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There is one characteristic of every great man and woman of God throughout the Bible: in times of great trial, they refused to let go of God. Whether it was Jacob, Joseph, Job, Ruth, or Peter they would not take their hand out of God’s hand when the going got tough.
The faithful are those who are determined to do what they have to do regardless of their circumstances or feelings. They do so looking to the Lord, depending upon Him every inch of the way.
When Jacob had to flee his home, God promised He would be with him in all his journeys and bring him back to his homeland.
And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of. (Genesis 28:15)
After spending twenty years serving Laban, God called Jacob to return home to face a frightening situation.
I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred. (Genesis 31:13)
Jacob knew his only hope of escaping Esau’s wrath was the blessing of God upon him. He would not let go of this hope until he was given assurance.
And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. (Genesis 32:26)
Joseph had a calling to be a great blessing to his brothers. Despite their ill-treatment of him, he would not let go of God.
His determination to remain faithful through long years of suffering, loneliness, and delay resulted in the promise being fulfilled.
Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall:
The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him:
But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:)
Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb:
The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren. (Genesis 49:22-26)
Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. (1 Peter 3:8,9)
Job’s understanding of God and His ways were shattered by the tragedies that befell him. Despite his perplexity, he would not let go of his trust in God, or his continued faithfulness to Him.
Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him:
On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:
But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food. (Job 23:8-12)
Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him. He also shall be my salvation.. (Job 13:15,16)
Ruth’s world was turned upside down when her husband died, and her mother-in-law prepared to leave her.
She would not let go of her commitment to the God of Israel, even when doing so appeared to be opposed to what was best for her.
And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:
Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.
When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her. (Ruth 1:16-18)
From the time Peter decided to follow Jesus, he would not let go of Him.
From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. (John 6:66-68)
Satan hated Peter’s tight connection to Jesus, and sought to break it.
Jesus foresaw that Satan would temporarily succeed, but prayed that Peter’s faith would enable him to reconnect.
And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.
And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me. (Luke 22:31-34)
Despite his profession to never let go of Jesus, in a moment of weakness and fear, Peter was unwilling to suffer with his Lord, and claimed not to have any connection to Him.
But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak.
And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept. (Mark 14:71,72)
Despite his denial of Christ, Peter was restored because of his faith which counted the Lord to be who He is – merciful and faithful.
This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.
It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:21-23)
For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. (Malachi 3:6)
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. (2 Timothy 2:12,13)
Even when Satan would tell us we have detached ourselves from God and there is no way back, His great faithfulness and everlasting mercy restores us to His side.
Unless the LORD had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence.
When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O LORD, held me up. (Psalm 94:17.18)
Our faith is tried in the worst of times. But though the vision tarries, and God appears absent, the faithful do not let go of God or their confidence that He WILL come through for them because they believe He is their faithful God.
Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.
For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. (Hebrews 10:35-37)
The Book of Hebrews is an exhortation to the believer to persevere in faith and remain faithful (i.e. full of faith) in times of temptation and trial; to not be “of them who draw back unto perdition,” but to be “of them that believe to the saving of the soul.”
Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. (Hebrews 10:38,39)
Jesus, and the saints of old, left us a witness to not give up, but look up; not draw back, but draw near; not let go, but hold on and finish the race before us.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1,2)