God Goes Before You
“Hear, O Israel: You are to cross over the Jordan today, and go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourself, cities great and fortified up to heaven, a people great and tall, the descendants of the Anakim, whom you know, and of whom you heard it said, ‘Who can stand before the descendants of Anak?’ Therefore understand today that the Lord your God is He who goes over before you as a consuming fire. He will destroy them and bring them down before you; so you shall drive them out and destroy them quickly, as the Lord has said to you.
The Israelites had gone through many ordeals after being delivered out of Egypt. They witnessed a monumental miracle when the Lord parted the Red Sea to save them from the Egyptian army. They spent 40 years in the desert due to their disobedience in which many Israelites perished because of their rebellion. They went through bouts of complaining and division. Yet here they stand, the next generation, ready to cross the Jordan to receive what God had promised them.
In Chapter 9, Moses was reviewing the Israelites rebellion with them because he didn’t want them to forget what they had been through and all God had done for them. Most importantly, He didn’t want them to forget God. The Israelites were about to enter another chapter in their journey to the promised land and Moses needed to remind them to remember where they came from, the consequences of their disobedience and who had protected them and provided for them along the way. Why would Moses need to rehash all their difficulties when they are about to receive their promised inheritance from God? Because of their past.
We, as humans, have a wonderful way of forgetting the important things once we receive what we want and our flesh is fed. We forget where we came from, what we were taught, those who helped us along the way and most importantly, we forget God. We stop praying as much, reading the Bible, following His commandments and in time, everything we learned is pushed out and worldly things are brought in. Both God and Moses didn’t want them to forget what they had gone through because they didn’t want the Israelites to become ensnared again and in bondage. If they remembered everything they went through and all God had done for them, they would remain obedient and faithful to God and overcome every obstacle that came up against them.
In verses 1-3, Moses was warning the Israelites what they were about to come up against when crossing the Jordan. In order to receive their promised inheritance from God, they had to go up against and defeat some mighty nations. The men of these nations, descendants of Anakim, were bigger and stronger than the Israelites and they had a reputation for winning battles. Their size alone brought terror into their opponents hearts. The Israelites also had to break through their fortified cities which were well built and well protected. The first thing Moses had to do after warning the Israelites of the coming battle was to encourage them that God would go before them in this fight and destroy the giants so it would be easier for the Israelites to drive out the rest of them and destroy them.
God works the same way today no matter if we are facing a fierce spiritual enemy or a problem or situation. He goes before us and takes care of it enough so that by the time we are to face it, we will be able to defeat it. So many times our problems look to big for us to defeat. We see them like the Israelites had seen the descendants of the Anakim, gigantic and to strong to overcome. But when we read the Word of God, we see through many people and their situations that God goes before them to battle their opponents or problems. Once God’s people get to the battle or problem, their fight is minimal and they are able to be victorious and defeat the enemy/problem. We never have to be afraid of what we see on the surface. God knows what we can and cannot handle. He is able to see ahead and know what needs to be done in order for His people to have victory. Don’t allow your current problem, situation or addiction to cause you fear because of how it looks or how it feels. When you stay close to God, do what He says and follow His lead, you will have victory.
There is one more thing I want to point out. In verse 2 it states:
“a people great and tall, the descendants of the Anakim, whom you know, and of whom you heard it said, ‘Who can stand before the descendants of Anak?’”
Moses said two phrases that can stop people in their tracks, “who you know, and of whom you heard it said…“. This has to do with our vision and hearing. When we see a large problem or person that prevents us from moving forward or we hear about them, fear and intimidation can set in which can make it impossible for us to continue on. It can cause us to lose hope and at times, not even try to take a step forward to conquer the situation. But we must remember, as Moses immediately made clear to the Israelites, that God will go before us (Christians) and conquer most of the problem. It is our job to listen for His direction of when to proceed forward to conquer the problem.
We must never allow fear and intimidation of a person, problem or addiction to stop us from moving forward. It doesn’t mean whatever it is won’t be too big and powerful for us. What it does mean is that it won’t be too big and powerful for God. God is more powerful than any person, problem or addiction. The problem is that we allow what we see and hear to become the deciding factor. In 1 Samuel 17, when King David was just a teen, he was smaller than the rest of the soldiers, yet he had the heart of a warrior because of His faith in God. When the other seasoned warriors who were dressed in their armor and carrying weapons, were afraid to go up against the giant, Goliath, David stepped up to the plate. He had no armor and just a slingshot and stones, but he had two things in his favor…his strong faith and an even larger giant than Goliath…God:
Vs 47: “Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.”
Vs 48-51 “So it was, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hurried and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth. So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. But there was no sword in the hand of David. Therefore David ran and stood over the Philistine, took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it.“
David did not allow the threats of Goliath to cause him intimidation and fear. Instead, David tossed in some of his own threats giving the glory of the victory of the coming battle to the Lord. He then raced toward Goliath (the problem) and pulled out his sling and a stone and killed the giant, striking him in the forehead. It was the strength of the Lord that made the stone penetrate into Goliath’s forehead. Spiritually, this can represent a battle of the minds. David won the battle and defeated the giant at his own game. He didn’t stop there though. Though the giant was dead, David took the giant’s own weapon and cut his head off with it. The very weapon Goliath was going to kill David with, David instead killed Goliath with, cutting off his head. Whatever our giant is, it’s not always good enough to just slay it as it could somehow resurrect and come back. We must cut it’s head off completely to ensure the problem is dead. This means we must completely destroy addiction, anger, fear, jealousy, rejection, pride, etc. This means we must not allow others to stop us from doing what God wants us to do. How do we battle and what are our weapons? Prayer and the Word of God. The way a Christian battles isn’t the same as the world. The world battles verbally with fear and intimidation and through violence. The Christian battles through prayer and scripture, allowing God to do most of the battling. This doesn’t mean there won’t be things we must do in the physical to defeat the problem, but much of the battle is done through prayer and scripture.
Whatever you are about to cross over (as the Israelites were about to cross the Jordan river), know that God goes before you, defeating the enemy/problem so when you do cross over, you will easily be able to defeat what’s left and be victorious!
Lord, thank you fighting the battles for me so that it’s easier for me to be victorious. I ask Lord that you go before me in my current battle, as a consuming fire, and destroy the enemy/problem so when I encounter it, I can defeat it victoriously. I surrender this battle to you and only ask for the strength and endurance to walk through it. I ask all this in Jesus name…Amen.