I had all the right gear on but it didn’t make a difference.
As I paddled out into the surf my courage began to melt away as quickly as my hands were being frozen into ice blocks. My relatively new gear did nothing to help me to overcome my fear of the large waves out the back or the confidence to cope with the unknown, freezing Victorian waters.
After considering my options I turned back to head into shore and walked back to the car with my board under my arms and my tail between my legs!
A few months later however, the situation was completely different. Instead of paddling out the back on my own, I was with a friend who gave me the confidence I needed to enjoy my first surf in a long time! The thing that gave me confidence was not the gear I had but the person I paddled out with.
Despite being equipped with the latest gear, the men of Ephraim were also overcome by fear and turned back from the battle ahead:
‘The men of Ephraim, though armed with bows, turned back on the day of battle’ – Psalm 78:9-11 (NIV)
The men of Ephraim quickly discovered that they had placed their confidence in the wrong thing. Instead of placing their confidence in the promises of God, they relied on the latest equipment and techniques to help them overcome the odds. These men had forsaken their relationship with God and all the past victories God had given them:
‘They did not keep God’s covenant and refused to live by his law. They forgot what he had done, the wonders he had shown them’ (78:10-11)
In sport, confidence is almost more important than how many elite players are in your team. If you come up against a team who have had a recent string of victories, you know you’re coming up against a team who is high on confidence.
In the same way, remembering the victories God has given us in the past is the key to giving us confidence to face the challenge of today. However the men of Ephraim had forgotten who God was and were paddling out alone.
Don’t be like the men of Ephraim who turned back on the day of battle, but invite Jesus to paddle out the back with you so He can give you the confidence to overcome even the greatest odds as you trust in Him!