When God Goes Before Us Into Battle

Jun 13, 2016

Once more the Philistines raided the valley; so David inquired of God again, and God answered him, “Do not go directly after them, but circle around them and attack them in front of the poplar trees. As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the poplar trees, move out to battle, because that will mean God has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army.” So David did as God commanded him, and they struck down the Philistine army, all the way from Gibeon to Gezer  ~1Chronicles 14:13-16, NIV

Picture it. David’s army is geared up and going out to battle. They reach the poplar trees as instructed.  All of a sudden David and his army hear a large army marching toward them from behind. They swing around, expecting an ambush and see nothing, yet the sound gets louder and louder. They then realize it is passing over them. They hear the loud marching in the treetops way above their heads. Then the sounds begin to fade and they snap out of it. They realize that just as he promised, God sent his army ahead of them to fight for them. They follow quickly.

I don’t know about you, but at times when I have needed to fight a significant battle in life is when I have felt the least qualified and able to do so. I wanted God to go fight that battle for me. In fact, I have gotten a little irritated because I was responsible for fighting the battle. It was mine alone. And I didn’t know how I could possibly do so and why God would not simply take care of it.

But read again the astonishing story above about the battle that David and his army needed to fight against the Philistines. God was going to help them in the battle, however, he was not willing to let David and his army sit in their tents while His own army fought the enemy. God knew that his army was going to go before David and fight, however, David and his army had to still gear up, get on their armor, and march out to battle.

It doesn’t take long wondering to come up with at least a few good reasons why God does not go out to fight our battles for us while we sit on the couch watching TV:

  1. One of the quickest ways to make a person weak is to do for them what they are capable of doing themselves. In years past, I have worked in geriatrics. One of the best things a nurse can do for an older patient is gently, firmly encourage the patient to do what they are capable of, then just a little more. Even though the patient may think the nurse heartless, this helps him/her maintain and gain strength.
  2. We humans get a sense of entitlement very easily.  What originally we are very thankful for soon becomes accepted as the norm and then it is a short trip to feeling that we deserve it.
  3. For someone to do for us what we are capable of doing ourselves steals the sense of accomplishment we get from completing a difficult task. If we do not attempt something, how will we ever know whether or not we could accomplish it?

Does knowing the above make me like putting on my armor and marching out to fight whatever the next battle is before me? Many times, no. But I do it anyway. Stormie Omartian has written an excellent book titled, Just Enough Light for the Step I’m On. That is an apt description of how it feels when I’m gearing up one more time for battle. Many times I do not know the outcome or the way, but God provides for me just enough light to illuminate the step I am on. Then, when it is time for me to take the next step, God helps and God leads, but he will not take the next step for me. God in his mercy knows how to grow his people. {Click to tweet!}


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