The Israelites had not yet fully realized that they were free from Egyptian slavery, when they found the Red Sea in front with the Egyptian army behind and mountain range on both sides. Moses, however, consoled them with God’s promise to fight their battles and urged them to witness the hand of God working in that situation. God not only parted the sea but also caused destruction of the Egyptian army by letting the waters flow back over them. A believer can be victorious in every battle in his life by letting God take over and letting go.
Why is God’s help not automatic for believers? – After creating man the first action of God is to ‘bless them’ and define their role of exercising dominion over everything as God’s representative (Genesis 1:28). With this man’s dependence on God as his Provider was established. The first command to man was prohibition from eating the fruit of one tree with permission to freely eat everything else, for disobedience would make man dependent on this worldly knowledge as compared to heavenly knowledge and resources. With that first command man was given the free will to obey or disobey God and exercising of this choice relates to every action of our life. Adam and Eve had the choice to go before God, as before, in repentance to seek forgiveness but they chose to hide from their Creator.
‘God is light and in Him is no darkness at all’ and either darkness must be cleansed or destroyed before getting into His Divine presence (1 John 1:5). But ‘the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil. And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good?’ (1 Peter 3:12-13). The free will must lead us into the very presence of God for only He can be of help to us in our times of trouble and even our sinful state does not disqualify us from receiving His help. ‘God demonstrates His love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us’ (Romans 5:8). The all-knowing God still came in the Garden of Eden at the appointed time and place, to be with Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:8-9). On seeing the wickedness of mankind LORD God was sorry or repented at having made man, the Hebrew word ‘nacham’ used here would mean sad or pained at heart (Genesis 6:6).
The first created being is Lucifer and God created him perfect in every way, but was God not aware that he would rebel against Him and stand in opposition to all of God’s creation? But that did not stop God from creating him, for not doing that would be punishing without commission of any sin and a just God would not do so. The Israelites had seen all the miracles performed by God in Egypt and how none of the evil effects of those affected them, yet they rebelled and complained to Moses at the Red Sea. God was well aware of this attitude on man from the very beginning itself. During the last days of Moses’, the LORD said to Moses, ‘Behold you will rest with your fathers; and this people (the Israelites) will play the harlot with the gods of the foreigners of the land, where they go to be among them, and they will forsake Me and break My covenant which I have made with them’ (Deuteronomy 31:16). But that still did not stop Him from leading them into the Promised Land.
Lord Jesus asked the man who had been sick for 38 years, ‘Do you want to be made well?’ (John 5:6-7). This question demands a simple answer, ‘yes’ but that man started telling about his helplessness about getting into the pool after the water was stirred by the angel, yet the Lord healed him anyway. Lord Jesus’ promise is very clear, ‘Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened for you’ (Matthew 7:7). Until we ask God for His intervention from the depth of our heart, God is unlikely to intervene in our situation.
The people of Nazareth saw Him as ‘the carpenter’s son’ and not as Son of God and showed no because of which faith Lord Jesus ‘could do no mighty work there, except that he laid hands on a few sick people and healed them’ (Mark 6:4).The message of the Lord is about His willingness to bless everyone who welcomes Him into their heart to enjoy the blessings that He brings (Revelation 3:20. But God would never intervene in any situation where He is not being sought and we have to seek His help to get help from Him.
Changes in the way of help from God from Old to New Testament – Lord Jesus prayed for the disciples that their faith may not fail when Satan ‘sifts them as wheat’ (Luke 22:31-32). The Savior Lord declared on the cross, ‘tetelestai’ which is stamped on a receipt for ‘Paid in Full’, thus implying that the account is closed. This Greek word is derived from ‘teleo’ meaning ‘goal achieved, result obtained’ and after this Satan has no right on any believer. There is now no condemnation, for Lord Jesus died, rose again on the third day, ascended to heaven and is seated at the ‘right hand of God’ making intercession for us, countering all lies and accusations of Satan (Romans 8:34). There is no difference in calling out to God to seek His help, for He will not intervene without being asked, though certain protection is available to all believers.
Through faith in Lord Jesus as our Redeemer we are privileged to be made part of God’s family (John 1:12). God is a loving Father ‘who hears our prayer’ (Psalm 65:2) and who attends to the voice of our pleas (Psalm 66:19). As Creator of all that exists, God keeps an eye on all people but on His children of the covenant of faith, He sees in His own special way for He dwells in them in oneness. The promise is that ‘He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty’ (Psalm 91:1). Size of the shadow increases or decreases as per the position of the sun and at noon time it is the smallest. Satan invariably attacks us in our weak moments, Lord Jesus’ temptation when He was hungry after forty days and forty nights fasting (Matthew 4:2-3). When we experience the maximum heat of our battles, that is the time we need to be closest to Him, but invariably that time we attempt all other ways. In any case His promise ‘I am with you always, even to the end of the age’ does not guarantee a trouble free life (Matthew 28:20).
Apostle Paul continued to suffer ‘thorn in the flesh’ and despite his prayer to God three times, it persisted. The answer from God was ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness’ (2 Corinthians 12:7-9). God’s presence with and in us is to face the battle under His guidance and strength and He does come forward to help us in times of our need.
Assured protection to fulfill assigned tasks – Apostle Paul was assured by the Lord, ‘as you testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness in Rome’. When more than forty Jews swore an oath to kill him, message reached the Roman commander and Apostle Paul was shifted the same night to Caesarea (Acts 23:11). Apostle Paul lists out the way he suffered under the hands of the Jews but was protected by the Lord to carry on with his mission as Apostle to the Gentiles. Having suffered so much he could still preach, ‘And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose’ (Romans 8:28). God has a purpose for our calling and like the rich man distributes ‘talents’, ‘to each according to his own ability’ and we are to use that for His kingdom (Matthew 25:14-30). His protection, help and provisions are always available to the obedient.
Scripture lays down the sequence of fighting a battle of faith – First, Individually, for we have been given the ‘sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God’ (Ephesians 6:17) to ‘say to the mountain and it will fall into the sea’ (Mark 11:23). Second, The help of Church members and elders – During sickness the elders of the church may be called to pray and anoint with oil ‘in the name of the Lord’ to receive healing (James 5:14-15). Third, seek angels help – Angels are ministering spirits to believers but they obey only God’s word, either spoken in prayer or a direct command from God (Hebrews 1:14). At the time of His arrest, Apostle Peter was commanded by the Lord to keep his sword, for if He desired to fight He could ask and receive 12 legions of angels where one angel could kill 1,85,000 in one night (Matthew 26:53). Four, seek direct intervention of the Lord – Lord Jesus prayed to God the Father in Gethsemane Park, ‘O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me’ (Matthew 26:39). Even when this is followed, God’s grace will be made available and we have to move in faith to claim and ensure God given victory.
The procedure of fighting the battle – First, Putting God first – The Amalekites attacked and looted the camp of David and his men at Ziklag and carried everyone, their wives and children, captive. David’s people were so distressed that they blamed him and talked of stoning him. But David ‘inquired of the LORD, saying, ‘shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them?’ And God answered him, saying, ‘Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all’ (1 Samuel 30:6-8). Despite the anger and grief of his companions, David did not rush into chasing the Amalekites but sought help of the Lord and with His assurance not only recovered all that was carried away but much more which the Amalekites had taken from others in the region.
Second, Placing problem before Him – Sennacherib, king of Assyria, came up against Judea and sent a letter to King Hezekiah, who on receiving the letter ‘went up to the house of the LORD and spread it before the LORD’. Hezekiah prayed, ‘Now therefore, O LORD our God, I pray, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the LORD God, You alone’. An angel of the LORD went out and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty five thousand forcing Sennacherib to depart (2 Kings 19:14-19 & 35).
Third, Obedience in faith – Gideon was called ‘you mighty man of valor’ by the Angel of the LORD and God chose him to lead Israelites against their enemies. At Gideon’s call 32,000 gathered to fight against the Midianites, but 22,000 who were fearful left at first call. After the next test of drinking water only 300 remained and God caused the enemy to flee at the call of Gideon and this small group to give them victory.
Four, Praise and worship – Jehoshphat ‘appointed those who should sing to the LORD, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, leading the army as they went out and were saying, ‘Praise the LORD, for His mercy endures forever’. Lord set ambushes and the armies of Ammon and Moab first fought the Syrians and then each other ‘to utterly kill and destroy them’ (2 Chronicles 20:21-25). God’s promise to us is, ‘No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgement you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is from me, says the LORD’ (Isaiah 54:17).
The intent of the Loving Father in heaven to make His chosen ones victorious has been clearly displayed through the sacrifice of His Beloved Son to redeem us from the clutches of the devil. He has promised to never leave or forsake us and when His hand is on us, who can stand against us. Having given free will to mankind, God cannot and will not intervene without being asked but He ensures that nothing befalls on us that is beyond our capability to bear. Most of us are not aware of our own capabilities though and the way God keeps on increasing that everyday!