The Word & Promise of the Lord: (This Is How We Fight Our Battles)

Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy which was written and recorded by Moses the servant of the Lord. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the final three chapters of the book—chapters thirty-one through thirty-four. When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy drawing to a close. This particular book which detailed and described all the words which Moses spoke unto this new generation which would emerge in the wilderness and would prepare to enter into the land of Canaan is not only preparing to draw to a close, but there is also about to be a transition in leadership within the congregation and assembly of the children of Israel. For forty years while the children of Israel wandered and journeyed through the wilderness Moses the servant of the LORD taught them the commands and statutes of the living God which the LORD spoke directly unto him. If you read and study the narrative of the congregation of the children of Israel you will encounter and come face to face with the reality that it was not Moses who led the congregation of the children of Israel through the wilderness, but it was the LORD who Himself led them with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. During those forty years the congregation of the children of Israel wandered and journeyed through the wilderness the LORD was faithful to lead the children of Israel through the vast wilderness until He would finally bring them into the plains of Moab where they would be as Moses the servant of the LORD was preparing to die, and as Moses reminded the congregation of the children of Israel of the word which the LORD their God had spoken unto their fathers in the wilderness in Sinai. What’s interesting is when you turn and direct your attention back to the twenty-ninth chapter of this Old Testament book you will find and discover Moses speaking unto the children of Israel—this generation which had emerged in the wilderness and which were preparing to enter into the land of Canaan—and speaking unto them how they were indeed and were in fact a people of covenant. The final portion of the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy is quite astounding and remarkable when you take the time to think about and consider it, for it is in these final chapters where the language of choice and decision truly comes to light and truly comes into play. Within the final chapters of this book you will find Moses speaking unto the congregation of the children of Israel concerning the blessings that would come upon them if they gave themselves unto obedience and faithfulness to the command(s) of the Lord their God, as well as the curses which would come unto them if they rebelled against the command(s) of the LORD their God. What’s also remarkable and astounding when you consider the words which are found in these passages of Scripture is that they are essentially a powerful picture of covenant and choice.

COVENANT AND CHOICE! TRANSITION AND DECISION! The final chapters of the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy contain incredibly powerful language—not only concerning the covenant which the LORD their God was entering into with this new generation, but also with the choice that was directly and intrinsically linked to that covenant. What’s more, is that the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy itself is a book about transition as the congregation of the children of Israel were not only preparing to transition from the wilderness and from the plains of Moab into the land which the LORD their God had sworn unto their fathers, but also the transition that would take place as the leadership of the nation and people of the children of Israel was about to change from Moses the servant of the LORD to Joshua the son of Nun. The more I read and the more I consider the words which are found in this Old Testament book, the more I am brought face to face with the absolutely incredible and astounding reality that it is a book about covenant and choice, as well as book about transition and decision. If you turn and direct your attention back to the twenty-ninth chapter of this Old Testament book you will find Moses speaking unto this generation of the congregation of the children of Israel and speaking unto them of the covenant which the Lord the God of their fathers entered into with them in the wilderness of Sinai at Horeb the mountain of God. When you begin reading with and from the opening verse of the twenty-ninth chapter of this Old Testament book you will quickly discover and come face to face with the strong and powerful reality that as this new generation was preparing to enter into the land of Canaan into which they were coming they would themselves be a people of covenant. That which we find and that which we read in the plains of Moab is in all reality the LORD the God of the Hebrews entering into covenant with this new generation which would enter into the land of Canaan instead and in place of their fathers. How absolutely wonderful and incredible it is to think about and consider the fact that as you read the words which are found in these chapters you will find language of covenant as Moses would not only remind the congregation of the children of Israel of the covenant which the Lord their God entered into with their fathers at Horeb in the wilderness, but also the covenant the LORD was entering into with them here in the plains of Moab. I find it absolutely amazing and astonishing to think about the fact that not only was the LORD entering into with that first generation which departed from the land of Egypt, but now the LORD was entering into covenant with this new generation—this generation which was preparing to depart from the wilderness and move beyond the eastern edge of the Jordan River into the land which flowed with milk and honey.

As I sit here this morning I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that when we think about and consider this reality and concept of covenant—particularly and especially as it pertains to the congregation of the children of Israel—we must recognize and understand the language of that covenant, and the LORD calling His people to a lifestyle of walking in obedience and holiness before Him. It’s worth noting that what you find at Horeb in the wilderness of Sinai as the LORD revealed His nature and His character unto the children of Israel would take place here in the plains of Moab as Moses the servant of the LORD would remind the congregation of the children of Israel of the words which the LORD their God had spoken unto their fathers there in the midst of the wilderness. When we think about the covenant the LORD entered into with the congregation of the children of Israel we encounter and come face to face with the awesome and incredible reality that as with any covenant found in Scripture there is specific language concerning the covenant. The LORD would indeed enter into covenant with the congregation of the children of Israel, and that covenant would demand and require them to walk in obedience and faithfulness to Him. What’s more, is that this covenant which the LORD would enter into with the congregation of the children of Israel would require them to make the decision and choice concerning what type of people they would be in the land whither the LORD was bringing them. I continue to be absolutely astonished and amazed that even before the LORD brought the congregation of the children of Israel into the land which He swore unto their fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, He would bring them into the place of covenant and choice—a place where they would determine what type of people they would be before Him in the land into which He was bringing them. There is much talk about entering and stepping into that which the LORD has prepared for and promised unto us, and yet if there is one thing we must recognize and understand concerning stepping into that which the LORD has commanded us, it’s that we must determine what type of people we are going to be as we prepare to step into that which the LORD our God has for us. The LORD could have very easily brought the congregation of the children of Israel into the land without and apart from entering into covenant with them, and without calling them to make a decision on what type of people they would be, however, as we will read the words contained in this book, the LORD the God of the Hebrews desired the people to choose what type of people they would be—not only in His presence, but also in the land into which He was bringing them.

If you read the opening verses of the twenty-ninth chapter you will find Moses writing concerning the words of the covenant, which the LORD commanded him to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, beside the covenant which he made with them in Horeb. This is actually quite remarkable when you take the time to think about and consider it, for the LORD the God of the Hebrews had entered into covenant with their fathers in the midst of the wilderness at the mountain of God, but the LORD was now entering into covenant with this generation of sons and daughters which would enter into the land which the LORD was bringing them into. The words which you find within the entire book of Deuteronomy are essentially words of covenant which the living God was indeed entering into with His people in order that they might be His people—a people of holiness, a people of obedience, a people of righteousness, and a people of faithfulness before and unto Him. IF there is one thing we must recognize and must understand as we consider the words found in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy, it’s that the LORD through His servant Moses was bringing the congregation of the children of Israel unto the place where they would choose what type of people they would be, and even which god(s) or God they would serve. We cannot, we dare not, and we must not read the words found within this Old Testament book and not encounter and come face to face with the fact that Moses was bringing the congregation of the children of Israel into the place where they would make a decision much like that which Adam needed to make in the midst of the garden of Eden. What we must recognize and understand is that this call to decision and this call to choice was not something that was new and exclusive to the generation of the children of Israel here in the plains of Moab. Their fathers would be confronted with the same need to decide who and what they of people they would be in the midst of the wilderness, for at the mountain of God in the wilderness the LORD would not only enter into covenant with their fathers and with that first generation, but the LORD would also give them His commands, His statutes, His decrees and His law that they might be a people who would be a peculiar treasure unto Him which were holy in His sight. With that being said, it’s necessary to understand that this theme of choice did not begin to manifest itself within this generation here in the plains of Moab, but it was as old as the first man whom the LORD formed from the dust of the earth and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life that he might become a living soul. What’s more, is that this choice and decision the LORD God had brought this generation into there in the plains of Moab was also presented unto their fathers in the Old Testament book of Leviticus. Consider if you will the words which are found in the twenty-sixth chapter of the Old Testament book of Leviticus beginning to read with and from the first verse of the chapter:

“Ye shall make no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God. Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD. If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; then I will give you rain in due seasons, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely. And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land. And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before the sword. And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you. And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new. And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you: and will be your God, and ye shall be my people. I am the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bond men; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright…” (Leviticus 26:1-13).

“But if ye will not hearten unto me, and will not do all these commandments; and if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant: I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you. And if ye will not yet for all this hearten unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for yours sins. And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass: and your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits. And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearten unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins. I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; and your high ways shall be desolate. And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me; then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins. And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall avenge the quarrel of my covenant: and when ye are gathered together within your cities, I will send the pestilence among you; and ye shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy. And when I have broken the staff of your bread, then women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver you your bread by weight: and ye shall eat, and not be satisfied. And if ye will not for all this hearten unto me, but walk contrary unto me; then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat. And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcasses upon the carcasses of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you. And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savor of your sweet odors. And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste. Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies’ land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths. As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it. And upon them that are left alive of you I will send faintness into their hearts in the land of their enemies; and the sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them; and they shall flee, as fleeing from a sword; and they shall fall when none pursueth. And they shall fall one upon another, as it were before a sword, when none pursueth: and ye shall have no power to stand before your enemies. And ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up. And they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies’ lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them. If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; and that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land. The land also shall be left of them, and shall enjoy her sabbaths, while she lieth desolate without them: and they shall accept the punishment of their iniquity: because even because they despised my judgments, and because their soul abhorred my statutes. And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the LORD their God. But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God: I am the LORD. These are the statures and judgments and laws, which the LORD make between Him and the children of Israel in mount Sinai by the hand of Moses” (Leviticus 26:14-46).

I realize that was a lot of language that was presented unto you from within the Old Testament book of Leviticus, however, if you truly read and consider the words which are found within this chapter you will find the LORD speaking unto the congregation of the children of Israel concerning the consequences for their obedience and faithfulness before and unto Him, as well as the consequences of their disobedience and unfaithfulness before Him in His sight. What we find within this passage of Scripture is a wonderful and powerful picture of the LORD entering into covenant with the congregation of the children of Israel and calling them to choose between life and death, between good and evil, and between blessing and cursing. This people was indeed and was in fact a people that were called by the living God our of the land of Egypt, and were brought unto mount Sinai in the midst of the wilderness, and it was in that place the congregation of the children of Israel were brought into a place where they would indeed choose what type of people they would be in the sight and presence of the living God. That first generation of the children of Israel which emerged from the slavery, bondage and oppression of the land of Egypt would need to make the decision whether or not they would walk in obedience to the commands and statutes of the living God, or whether they would be a people that would walk in rebellion before Him in His sight. As you come to the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy you will find the LORD bringing their sons and their daughters into the same place which He had brought their fathers—namely, a place where they would choose and decide what type of people they would be before Him in the midst of the earth, and within the land into which He would bring them. In the opening verse of the twenty-ninth chapter of the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy we find it written how Moses commanded unto the congregation of the children of Israel concerning the words of the covenant which the LORD would enter into with this generation. The opening verse of the twenty-ninth chapter of this Old Testament book brings us face to face with the fact that not only was the LORD renewing the covenant which He had entered into with their fathers, but the LORD was also entering into and establishing a covenant with the congregation of the children of Israel which stood before Moses there in the plains of Moab. This generation would not stand before a mountain altogether on a smoke because the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob descended upon it with a consuming fire. This generation which would stand before Moses in the plains of Moab would not witness and experience thick clouds or thick darkness, nor would they experience thunders and lightnings in that place as their fathers did in the wilderness of Sinai, and yet the congregation of the children of Israel were called into a place of choice and decision—not only as they were preparing to enter into the land the LORD was bringing them into, but also as there was about to be a transition in leadership as Moses was preparing to die and go the way of his fathers, and Joshua was preparing to lead the people over the Jordan River and into the land of Canaan.

If and as you come to the thirtieth chapter you will encounter Moses speaking directly unto the congregation of the children of Israel there in the plains of Moab and declaring unto them that at the very heart of the words of the covenant which he had spoken unto them was a choice and decision they needed to make between life and death, between good and evil, and between blessing and cursing. In the thirtieth chapter of this Old Testament book you will find Moses revealing unto the congregation of the children of Israel that they were given the chance to choose between these realities within their lives, and what we must recognize and understand is that no one could and no one would make the decision and choice for them. This generation of the children of Israel would need to choose for themselves whether or not they would lay hold of life or death, whether or not they would be a people of blessing or cursing, and whether they would choose good or evil. Beginning with the fifteenth verse of the thirtieth chapter you will find the following words which were written and recorded within this particular chapter in this Old Testament book of Deuteronomy:

“See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; in that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shall be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passes over Jordan to go to possess it. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: that thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey His voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for He is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them” (Deuteronomy 30:15-20).

It is quite clear from reading the words which Moses spoke unto the congregation of the children of Israel in the plains of Moab that he was putting before them life and death, blessing and cursing, and was giving them the opportunity to choose, and giving unto them the opportunity to decide which one they would take and lay hold of. Through the words which Moses delivered and spoke unto the congregation of the children of Israel we find this generation being brought into a place where they would need to choose that which would give them life, or that which would produce death. In all reality, this has always been the underlying theme within our hearts and lives from the time of Adam in the garden, for Adam was given the choice and opportunity to partake of life, or to produce and bring about death within his physical body. The LORD God which formed Adam from the dust of the earth and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life made it very clear before and unto him that of all the trees in the midst of the garden he could freely eat, however, there was one tree in the midst of the garden which he could not eat of nor partake of—the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It’s interesting to note that the LORD could have placed Adam in the garden which He had planted in the midst of the earth, and the LORD could have had all the trees in the midst thereof which were good for food, and even the tree of life which Adam could freely eat and freely partake of. The LORD could have very easily chosen not to plant the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden, and the LORD could have allowed Adam to live, dwell in and enjoy the garden in which He had planted him, and allowed him to eat of the fruit that was found in the garden, and to dwell in the garden without any type of choice and decision that would need to be made. What’s more, is the LORD could have brought the congregation of the children of Israel into the land of Canaan and allowed them to enjoy the land and all it had to offer and afford unto them without having to think about what type of people they would be in the midst of the earth. The LORD could have chosen to bring the congregation of the children of Israel into the land of Canaan absent the commands, the statutes, the decrees and the precepts which He had given and spoken unto Moses and had him to deliver unto the congregation and assembly. The truth of the matter, however, is that while it was true the LORD would indeed and would in fact bring His people into the land which He swore unto their fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, He would call them to be a people of choice who would choose to worship Him above the idols and gods of the land and of the nations of the earth. The LORD would call them to be a people of choice who would choose to walk in obedience before and unto Him, and follow and heed the commands, the statutes and the decrees He had given unto them through His servant Moses—not only in the wilderness of Sinai, but also in the plains of Moab.

It’s worth noting that as you come to the final three chapters of this Old Testament book of Deuteronomy you will find Moses speaking unto the congregation of the children of Israel at the end of his life, and how he was now one hundred and twenty years old, and could no more go out and come in. As you begin reading the words which are contained within these final chapters of this Old Testament book you will find that in addition to the clarion call for obedience and faithfulness before and in the sight of the living God, you will find that there was another call that was spoken and given unto the congregation of the children of Israel. If you continue reading in the opening verses of the thirty-first chapter of this Old Testament book you will find Moses declaring unto the congregation of the children of Israel that it would be Joshua who would go over before them, and that they would possess them. The LORD would go before the congregation of the children of Israel, and into the land which He was bringing them, and the LORD would destroy the nations before them. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that even before the congregation of the children of Israel entered into the land which the LORD was bringing them, there was the strong and powerful truth that the nations which were present in the midst of the land were already defeated and were already overthrown. There is this truly remarkable concept and truth that is found in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy, for on the one hand we have Sihon king of Heshbon, as well as Og king of Bashan who were actually defeated by the congregation of the children of Israel on the eastern edge of the river Jordan, for the LORD would deliver both into their hands. On the other hand there were enemies and adversaries which the congregation of the children of Israel had not yet faced, and which the congregation of the children of Israel had not engaged in battle, and yet before they would even lift up the sword against them, those enemies and adversaries would be defeated. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this absolutely incredible reality, for when we think of enemies and adversaries in our lives, there are enemies and adversaries which have already been defeated as we have faced them in warfare, conflict and battle, while there are other enemies which stand defeated according to the word and promise which the LORD has spoken unto us. How absolutely and truly wonderful it is to think about and consider the fact that there are enemies and adversaries which we haven’t yet faced in our lives, and yet those enemies and adversaries are defeated even before we engage them in battle and conflict. Oh, it’s one thing to rest in the knowledge of enemies which have already been defeated in the past sense because we have conquered and defeated them through the strength and help of the LORD our God, but it’s another thing to rest in the knowledge of enemies and adversaries being defeated which we haven’t yet encountered. Oh, pause for a moment and think about the reality and concept that there are enemies you haven’t yet faced in battle, and which you haven’t yet engaged in conflict against, and yet those enemies are already defeated according to the word and promise of the living God.

As the congregation of the children of Israel prepared to cross over the Jordan River and enter into the land which the LORD was bringing them into, they were not only being brought into it from the place of Sihon king of Heshbon and Og king of Bashan being defeated on the eastern edge of the Jordan River, but they were also entering into it with those enemies which they had yet to face being defeated—defeated not by sword and shield, but defeated by the word and promise of the living God. If we are being honest with ourselves and with the LORD—as we read the words which are found within these chapters we must recognize and acknowledge that the enemies and adversaries which the congregation of the children of Israel faced in the land of Canaan were defeated first and foremost by the word and promise of the LORD before they were ever defeated by the sword and shield. Oh there is something to be said about taking up the sword and shield in and from the place of the promise and word of the living God which has already gone before us into those places He desires to bring us into. It’s worth noting and considering that before any man of war who was numbered in that second census in the plains of Moab raised up sword or shield against the enemies and adversaries in the midst of the land of Canaan, they were and had already been defeated according to the word and promise of the living God. We dare not miss and dare not lose sight of this reality, for it’s one thing to fight from a place of human strength and human confidence, but it’s another thing entirely to fight with and from the place of the word and promise of the living God. I am convinced that what enabled the children of Israel to engage themselves in conflict in the midst of the land of Canaan against enemies that were more and mightier than they were was because those enemies were defeated by and according to the word and promise of the LORD their God long before they were ever defeated by the sword and the shield. What we must recognize and understand is that the swords, the spears, and the shields which the congregation of the children of Israel used in battle against the enemies and adversaries in the midst of the land were but instruments which would carry out and fulfill that which the LORD their God had already spoken and decreed. WHEN THE SWORD IS AN INSTRUMENT THAT FULFILLS THE WORD OF THE LORD! WHEN THE SPEAR IS AN INSTRUMENT THAT FULFILLS THE WORD OF THE LORD! It’s absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand that when the congregation of the children of Israel engaged the enemies and adversaries in the midst of the land of Canaan with the sword, with the spear and with the shield, they were and had already been defeated.

I feel a great need to call and draw your attention to the question of whether or not you know what it’s like to fight from the place of the word and promise of the LORD your God. When and as the congregation of the children of Israel entered into the land of Canaan—the land which the LORD had sworn unto their fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—they entered according to the word and promise which the LORD had spoken in previous generations. What’s more, is that as they prepared to enter into the land which was sworn on oath to Abraham, to Isaac and Jacob, they would enter into it and engage enemies and adversaries which were already defeated and already overthrown by the word and promise of the living God. If there is one thing we must recognize and understand when reading this Old Testament book of Deuteronomy, it’s that not only were there enemies which were defeated already by the sword, spear and shield of man, but there were enemies before them which were already defeated by and according to the word of the LORD, and the weapons of man would only carry out what the LORD had already done according to His word. I find it absolutely and utterly amazing to think about and consider the fact that the nations and peoples which were present in the midst of the land of Canaan were defeated by the word and promise which had gone before the congregation of the children of Israel, and that when the children of Israel would cross over and enter into the land they would simply be enforcing that which the LORD had already spoken and decreed. We must recognize and must understand this, for it has the ability to dramatically alter and change how we view our own lives and how we view the battles, the conflicts and struggles we face. What I so love about what we find and read within this particular Old Testament book is that when the congregation of the children of Israel entered into the land of Canaan and prepared to engage the enemies and adversaries which were present in the midst of the land, they were simply walking in that which had already been accomplished by the word and promise of the Lord. Have you every noticed when reading these Old Testament books the LORD speaking unto Moses and instructing him not to fear the enemies and adversaries which were before them, for He would give them unto them and into their hands? IF there is one underlying principle which we must recognize and understand when reading the words found in this Old Testament book, it’s the tremendous power the word and promise of the LORD has in the battles and conflicts the congregation of the children of Israel faced. There is a song that has recently taken off like wild fire in our Christian circles and churches, and the song is entitled “Surrounded (This Is How I Fight My Battles),” and one of the main and underlying premises of the song is that even though we are and might be surrounded by enemies and adversaries we are surrounded by the LORD our God. Much like Elisha and his servant were surrounded by the horses and chariots of Syria, they were surrounded by the horses and chariots of the host and army of heaven.

In this particular song “Surrounded (This Is How I Fight My Battles),” the words describe how we fight our battles from the place of being surrounded by the LORD our God. While I do believe this to be true, and even to be scriptural, I can’t help but read the words which are found in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy and consider the fact that how we truly fight our battles is from the place of the word and promise of the LORD which goes before us—just as the word and promise of the LORD went before the congregation of the children of Israel into the land of Canaan and defeated the enemies and adversaries which were present in the midst of the land. I firmly believe that while sword and shield were used to engage the enemies and adversaries within the land of Canaan, and ultimately defeat them—it was not so much about sword and spear, nor even shield that allowed those enemies and adversaries of Israel to be defeated by them and handed into their hands. There is not a doubt in my mind that the LORD went before the congregation of the children of Israel into the land which He was bringing them and defeated the enemies and adversaries before a sword or spear was raised up and lifted against them. By the time the congregation of the children of Israel crossed over the Jordan River and entered into the land of Canaan the enemies which were before them were and had already been defeated by and according to the word of the LORD their God. The only thing the congregation of the children of Israel needed to do was exact that which the LORD had already promised and spoken while at the same time walking in obedience and faithfulness before Him. The congregation of the children of Israel would indeed and would in fact enter into the land of Canaan with more than six hundred thousand men of war armed and equipped with sword, shield and spear, and yet the weapons of their warfare were made mighty through God for the pulling down of strongholds and engaging the enemy through the word and promise of the LORD their God. We may very well sing “This is how I fight my battles,” however, I am convinced that the way we truly fight our battles is from the place of the word and promise of the LORD our God, as He has already gone before us and won the victory. Consider if you will the words which are found in the opening verses of the thirty-first chapter of this Old Testament book of Deuteronomy beginning with the third verse of the chapter:

“The LORD thy God, He will go over before thee, and he will destroy these nations from before thee, and thou shalt possess them: and Joshua, he shall go over before thee, as the LORD hath said, And the LORD shall do unto them as He did to Sihon and to Og, kings of the Amorites, and unto the land of them, whom He destroyed. And the LORD shall give them up before your face, that ye may do unto them according unto all the commandments which I have commanded you. Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: For the LORD thy God, He it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou must go with this people unto the land which the LORD hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it. And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; He will be with thee, He will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:3-8).

As I bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to conclude with the declaration that the single greatest way we engage our enemies and adversaries in conflict and battle is from the place of the word and promise of the LORD which has already gone before us, and which has already declared and decreed the victory. When the congregation of the children of Israel entered into the land of Canaan—not only did they engage in warfare from the place of victory over Sihon and Og kings of the Amorites, but they would also engage in warfare from the place of victory according to the word and promise of the LORD their God. The congregation of the children of Israel would take up the sword and shield—not according to their own strength, nor according to their own might, nor even according to their own ability, but according to and from the place of the word of the LORD. The congregation of the children of Israel would enter into the land of Canaan after crossing the Jordan River and would fight from the place of victory which had already been decreed by the LORD their God. It is absolutely necessary that we understand that even before the sole of one foot of the congregation of the children of Israel entered into the land of Canaan, the LORD Himself would go before them, would walk within and throughout the land, and would defeat and overthrow the nations and peoples which were present in the midst of the land. The LORD Himself would go before them and would defeat and overthrow the nations and peoples within the land according to His word and His promise. By the time the congregation of the children of Israel entered into the land the enemies and adversaries which were present in the midst of the land had already been defeated and conquered by and according to the word of the LORD. OH that we would recognize that the single greatest way we fight our battles is from the place of that which had already been spoken and promised by the living God. What’s more, is that in our generation we fight from the place of an even greater victory which was won two thousand years ago on the cross of Calvary—and not only on the cross at Calvary, but also at the tomb and grave where Jesus’ lifeless body lied as He rose from the dead and emerged from the grave with the keys of death, hell and the grave. Oh that we would learn how to fight and engage the enemies and adversaries before us from the place of that which the LORD our God has already done according to the word(s) He has spoken and the promises He has made. Oh that we would take up the full armor of God and fight—not from the place of our own strength and ability and might, but rather from the place of fulfilling and carrying out that which has already been spoken by the LORD our God and decreed according to His word.

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