‘Do not fear them, for the LORD your God is the one fighting for you.’
When Israel started to take the Promised Land, they needed a little encouragement. They had experienced some awesome victories, including being victorious in battle against a king who was one of the giants (nephilim) mentioned back in Genesis. When Moses gives context to how big this guy was, he says that the guy’s bed was nine cubits long. The footnote in my Bible tells me that a cubit is roughly the length of a man’s forearm, so between two and three feet long. This means that the dude’s bed was between eighteen and twenty-seven feet long. The implication is that he needed that much room to sleep in. Dude was HUGE. And he had sons and others like him in the battle against Israel and those giants lost. So their victories were pretty awesome.
God says to Moses and Israel by proxy, to not be afraid of the other kings and soldiers they’re going to fight against. Just like the giant, God would be the one doing the fighting. All platitudes and clichés about the size of dogs in fights aside, God being against someone or something means that one or thing is going down.
A similar idea is expressed in the NT when John writes “[G]reater is He Who is in you than he who is in the world.” appear. And when Paul writes to the Corinthians that God will provide a way of standing up under the trials and temptations of life. Over and over, The Bible enjoins the believer to remember that God is the One fighting for us. We are not able to be victorious unless God does the fighting. Jesus told His disciples (a group that includes all believers, I think) that they (we) could do nothing (not achieve victory) apart from Him. God has to be at the center of the battle or the whole thing is a wash. Maybe we’re victorious. Maybe we resist the temptation, but the temptation to pride at our overcoming the other temptation has a tendency to blindside us. Sin is a cunning foe. We are allowed a minor victory (“I used self-control and did not eat all the cake! Yay me!”) and lose a major battle (“I’m so proud of how humble I was.”). God has no such handicap at work. When God wins, He wins in a total war scenario. There is no enemy left. No strongholds. Only the ashes of the enemy’s once-empire. That level of victory will be achieved in the life of the believer, just not this side of Heaven and the Second Coming (HSC). This side of HSC, we fight. And, while we fight, we are told not to fear the enemies: Do not fear trial. Do not fear temptation. Do not fear death. Do not fear what other men can do to us. They, like the giant king, look imposing. But, like the giant king, they fall before God.
Application. I need to stop being afraid. Yesterday, I was reminded that I need to trust God. Fear prevents full trust. Fear keeps me from throwing out my arms, smiling, and falling peacefully into the waiting arms of my God. If I trust, then I will not fear. To borrow from a science-fiction writer (and modify it slightly): Fear is the trust killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.