Day 25: God goes before you
29 Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. 30 The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, 31 and in the wilderness. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.”
As a family we love adventures! Anything from swimming in lakes and rivers to climbing mountains is our kind of fun. My husband Dan, has lived in England much longer than I have, meaning he has already explored many of the places we like to go. If he hasn’t already been there, he’ll have studied the map, or read a guidebook. That means he often knows where the paths are, how to navigate tricky terrain, and even where the best pub lunch is after the adventure is over! In a sense, he has gone ahead of us, and we all benefit from this.
The army has a word for this called reconnaissance. In other words, before an operation takes place, they will survey the enemy territory to ensure maximum chance at success. They don’t just send troops in blind, instead they assess the risks and act accordingly.
It’s amazing that as Christians we have a God who goes before us and knows what lies ahead of us.
The wider context of this particular passage in Deuteronomy is actually Moses reminding the Israelites why they failed to enter the promised land the first time round. In fact a big theme of Deuteronomy is to remind the people of their journey so far to encourage them to live for God going forwards.
Chapter 1 recounts back to an earlier time where they sent 12 spies out to check out the promised land as their own reconnaissance mission. Of the 12 that came back, 10 gave a bad report and only two believed it was possible.
Rather than trust in the God who went before them, who would fight for them, they trusted in the report of the 10 spies, and failed to enter the promised land.
Whilst planning is important, they trusted in it over and above presence.
Whilst companions on the journey are key, they trusted in men more than God.
They saw that the odds appeared against them, and chose retreat rather than advance.
Instead of trusting in the God who would fight for them, they allowed fear to overtake them.
They saw the worst case scenario, when God was encouraging them to have faith for the best.
In our daily lives, let us be encouraged to take bold steps of faith. Often when we step out we don’t know all the details and there are often unanswered questions. Having said this, we can be sure of the promise that God goes before us and will be there with us as we step out for him.
God I pray today for an increase in our faith. Help us to trust in you more, and to take bold steps of faith, even when we don’t know all the details. God we give our lives into your hands. Please use us for your glory. Amen.
Campus Pastor, Bishop Auckland