It’s easy to talk about trusting God when things in our lives are going well. It’s harder to recognize His presence when it feels like life is falling apart all around us. In times like that, we need reminders that God will not abandon us in our fights and that He will fight for us.
Several weeks ago, we talked about claiming God’s promises. There’s quite a few made in the pages of our Bibles, and that post only covered His promise to give the holy spirit, to be friends with those who love Him, and to hear when we call on Him. And even after adding another post about the promises in Psalm 91 we just barely scratched the surface of this topic.
One of the promises in Psalm 91 is about God’s protection in the midst of trials. Sometimes He doesn’t take us out of a dangerous or uncomfortable situation, but rather brings us through it. God doesn’t intend to coddle us. He wants us to be thriving and growing and overcoming. He knows we need a shelter and provides that, but He also wants to give us courage to keep going as well.
He Won’t Let You Down
When Moses addressed the Israelites before appointing Joshua as his successor, he reminded them that their human leader isn’t really the one who takes care of them. The Lord God is the one who fights for them and who they must obey. He then shares a promise from God:
Be strong and courageous. Don’t be afraid or scared of them; for Yahweh your God himself is who goes with you. He will not fail you nor forsake you. (Deut. 31:6, WEB)
Later, the Lord personally reiterates this promise to Joshua (Josh. 1:5). And we know the promise extends beyond Joshua and the Israelites because the writer of Hebrews tells us we can be emboldened by the Lord’s promise, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Heb. 13:5, KJV).
Though “leave” and “fail” seem quite different in English, the Greek word used in Hebrews is actually a perfect translation for the Hebrew word used in Deuteronomy. Both words mean “to let sink,” as if you’d been holding something up and then let it go (H7503, raphah and G447, aniemi). In modern terminology, we would say that God promises not to let you down.
Strengthening You To Fight
There are times when God doesn’t fix everything for us. When we’re given the opportunity to be active in our own lives and make things happen. Or to experience the stresses of life and learn from our trials. In those situations, God says,
Don’t you be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you. Yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness. (Is. 41:10, WEB)
These promises are given to “the offspring of Abraham my friend” (Is. 41:8, WEB). Since Paul tells us “those who are of faith are the children of Abraham,” we can claim those promises, too (Gal. 3:7, WEB). We can trust that God will uphold us, strengthen us, and stay there with us.
For I, Yahweh your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I will help you.’ (Is. 41:13, WEB)
God’s not in the business of abandoning people He’s in a relationship with. On the contrary, He’s committed to empowering and equipping us to face our daily Christian battles (see 2 Cor. 12:9 and Eph. 6:10-18).
Fighting For You
God is always right there with us as we wrestle “not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world’s rulers of the darkness of this age, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:11, WEB). He makes it so we’re able to stand in a battle that would otherwise annihilate us. But He also knows there are times when it’s not good for us to fight.
The Israelites were in just such a place when they were leaving Egypt and found themselves trapped between the Red Sea and Pharaoh’s army. They needed someone else to fight for them — to see God’s power rather than trying to do things themselves.
Moses said to the people, “Don’t be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of Yahweh, which he will work for you today: for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you shall never see them again. Yahweh will fight for you, and you shall be still.” (Ex. 14:13-14, WEB)
God can tell when we need Him to step in directly. And He’s perfectly capable of doing just that. The only role we have to play in such a case is to not be afraid and not run away. And really, that’s what we’re meant to do all the time. Knowing God will not abandon us or let us down should give us courage to not be ruled by our fears. Jesus gives us His peace and says, “Don’t let your heart be troubled neither let it be fearful” (John 14:27, WEB). Whether we’re pushing forward or standing still, we’re doing so with His supporting presence. Stay close to God and He’ll be with you through whatever comes.