“It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory;
it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them.”
Israel’s taking of the land was no small feat. Dispossessing an encamped enemy from their own land is a remarkably difficult challenge. Like taking an enemies’ high ground as you charge up steep slopes. Unwise.
This Psalm is a reminder that though Israel was the physical presence that entered the land, the victories won throughout their campaign were none other than the Lord himself. It was his power and might that secured the victory. And, he fought for his people because of his love for them.
Nothing has changed, y’all.
Our own personal entrenched enemies will not be defeated by my sword, but by the Lord’s loving power at work through our effort. Those sins that so easily entangle cannot be removed by simply trying harder. The Lord’s help right hand alone will secure the victory. And, the Lord will win your battle. He just may do it in a way you don’t expect (or prefer).
When my mom was diagnosed with cancer the third time, I remember people talking often about the Lord wanting to heal her, make her whole. Well, we prayed for such. Healing never came. . . Or did it?
Does Karla have cancer now? No. I’m rather confident she has no appointment for radiation within the next eternity or so. Is Karla alive? Well, is Christ alive? Yes to both.
Even our greatest enemy, death, could be defeated only by God in Christ. Israel thought the land was a challenge! Death, then, was such an enemy that its’ reality was just accepted.
Well, until Christ, that is.
Our personal enemies cannot be defeated by our strength of sword. Neither can the institutional enemies and injustices. We often look out on the world and wonder how we can remedy this problem or solve that issue. Unless the Lord’s right arm gets involved through the means of his people working (Yes, we must WORK for shalom), nothing we long to see will happen. There are battles worth fighting, not because we are capable, but because with Christ no enemy is too great. Even Death, the “long goodnight”, gave way to the brightness of morning!
Take heart. Our enemies are limited by the God who not only created all things, but who loves us infinitely. I do things for my kids because I love them like crazy. If I feel this way, and I’m evil, imagine how much more God’s love will cause him to do good since in him is complete, infinite goodness!
The battle is his. He loves you.
*Image from public domain