Faith in the Foxholes

I will come into your house with burnt offerings; I will perform my vows to you, that which my lips uttered and my mouth promised when I was in trouble. Psalm 66:13-14

While I never served in the military, I have often heard it said, “There are no atheists in foxholes.” Often people who have demonstrated little interest in faith and eternity are suddenly moved to pray while being fired upon by the enemy. Many have also been known to experience amazing conversions under the threat of the death penalty for crimes they have committed.

In many instances, the promises made to God in the foxholes have been kept after the guns fell silent. However, this is not always the case. There have also been cases in prison for those on death row when someone is removed from those circumstances, because their sentence changed, the offenders have forgotten the commitments they made to the Lord.

The truth of the matter is, all of us will attempt to bargain with God if the circumstances are difficult enough. The psalmist, thinking of the circumstances through which the Israelites had passed, writes he has remembered to bring the offerings and will perform the vows he promised when he was in trouble. 

The Lord has always known people will be quick to forget who He is when circumstances are going well. In fact, He instructed Moses to warn the people as they entered the land of great abundance, it was a time for them to be careful. He wanted to remind them in their time of plenty they should not forget the Lord and disobey His commands. (Deut 8)

The psalmist is able to testify, “I will come to your house with burnt offerings; I will perform my vows to you…”. He then says it was the promises he made while in his time of trouble. He is demonstrating a deep appreciation for the mercy extended and grace received. 

While some might bring animals which were crippled or diseased, the psalmist brought the best of the best. There is nothing being done grudgingly or half heartedly. He brought the best he had and demonstrated his desire to share his experience of God’s goodness with others. What better response can a person have to the Lord’s unfailing love than to show unfailing gratitude to the one who is always faithful. 

Have you been faithful to keep the promises you have made to the Lord. If you are a believer one promise you have made is to follow Him. Are you being faithful in following, or will you have to find yourself in a foxhole to renew the vows you have made.



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