples.
→ I Sam. 17:45-46 – David fought against Goliath and won. Goliath trusted in his size, strength, and equipment. David trusted in the Lord.
→ I Sam. 14:6 – Jonathan and his armourbearer fought victoriously against a larger garrison of Philistines. Jonathan was trusting that there is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few.
o Jonathan didn’t see the battle as one between himself and a much larger garrison of soldiers.
o He saw the conflict as being between the infinitely powerful Jehovah God and the weak, mortal dust of the Philistines.

3. It is foolish to trust in our own preparations and ignore the Lord.

a. Ps. 20:7 – Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.

b. Ps. 33:17-21 – An horse is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength.

c. Superior equipment does not guarantee victory.
• Consider the horses and chariots of the Egyptian army in the Exodus.
• Consider the six day war in Israel.
» The Six-Day War in 1967 was a war between Israel and the armies of Egypt, Jordan and Syria.
» The Arab states of Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria also contributed troops and arms to the Arab forces.
» Egypt amassed 1,000 tanks and nearly 100,000 soldiers on the Israeli border
» Tiny Israel was completely surrounded by hostile nations, and it seemed that she was about to be wiped off the map.
» On June 5, 1967, Israel launched a Pre-emptive attack against Egypt’s air force.
» Divine Providence gave Israel an incredible victory… in just six short days.
• Matthew Henry wrote: God can save without armies; but armies cannot save without God.

d. Prov. 21:30 – Human wisdom is also useless against the Lord. Human effort and human wisdom are extremely limited, but God is not. How much better to trust in HIS wisdom and strength?!

4. God DELIGHTS in those who trust in HIM.

a. Ps. 147:10-11 – Trust in the Lord… not in horses.
• What an insult—for men to trust in a dumb horse over God!
• It is equally insulting to God for us to trust in modern technology. (Trusting in man’s devices to save us on the battle field or on the operating table is wrong!)
• Vs. 5-6 – God has infinite power and wisdom. He chooses to lift up the MEEK and those who fear Him… not those who appear to be strong and trust in their own arsenal.

b. Isa. 31:1 – Trusting in horses (or men with horses… with powerful equipment and human help) is the opposite of trusting in God.
• It is one or the other, not both.
• God can tell the difference.

c. Read Psalm 3:1-8 – Whole psalm about God’s safety.
• Whatever kind of struggle, trial, battle, or foe YOU have to face, remember this proverb: safety is of the Lord!

d. Jer. 9:23-24 – Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: 24But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD.
• God wants ALL of the glory in any victory, however small or great. The glory should never go to our own strength, wisdom, equipment, or plans.
• Salvation is of the Lord.