The Battle Belongs to the Lord
If you have been reading along with us in our daily journal, you know we recently finished up Deuteronomy. Some folks may not agree, but I find Deuteronomy 20 to be some interesting reading. Yes, it’s Moses and law and all that Old Testament stuff, but I saw something interesting here. At the beginning of the chapter we see the instruction given to the Israelites when going to war against their enemies, “Do not be afraid of them, because the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you.” He literally wasted no time in telling them that He was with them! It’s like He said…you guys need to know this first and foremost (because you are prone to forgetfulness…) that I am with you. Don’t be afraid!! Why? Because they had demonstrated repeatedly to be people of fear. So, let’s just get that one out of the way early. Don’t be afraid, because I am with you.
But just in case they didn’t fully understand, He says the priest will come forward and address them too. This will be his admonition, “Do not be fainthearted or afraid, do not panic or be terrified by your enemies; for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.”
This just got elevated a bit. Not only is the Lord going with them – but now they are assured of the victory. It’s the Lord who gives you victory.
Sounds like a pretty good battle plan.
Then, what’s this business in the next few verses??? The officers inform the army of a few conditions: “Has anyone built a new house and not yet begun to live in it? Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else may begin to live in it. 6 Has anyone planted a vineyard and not begun to enjoy it? Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else enjoy it. 7 Has anyone become pledged to a woman and not married her? Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else marry her.”
Wait....what is this about?? I thought we were talking about victory over our enemies, and assured that God is with us?? How is it that now we are talking about somebody dying in the battle?
As I was meditating over this, I felt like the Holy Spirit was poking His finger on my definition of victory. I think sometimes as Christians, we believe that hardships should magically go around us. That we are immune to the problems of the world…that we are people of prayer, so that means everything will work out perfectly and we won’t have any trouble.
Hmmm. Let’s review a few things from scripture that we already know for sure: Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son. Joseph got thrown into a pit, and sold into slavery. Daniel was thrown into a lion’s den. David was chased by an angry king and narrowly missed impalement by a spear. Stephen was stoned to death. Paul was shipwrecked and imprisoned. Jesus was crucified. Victory? Yes!
Remember Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego? The 3 Hebrew boys who wouldn’t bow to an idol, but rather said ‘we will only worship the one true God’. They were thrown into a fiery furnace, only to have the Son of God join them and bring victory. He didn’t keep them from being thrown into the fire, but brought victory through it.
When we jump over to the New Testament, we see victory being more of a positional stance and not something we merely achieve. Once we are in Christ, we are victorious, regardless of the circumstances. Ephesians 2:6 reminds us of our position; the New Living Translation says that He “seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.” I think it’s much easier for us to face the daily battles when we are confident of the victory Christ has already won and shared with us. No matter what happens, if we are in Christ, then we are secure in His victory.
Most of us know that great verse to quote when things go wrong, Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
I love this verse…especially when I am quoting it to someone else…but not as much when someone has to remind me of it. Catch my drift?
Recently I was outside and seriously thought I heard a river running. Knowing I didn’t live near any babbling brook, I searched and found the culprit. One of the extension gutters had broken and the recent snow that was now melting off my roof was pouring down the side gutter and creating a pond on the ground right next to the house. Any homeowner will tell you that have a pond against your foundation is not a good thing. I started the repair work, made a trip to Home Depot, nearly lost a boot in the recently created 4 inch mudhole, and finally came in just about the time it got dark. The water drained off, the gutter was replaced, and even though I probably looked like I’d been wrestling a gator, the task was successfully completed. Victorious? Yes. However it wasn’t necessarily a battle I was expecting. But sometimes, things happen.
No, I’m not saying that the devil broke my gutter. But he will use any opportunity to bring discouragement. We all know that things break down…cars have problems, tires wear out, appliances don’t last forever, and yes, even gutters need to be replaced. That’s life. However, the devil will take advantage of any situation to try and steal our joy or rob us of our peace. It’s critical that we remember our position of victory.
God has promised that He will be with us. The Lord assures us He will walk with us and never abandon us. Look back to verse one of Deuteronomy 20: “W H E N you go to war… “ Not if, but when. There are situations we will face that feel like an absolute war. And there is an aspect of spiritual warfare that we will face at times. But we never face it alone, and He has given us weapons that have divine power.
Now, I use the story of the gutter because it gives us something easy to relate to in a humorous way. But truth is, we face things that aren’t so lighthearted. We all do. No one is exempt from hard times. The principle is the same. Jesus will never leave us, nor forsake us. Isaiah 43:2-3 reminds us: When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. When the battle rages on, do we lose our peace? Or do we remember that we are in Christ? Our victory is not something we purchase on the sideline and then try to hang on to during the difficulty. No, victory in Jesus is assured – if we are in Him. He is our peace...He is our victory. With the Holy Spirit’s help, I think we can have a clearer understanding that victory is more of a position because of our relationship with Christ, and not simply something we try to obtain. But in those daily struggles, we are assured that He is with us, and He is for us. We take up His Word as our sword and rely on His promises, knowing that He is faithful and true. He delights is giving us His grace and peace as we come into His presence. Let’s also remember the battle belongs to the Lord. He has already defeated the enemy and reigns victorious over all. As we position ourselves in Him, we share in the abundance of His kingdom reign. The truth remains, no weapon formed against us will prosper. Not even a broken gutter. True victory is knowing I am in Christ. ———————————— Worship Moments: