03/17/22 God is with Us

READING: Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9 

I tell my students not to overuse subjective adverbs, but I give myself permission to do so today: it really, really, really matters that God is with us . . . that He lives within us . . . that His Spirit empowers us . . . that His presence gives us peace.  For the Hebrews in today’s reading, God’s presence particularly mattered in times of war. Listen to today’s repetition of this promise for God’s people:

  • “The Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, is with you!” (Deut 20:2)
  • “For the Lord your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and he will give you victory!” (Deut 20:4)

Because God was with the warriors, they had no reason to fear even when they faced enemies with “horses and chariots and an army” greater than theirs (Deut 20:1). No army, regardless of its size or armaments, could match the power of the God who Himself was with the Israelites. 

That is not to say, though, that the Hebrews didn’t wrestle with fear. Indeed, the repetition of these echoing calls shows us they needed several reminders in preparation for battle: “. . . do not be afraid. . . . Do not be afraid as you go out to fight your enemies today! Do not lose heart or panic or tremble before them” (Deut 20:2-3). Faith, it seems, is not necessarily eliminating fear; it is taking God at His word even when fear is present. He is, after all, with us.

PERSONAL REFLECTION: What most frightens you today?                         

TODAY’S PRAYER: “God, help me to trust You even when I’m afraid.”           

TOMORROW’S READING: Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19  

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