“…Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
This verse from Joshua along with Deuteronomy 20:1-4 are well-known battle verses, meant to encourage troops before they head off into conflict. However, what about the daily battles we face, which are not usually against flesh and blood but rather against spiritual enemies and people who are influenced by spiritual forces (demons) from the kingdom of darkness?
Psalm 144:1 contains an even stronger verse relating to preparation for battle: – “Blessed be the Lord [YHVH] my Rock, who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle—“. When we look further down in this passage, though, we see that David is talking about spiritual warfare as much as physical combat. In Verses 7-8 he says: “Rescue me and deliver me out of great waters, from the hand of foreigners, whose mouth speaks lying words, and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.” We see from these verses that David is not getting training in face-to-face physical combat techniques so much as he is learning to trust YHVH his Rock in all situations, knowing that Yehovah will be fighting alongside him and rescuing him from the enemy’s attacks.
Where then do David and other warriors get their courage and strength? Looking back at the Joshua 1 passage once again, we see that Joshua is told to be strong and courageous, but not because of his own prowess or battle-worn experience. He is told that Yehovah will be with him in the battles, and because of that he does not need to fear. In 2 Chronicles 32:7-8 King Hezekiah says: “Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him; for there are more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord [YHVH] our God, to help us and to fight our battles…” Verse 8 clearly states that their army is greater than the army of Assyria, but not because of physical numbers. Rather, their strength and numbers are bolstered by having God Himself with them. In fact, God is not only with them, but He is fighting the battles for them!
If we need YHVH to be with us when we fight the physical and spiritual battles of life, then how do we ensure that YHVH is with us? The answer is in a single word, trust. It sounds simple, but it requires us to trust YHVH with our life, which is not simple. We learn this deep level of trust day-by-day by experiencing YHVH’s Hand of victory throughout the trials and conflicts of our lives. One of the clearest testimonies to trusting YHVH is in 2 Chronicles 14:11 when Asa cried out to YHVH and said, “LORD [YHVH], it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us, O LORD our God, for we rest on You, and in Your name we go against this multitude. O LORD, You are our God; do not let people prevail against You!”
Another example of this type of unquestioning trust is in Exodus 33:15-16 when Moses says to YHVH: “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us?” In this statement to YHVH, Moses is saying that he knows they will not be successful if YHVH does not go with them, and the Israelites will not have the testimony that they cannot succeed without YHVH.
So, where did these leaders find the strength to go out before their enemies, knowing their armies were physically inferior and that they did not have the courage and strength in themselves to be victorious? They found their strength in YHVH. There are many verses in the Torah, Psalms and Prophets that talk about people putting all their trust in YHVH’s strength. In fact they say that YHVH is their strength (Ex 15:2, Ps 18:2; 19:4; 118:14, Isa 12:2, etc.). I believe David sums this up in Psalm 27:1: “…The LORD [YHVH] is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Ps 27:1) Even Sh’aul came to this conclusion in all his struggles when YHVH said to him: “…‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in [your] weakness’.” (2 Cor 12:9)
I aspire to have this kind of trust, where I have no anxiety or fear when I am going through the severe trials of life; only believing that YHVH will get me through those trials and that He will give me the victory over whatever enemy I am facing, whether physical, emotional or spiritual. My desire is that you will also learn to have this type of unwavering trust in YHVH, the Creator of the universe, and in His Son, Yeshua our Redeemer.