«The Lord your God, who goes before you, He will fight for you» (Deuteronomy 1:30).
THE WISE SOLOMON WROTE: «Don’t envy sinners, but always continue to fear the Lord» (Proverbs 23:17, NLT). If only Israel had kept this proverb in mind!
The elders of Israel once came to Samuel, the noted prophet and judge, and asked him to appoint the first king of Israel. Samuel was very displeased upon hearing such a request. However, after briefly consulting with God, he began the process of choosing the first monarch of Israel. Now, the people’s arguments to support their wishes were very meaningful: «We will have a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our baffles» (1 Samuel 8:19, 20). The Israelites were burning with envy because they had noticed the other nations went to war under the command of a human king, while they did not have that «privilege.»
When I visited the British Museum, I was dazzled by the Assyrian reliefs showing King Ashurbanipal directly commanding his armies as he launches a fierce attack against his adversaries. That was the experience the Israelites longed to have: to see their king leading them in the conquest!
It’s interesting how, when we’re focused with what others have, we can lose sight of what we have. Although in those days Israel didn’t have a king who went out before them, they had the ark of the covenant, the symbol of God’s presence, which went before them in battle. According to Numbers 10, when the ark of the covenant was placed «before them,» Moses would say, «Rise up, O Lord! Let Your enemies be scattered, and let those who hate You flee before You» (verse 35). There was no human king, but the Lord of hosts was with them.
Truth be told, we don’t need someone to come fight our battles; what we need is to believe in our King’s promises: «The Lord your God, who goes before you, He will fight for you» (Deuteronomy 1:30), or «The Lord Himself will fight for you. Just stay calm» (Exodus 14:14, NLT), and many more. When the Lord fights our battles, victory is assured.
Today we will go out, head to work or school, and fight many battles; but we will face this day knowing we are not alone, that we can remain calm, because God goes before us.