“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” - Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV).
Naughtiness can end up with you in trouble, particularly for one in a strict boarding school. Looking back at my school life I often wonder how I managed to survive expulsion, given a persistent troublesome streak. I particularly recall one incident where after a public spurt that went viral and threatened the power at my school I was but done. Sensing danger, I hurried to talk to the Head Prefect and a number of influential friends to go ahead of me and plead my case, just before the disciplinarian Headmaster summoned me. Ushered into his presence, finnaly, instead of a suspension or expulsion, the Headmaster gave me some minor potter for my crimes. My escape was because someone had gone ahead of me and pleaded my case.
As Moses was about to hand over his commission to his anointed successor, Joshua, he took all back to how the Lord had gone ahead of them. “The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the wilderness. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place” (Deuteronomy 1:30-31). Few there, who had seen the way the Israelites had overcome their enemies, could doubt that because of that they had lived to acknowledge the faithfulness of God.
Yet, there was also a caveat. Moses warned the Israelites, “If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 8:19-20).
There are certainly clear advantages where the Almighty God goes ahead of us, which is His expressed desire, in whatever battle we may face. Is it our applications about to be vetted- we need the Lord to go ahead of us! Perhaps there are those who are falsely accusing us in our absence- we need the Lord Almighty to go ahead of us and plead our case. Are we about to take on a long journey- who wouldn’t love the Lord to go ahead of him!
But much as this is a given, there is one simple condition. We must earn that right by being obedient to the Lord, lest his anger burns against us, leaving us to our helpless defenses. And who would choose that!
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, as you promised to go ahead of the Israelites, I too, pray that in obedience to your commands you always go ahead of me, whatever the occasion, and fight my battles, this I pray in Jesus’s name.
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“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful” – ( 2 Timothy 4:7).
Fighting may be looked at as a non-desirable way of life, especially by those who are pacifists. In fact, throughout Christian history there are many who have literally taken Jesus’s admonition of “turn the other cheek” in Mathew 5:39, to mean nonresistance in the face of attack. The fact that Jesus rebuked the Apostle Peter for drawing a sword against his captors ( Mathew 26:52), means giving in to those who attack them, as a sign of humility.
Yes, of course there are moments where Christians must practice that humility and give in to those who attack them well remembering His word, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord” ( Romans 12:19). However, that said, Believers in Christ would be mistaken to imagine that they must not fight for their faith, whenever under attack. For in reality, the faith of believers is under constant attack from Satan, who comes to “kill and destroy” ( John 10:1).
Faced with this, Paul went at great length to advise Christians to “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” ( Ephesians 6:11). To ward of constant attacks by the enemy Paul challenged us to “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” ( vv 14-17).
Paul is telling us that if you think that ours is a walk over faith where you are not going to fight back against the attacks of the enemy you are very mistaken. Fight we must, and hold our ground. The devil respects that! And when all is done, we can then gladly say, “we have fought the good fight, finished the race” and thank God Almighty we are free at last!
Prayer today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I rise ready to resist the attacks of the enemy, by wearing the full of armor of God, and with the sword of the Spirit, fight back to victory, this I pray in Jesus’ name!