The Christian can know that God will always lead him in triumphal procession. The question is not, “Will God will fight for his people?” Rather, the question remains, “Will the people follow God?” Down through the ages, God has fought valiantly for His people, for those who are called by His name. Those who abide in Christ need not fear a fall; they will, in fact, be victorious over their foes.
They may get some scars along the way to show they have been in combat, but nevertheless, they will emerge victorious. God is not in the business of being defeated, and those who side with the Lord can know that they are siding with the One Who is the Lord of all. He is the ruler of all, the King of kings, and the Lord of hosts. He can command a legion of angels at any given time to fight for Him and for His people.
Sometimes there can be an overemphasis on the Christian fighting his own battles. People mean well when they tell the Christian, “Get out and fight,” or even, “Take up the sword of the spirit and engage in battle.” While there is a way in which the Christian is to fight against the enemy, there is also a great emphasis in Scripture upon taking refuge in the Lord.
This can be seen in a number of passages: in direct teaching, poetry, prophecy, and narrative accounts. One of the greatest displays of this need to take refuge in the Lord can be found in the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These three boys were faithful to the Lord. They honored the Lord in all their conduct.
Eventually this got them into a lot of trouble. The Babylonian king had a furnace heated up to extreme temperatures. The king thought that he would have them thrown into the fire and burned alive. What these boys said next is amazing. Scripture says, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up” (Dan. 3:16-18). These three boys were facing a life-and-death situation.
What did they do? They took refuge in the God of their salvation. Jesus is Savior. This is Who He is. Jesus saves from all circumstances, situations, people, the sin that dwells within… everything. As these three boys looked upward rather than at the furnace, they found their hope. As they were thrown inside the fire, the men who sought to kill the three boys were the ones who met their demise.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were seen walking in the midst of the fire. They were unbound and unburned. This is reminiscent of the promise that is found in Isaiah chapter 43, verse 2, where God speaks through Isaiah to comfort His people. Scripture says, “…when thou walkest through the fire, thou shall not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee” (Is. 43:2). They trusted in the Lord. The words “trust” and “refuge” are often used synonymously in different translations. Ultimately, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego found their place of hiding in the One Who would fight their battles for them.
The counselors told the king that the boys had been thrown into the fire. But shortly after this, the king looked inside and saw that there was another man with them. However, the fourth man had an appearance unlike the others. It is somewhat interesting to note that the book of Daniel starts out by telling of the way that these three boys, along with Daniel, did not eat the king’s choice food. But the result of that was that “their countenances appeared fairer” (Dan. 1:15) than those who ate the choice food. In other words, these boys looked healthy, and their appearance was highly regarded.
But what happened when the three boys were placed up against the fourth man instead of those who chose to eat the choice food? The Bible says, “the form of the fourth is like the Son of God” (Dan. 3:25). You see, that fourth man was not of this world. The fourth man was the Son of God. Jesus came to be with those boys in the midst of the fire. They did not get burned because Jesus was their refuge.
God will fight for His people. There will be times when the people of God may need to fight. There will also be times when the child of God is called to get behind the Father. Joshua 5:1 gives the Christian another glimpse at a situation in which God virtually did all the work.
God fights for His people
In Joshua 5:1, the people have not quite gotten to fight the battle of Jericho yet. The Israelites have just crossed over the Red Sea, Joshua is in command, but God is already at work defeating the enemies before the battle begins.
The Bible tells us in Joshua 5:1 that when God dried up the Red Sea, the people of the land heard of the event. Specifically, the kings of the Amorites and the kings of the Canaanites are mentioned as ones who heard of the great miracle that God had performed.
They did not hear by random chance. Rather, they heard because it was God’s plan for them to hear. The Bible says, “…their heart melted , neither was their spirit in them any more, because of the children of Israel” (Jos. 5:1). These “great” kings who ruled over the people of the land were struck with fear when they heard of the amazing power of God.
They were very familiar with the Red Sea and what it would have looked like at flood stage. God did not choose a time for the people of Israel to cross over the sea when it would have already been rather dried up. God chose the peak season. The river was not a gentle flowing stream; it was a deathly encounter for anyone who would have dared to enter. It was a massive, roaring river that would have swept a man’s feet out from under him, or simply pushed his entire body over all together. It would have been ridiculous to cross such a deadly current.
Nevertheless, the people took refuge in God. They knew they were going to war, but they also knew their God. The interesting point in all of this is that God was fighting their battles and defeating their enemies long before the people of Israel engaged in combat.
The hearts of their enemies melted within them. They literally trembled in fear. They were robbed of their courage, and their false gods were no source of consolation. The battle was won long before the people of God arrived to fight. So, too, will the battle be won for those who take refuge in the Lord.
It has been said already that when someone takes refuge in the Lord, what he is ultimately doing is trusting in God. A Christian’s trust can be misguided, and in subtle ways, he can find himself off track. Man can make the things of this world his ultimate trust and refuge. When he does this, he is not taking refuge in God. Money, a person, fame, prosperity, health, and more can become idols of the heart and become one’s trust (refuge).
Are you taking refuge in the Lord this day? Lay aside your false forms of refuge and turn to the Lord. He will fight for you.
Father, I pray that You would be my refuge this day. Help me to turn from false forms of refuge and turn to You, the living God. You alone can save. You alone have the power and the might and the glory. Help me to trust in You more this day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.