Deuteronomy 20:1 – “When you go out to battle against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the Lord your God is with you, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.” NKJV
There will be a time in each of our lives when we feel as if we are in a major battle. That battle can come in many forms: financial issues, medical issues, relationship issues, family issues, and a host of other issues. But no matter what the issue, it’s a battle that must be won. I want to share today and in the next several blogs what God has to say about our battles.
At this time, in Israel’s history, God is teaching them how to go into a physical battle. He told them when it was time to go to fight against their enemies that they would see some things. He said they would see the horses, they would see the chariots, and they would see the people. Then He told them that they would be outnumbered. That doesn’t sound all that encouraging! But even with this, God said, “Do not be afraid of them!” I’ve taught history, and I know that the invention of chariots took war to another level. As a matter of fact, having chariots often ensured your victory. But we hear God saying, don’t look at those things, don’t be afraid!
Today, we don’t have to go to war as they did in the Old Testament. We having a standing military ready to defend our countries. Probably at that time, most men fought in the war and left their women behind with the children. So I know that everything about the wars in the Old Testament will not be applicable. But some of it is!
As a matter of fact, our war is not a physical war at all. Paul, in Ephesians 6, wrote that we wrestle not against flesh and blood! Our battles are more likely spiritual battles. Battles that are waged against us by our enemy the devil. And we cannot fight him in the flesh. But the things that God spoke to the children of Israel about their natural battles are things we need to know to win our own battles.
When we go into battle we see things too: the people, the medical reports, the symptoms, the bills, the challenges…and they can overwhelm us! Yes, they can! But God is still saying, “Don’t be afraid!” And typically, that is easier said than it is done. I am sure that the children of Israel didn’t always find it easy to be courageous in the face of untold obstacles and being outnumbered. But God told them to not be afraid! And when we get a negative medical report, or the symptoms are unbearable, or the financial pressure is weighing us down, God is still saying, “Don’t be afraid!”
Some teach today that we are not to even be concerned about spiritual warfare. They suggest that God has already won the battle and there is no need to “fight”. I will concur that the battle has already been won, and that we already have the victory! But the devil never hides in a cave saying, “I’ve already been defeated, so there’s no point in messing with them!” And he is fully aware of the truth that Jesus defeated him. But he attacks anyone he can to see if he can steal their victory. For he knows that every one, who is unaware and unwilling to fight, can become his prey and his war trophy. I don’t plan on that being me! I plan to fight!
After God tells them “don’t be afraid”, God says to the children of Israel, “for the Lord your God is with you!” That’s why we don’t have to be afraid! Because God is with us as He was with them! Jesus echoed this truth when He said, “Lo, I am with you always even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20). And in Romans 8, Paul wrote, “If God be for you, who can be against you!” Over and over again, God has said that He is with us, and yet, we still wrestle with fear.
If you are honest, if you are like me, it’s easy to forget this truth when you are bombarded by the enemy. Sometimes I really do believe that I am wrestling with flesh and blood! Sometimes, all I can see is the person who is attacking me. Sometimes, I am overwhelmed by all of the negative reports that I hear. Then God lovingly reminds me of His truth that He is with me.
When you go to battle…We will all have a battle to fight some day, or we have fought a battle, or we are in a battle. It escapes none of us. I cringe when my pastor reminds us of this. But today I just want to remind you that part of getting ready for the battle is remembering that God has told us to not be afraid of what we see, even when it is overwhelming, because He is with us!
Maybe you are facing a battle right now! Well, get in battle readiness and embrace the truth that God is with you and you don’t have to be afraid. Even if things are at the worst that they have ever been, or you are feeling more devastated than you could imagine, it is time to take God at His word! “For the Lord your God is with you!” You are not in this battle alone. You don’t have to fight it by yourself. Over the next few blogs, I plan to look into my favorite battles in the word of God and learn more about winning every time! My prayer is that you will allow God to show you that He is with you by releasing fear and beginning to trust Him like never before! He is with you! Wonderful Jesus!