(Joshua 21: 44-45) 44 The Lord gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their ancestors. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the Lord gave all their enemies into their hands. 45 Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.
Battles are trying, and they make us weary. Over the course of our lives and our walks of faith, we face many of them, some of which seem to never end. In the midst of it, we can begin to feel as if we just cannot continue on as is.
Personally, I can’t identify with the fellows in the picture above in a literal sense, as I have never physically fought in a war. I’ve never put on a military uniform, left my friends and loved ones, and traveled somewhere foreign to engage in life-threatening combat. I don’t know that specific kind of fear and loneliness, and though I will most likely never have to experience it, I do know that as a person of faith in Christ, there is a much different type of warfare I must willfully face.
In Ephesians 6:12, Paul tells us, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
It’s inevitable that we will encounter struggles, but we are not left powerless. Paul goes on to say, “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13).
We are warriors who are equipped for battle. All we have to do is brandish our faith, stand firm, and hold onto the promises of God, and at the end of every trial that we meet, just like the people of Israel, and much like the soldiers above, we will receive rest. We are never done fighting, but we are always victorious, whether we see it or not, because that is the promise! God is just as faithful to us today as he was and has been to Israel. If you believe the word of the Lord, then your faith has no room for fear, doubt, discouragement or defeat.
I am reminded of something that happened with the tribe of Judah when Jehoshaphat was their king. Jehoshaphat was informed that three different tribes were on their way to wage war against Judah and were already close at hand. These three tribes formed a huge army and Jehoshaphat became very alarmed. Using great wisdom and exercising faith in what seemed like a hopeless situation, this king turned to God in prayer and called for a fast across the entire tribe of Judah. In response to the prayers of his people, the Lord spoke to them and said, “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s… You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you…” (2 Chronicles 20: 15,17)
The people of Judah, instead of cowering in fear, began to sing praises to the Lord, and that is how they marched toward the looming battle ahead. When they finally came to a place where they would be able to see the approaching armies, they saw only the lifeless bodies of their enemies…not one soldier spared. Ain’t that just like our God? You see, the Lord has already gone before us. He makes the rough places smooth, and he clears a path for us. Sometimes that path leads us to battle, and we have to jump in and fight, but when we grow weary and are wounded there is rest. He leads us beside the still waters, where we can drink deeply and regain our strength in him. His promises are true, and he cannot fail us.
(Jeremiah 31:2) “This is what the Lord says: ‘The people who survive the sword will find favor in the wilderness; I will come to give rest to Israel.’ ”
Prayer: Heavenly Father, in my weakness I know that you are stronger. In every situation, I trust you. When darkness hangs heavy over my head, I will turn to you and sing your praises because I know that whatever I face, you’ve seen it already and you have prepared my path. I know that I can be strong because in you I will always find rest on the other side of the battlefield. Amen.