In every battle recorded in the Bible in which the Children of Israel were involved, God played the leading role. Wow! Does that mean that He plays or wants to play the leading role in every battle in which I am involved? But I said “leading role”, and that can go either side. He did not always fight for the Israelites. He occasionally fought against them. Ouch!!! That does not sound good at all. Just imagining the possibility of God fighting against me, gives me the creeps. So that gets me to thinking. Is it the luck of the draw that determines whether God fights on my side, or against me? Are there some things that I should do, or should not do, that determines whether or not God is on my side? Surely they are! How about obeying Him for starters.
But wait a minute… Do I have an accurate picture that reflects God’s involvement in the battles of the Children of Israel? For light on that subject, let us go to Joshua 5:13-15. Having left the Wilderness and crossed over into Canaan, As Joshua approached Jericho, which was going to be the biggest challenge that they had faced to date because of its fortified infrastructure, Joshua is undoubtedly in pensive strategy mode. Suddenly he is confronted by what looks like a man with a sword drawn. Shortly after, Joshua recognizes this man to be God in Christophany form, and immediately assumes the position of worship. But before that, Joshua asks the obvious question… whose side are you on – ours or that of our adversaries? Then comes the bombshell of an answer.
“Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Put another way, God had come to take over with His army to represent His cause. Later God would assure King Jehoshaphat, that “… the battle is not yours. But God’s.” (2 Chronicles 20:15)
Neither? And that brings me back to my question. Do we have an accurate picture that reflects God’s involvement in the battles of life that daily confront us? Are we expecting God to be on our side, and as such do we try to do things that will put Him on our side? Or are we obsessed in doing god’s will, and in a manner of speaking, being on God’s side? Perhaps a better way to phrase the question is, are we on God’s team?
The truth is that we are too small and too numerous and conflicted for God to take sides. It is in our interest to be on the same side or team that he is on. A correct world-view consists of the existence of a very, very powerful Spiritual Being called the Devil on the one hand, and an omnipotent Spiritual being named God, on the other hand. Those two are perpetually at war for the souls of men as their prize. All the skirmishes and little battles that occur are ultimately directly or indirectly related to the agenda of the two major protagonists. We do not stand helpless by… we must choose sides and choose a team.
In Exodus 17:8-13, while the Israelites were wandering through the wilderness, the Amalekites launched unprovoked sniper attacks on them (Deuteronomy 25:17-18). The Amalekites, over a period of about 300 years, continued to harass and disturb the peace of Israel ((Judges 3:13 & Judges 6:2-5). Eventually the Amalekites earned God’s sentence of total annihilation, a sentence which King Saul failed to carry out. It cost him his kingdom , and the Amalekites lived to continue their harassment during King David’s reign, and were eventually defeated by him (1 Samuel 30:1-3.
Here, as in every other instance, The Lord made it clear that their military victory belonged to Him. For surely, no one believes that Moses’ upraised arm had any magical properties!
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