Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last. (Genesis 49:19 KJV)
Younger baseball fans may not immediately recognize the name of Yogi Berra, who was a star catcher for the New York Yankees from 1946-1963. But who among us has not enjoyed one or more of Yogi’s delightful sayings? The 18-time All-Star is credited with uttering such gems as . . .
- “90% of baseball is mental; the other half is physical.”
- “No one goes there [a popular restaurant] anymore. It’s too crowded.”
- “A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.”
- “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
- “It feels like déjà vu all over again.”
Commenting on these statements, which came to be known as “Yogi-isms,” Berra once protested, “I really didn’t say everything I said.” But there is no question that Yogi did utter the most oft-repeated “Yogi-ism” of all, which I have appropriated for the title of today’s message, a phrase that has tremendous significance for the Christian: It ain’t over ‘til it’s over!
We have all suffered our losses and carried our crosses. But, because the battle is the Lord’s (1 Samuel 17:47), we must never forget that victory is assured “at the last.”
The tribe of Gad knew this truth by way of personal experience. There was a time when the adversary was too powerful and gained the upper hand in battle against Gad. But in the end, victory was promised to the tribe of Gad, and God delivered (1 Chronicles 5:18-20).
Do you know this truth in your own life? There are many times when we may believe that we have been overcome by our adversaries. Jesus Himself told us that trouble would be our constant companion in this life. It should come as no surprise to any of God’s people when adversity attacks us and gets the upper hand. But we must never forget the last words of today’s verse from Genesis: we will triumph at the last! It has been observed, “All’s well that ends well,” and the triumph at the end is guaranteed to the Christian every bit as much as the trial in the beginning.
What difficulties are you facing today? What adversaries are coming up against you in your personal and professional life? Don’t be surprised when the enemy gets the upper hand from time to time; this has been promised to the people of God. But never forget that “at the last”—and nothing comes after “the last,” for it is the end—your victory is assured. Omniscience uttered this truth and Omnipotence will make good on it in your life.
Perhaps one of the best ways to look at life is to view it as a marathon race, not a sprint. In a sprint, one misstep can cause us to lose the race. But in a marathon, our adversaries may be getting the best of us for a time, but in the end, when we have come to the end of our race, we will receive the crown of glory, which has been promised to us by the King of glory (1 Peter 5:4). Patient, faith-filled endurance is the key to getting through all the trials you are currently enduring.
There was a time when the world believed it had gotten the best of Jesus. They tried Him in a kangaroo court. They condemned Him to death, even though His judge declared that Jesus had done nothing to deserve death (Luke 23:15). They beat Him until he was unrecognizable (Isaiah 52:14). They jammed a crown of thorns into His forehead. They nailed Him to a cross. They laughed and mocked Him as He hung there. They buried Him in a tomb that was sealed shut and guarded by Roman soldiers. Good Friday was, in the eyes of the unbelieving world, a day of great victory; finally they had rid themselves of the One called Jesus the Christ. He was dead and buried.
But at the last, on that first Easter morning, a dead man got up and walked out of the tomb. Jesus triumphed at the last, and so shall you, regardless of what it is you are facing today.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!