A God Who Fights for You

Have you ever gotten lyrics to a song wrong? Or misunderstood them? I remember swearing up and down that the hymn lyric was “When the roll is a called a b’yonder.” Now, I didn’t know what a “b’yonder” was (probably because it doesn’t exist), but I was ready to go the mat that it was the word in the song. (Of course, I wasn’t the only confused one in my house. My sister thought the song was referring to a roll of toilet paper.) Sunday school can also be confusing. One tidbit that was particularly puzzling to me was why it took the people so long to get to the Promised Land. Forty years!? That seems like a lot, even if they were traveling on foot! Why didn’t they just go in?

The answer, of course, was that God wouldn’t let them in until the older generation had passed away. The account is found in Numbers 13-14 and reiterated in Deuteronomy 1. Here are the highlights: On the cusp of Canaan, God told Moses to send out spies to check out the land before going in. So, Moses sent a spy from each tribe, and they came back with tales to tell: “We went in to the land where you sent us; and it certainly does flow with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless, the people who live in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large; and moreover, we saw the descendants of Anak there” (Num. 13:27-28).  Two faithful spies believed that God would allow His people to conquer; the other ten said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us” (Num. 13:31). Moses tried to encourage the people saying, “Do not be shocked, nor fear them. The LORD your God who goes before you will Himself fight on your behalf just as He did for you in Egypt” (Deut. 1:29-30). Of course, the people still didn’t believe, and so they were stuck in the wilderness for forty long years until the faithless generation died off.

As is often the case, we’re quick to assume the role of Caleb or Joshua (the faithful spies) in this account. “If I had been there,” we think, “I would have trusted God!” Right. I wish. Normally it’s a much better idea to assume that the regular-Joe Israelite (aka the faithless wonder), rather than the human hero, is an accurate representation of the regular-Joe Christian (aka me). That means I would have been shaking in my sandals too. Like the majority of Israel, I likely would have denied that God wants to fight for me. In fact, this isn’t hypothetical. I do it all the time.

A God who fights for me. This is an aspect of God’s character not as quickly thought of as some, but it packs a punch (pun intended, sorry).

The Victory Is Already His (and Mine)

God has already fought on my behalf and won in a landslide. When He pronounced the curse in the Garden, He told the serpent that he would crush the heel of Eve’s offspring, but that her seed would crush the head of the serpent (Gen. 3:15). From this we learn that Satan will go down with a skull-crushing defeat, a defeat he suffered early one Sunday morning as Jesus emerged from the grave, victorious in His mission to defeat death and end the curse forever:

“Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death is no longer master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all” (Rom. 6:8-10).

“But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about he saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O, Death, where is your victory? O Death, where is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Cor. 15:54-57, emphasis added)

Our victory is sealed because of Christ’s vicarious death on our behalf:

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21)

He Fights for Me Still

The victory is already mine. Nothing can take that victory from me. Hallelujah! However, until this perishable body puts on the imperishable in glory, I must continue to fight—to fight my flesh, my idolatrous desires, and the devil himself. To be a solider of the cross means entangling in gnarly combat. Thankfully, we do not engage alone. The God who fought for the Israelites in parting the Red Sea and tumbling the walls of Jericho is the same God who crushed the skull of Satan and is the same God who fights for me still today.

In the fight for truth

Our adversary is the “father of lies” (Jn 8:44), and he loves to whisper lies to us throughout the day. Though they’re believable and enticing, we don’t have to give in. When Jesus left the earth, He sent the Helper to come and indwell His people. Christ described this Helper as the “Spirit of truth” and promised that He would lead Christ followers into all the truth (John 16:13). Christ also fought for His disciples in prayer the night He was arrested. He asked that God would “sanctify them [His disciples] in truth”—God’s Word.

Our hearts are deceitful and full of lies, bent on destroying us through falsehood. However, God fights for us through the Holy Spirit who leads us in truth, truth found in the Word of God. We can defeat our adversary because the Living Word fights for us through His Spirit and through the written Word.

In the fight for peace

Not only does our enemy seek to destroy us through lies, he also seeks to shake our confidence and rob us of peace. While we’re responsible to fight and don the “shoes of peace” (Eph. 6:15, emphasis added), we have a God on our side who is fighting through us. If you’re lacking peace (or if you think you might someday), perhaps these verses will assure you that the battle belongs to the Lord. I’ve emphasized certain portions to make my point clear.

  • Now may the God of peace be with you all. Amen. (Rom. 15:33)
  • Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Rom. 15:13)
  • Those who love Your law have great peace, And nothing causes them to stumble. (Ps. 119:165)
  • Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:6-7)
  • “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. (John 14:27)
  • But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness (Gal. 5:22)
  • For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

In the fight for joy

Satan is also an accomplished joy-robber. He knows that a joyless Christian is a powerless one. However, as the Author of joy, God will fight on your behalf.[1]  

  • You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. (Psalm 16:11)
  •  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness (Gal. 5:22)
  • Then he said to them…”Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” (Neh. 8:10)
  • They who dwell in the ends [of the earth] stand in awe of Your signs; You make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy. (Ps. 65:8)
  • Then those who sing as well as those who play the flutes [shall say,] “All my springs [of joy] are in you. (Ps. 87:7)
  • These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and [that] your joy may be made full. (Jn. 15:11)
  • Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one [will] take your joy away from you. (Jn. 16:22)
  • Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Rom. 15:13)

Are you weary in your fight? Rejoice in the God who fights for you!

[1] I don’t want to minimize what can be a lifelong battle and give the impression that simply reading these verses will solve depression. I offer this list to show that God is for joy, that joy is found in Him, and that He wants to fight the darkness when you have no fight left. But if this is your struggle, please do not fight alone. Find a pastor or counselor who can help you find hope in your darkness.

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