February 2, 2024 Devotional

Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes.” —Deuteronomy 1:29-30

I played football for one year, early in high school. Let’s just say it wasn’t the best season of my life. For those who are successful football players, my hat goes off to you and the amount of practice, practice, and more practice it takes to know what you’re doing. In that entire season, I played in one game and only after the score was so lopsided that it didn’t matter what we did to lose or win (I can’t even remember which it was). What I DO remember is that when I lined up for the first play, the player who was lined up opposite me was bigger, stronger, and had a look in his eye I didn’t comprehend until I was flat on my back and he was running over me. After that, when I lined up on the line for the next play, let’s just say I was wiser, but also a little terrified about what was to come. After that season, the coach told me that I should choose a less aggressive sport. That still makes me laugh.

When Moses was looking at the Promised Land from afar, knowing that he would not enter that land because of the sin and disobedience he had committed against God, his message was for those who did have to do the difficult things God asked in order to receive the promise – a land of their own to call home. Yet, the Israelites were afraid of the people who already lived in that land. Reports had come back from the scouts that those inhabitants were giants. They were afraid they would be defeated if they tried to fight them and take the land. Yet, they weren’t the ones fighting. God was fighting for them. Their job was to be obedient to the will of God.

We all face many obstacles, enemies (physical and spiritual), and seemingly impossible situations. We don’t have enough courage, time, money, influence, etc. to make the difference that we think we need to make. That makes us feel helpless and hopeless, just like the Israelites who were seeking to enter the promise God gave them. The good news is that we don’t fight on our own, or even fight at all. God goes before us to make a way where there seems to be no way, if the pathway before us is God’s will and desire for our lives. Sometimes, we fight, and even pray for God to fight for us, to accomplish things that are not His will. In those times, through prayer and seeking God’s will, the Holy Spirit will gently refresh the vision before us so that we can see the path that God desires, and not our own. When we do that, we can confidently hear the words from Moses to each of us, for such a time as this, and in the face of our enemies and foes: “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes.”

I gave up football and am thankful I took up tennis. God’s work in me was to change the course and not fight the enemies in front of me. Other times, I know God’s will is to fight for me to remain in His will, obedient to the One who saved me. I still have many challenges and enemies that seek to destroy and derail all that God is doing, but I know that if He’s calling and I obey, the battle is already won.