But these realities are hard to miss in the Scriptures. Let’s go back to the Old Testament. Once God had given life to His people – the nation of Israel what do we see?
First of all we see that God supernaturally frees his people from their slavery and bondage in the land of Egypt.
Yet once they are delivered they make the choice to rebel against the Lord and as a consequence they spend the next 40 years wondering in the wilderness. When the unbelieving generation has finally died off they prepare to take possession of the land that God had promised them. But in order to possess the land and the life that God had planned for them they had to do what? They had to fight!, they had to wage war, they had to engage literally in hand to hand combat. They had to actively fight for what God had promised to them!
But here is the exciting part. They were not to fight in their own strength alone. Yes they had to wield the sword and the spear. Yes they had to make their plans and execute their strategy but they did so based upon the promises that God had made to them!
God had promised them that if they would obey Him, He would fight for them and make them strong. God told them through Moses in Deut.
Deut. 11:8 “You shall therefore keep the whole commandment that I command you today, that you may be strong, and go in and take possession of the land that you are going over to possess,” Deut. 20:4 “for the LORD your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.’ “
Repeatedly God encourages His people to be strong and courageous and not to be fearful.
1Chr. 22:13 “Then you will prosper if you are careful to observe the statutes and the rules that the LORD commanded Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Fear not; do not be dismayed.” Josh. 10:25 “And Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid or dismayed; be strong and courageous. For thus the LORD will do to all your enemies against whom you fight.”
Their obedience was the key to their victory. That pattern holds true through out the Scriptures. As long as God’s people were obedient to Him they experienced His blessing.
When the nation of Israel crossed over the Jordan river to take possession of the land the most important thing was not the size of the nation, it was not the strength of the nation, it was not how skilled they were at waging war. No the most important thing was whether or not they would obey the Lord. If they would obey, if they would trust the Lord there was absolutely no way that they were going to lose. Doesn’t meant that is was going to be easy, but they were assured of the victory.