The Call to Stand Firm
(This is from a 2009 post that I dug out and updated. It fits our ongoing series so well even after three years!)
In Genesis 32, Jacob is faced with a potential disaster. His brother Esau is coming with 400 men, and Jacob fears the worst. He even prepares for the confrontation by dividing his people and possessions into two camps. In verses 9-12 he revisits God’s promise of prosperity:
Then Jacob prayed, “O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, O LORD, who said to me, ‘Go back to your country and your relatives, and I will make you prosper,’ I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant. I had only my staff when I crossed this Jordan, but now I have become two groups. Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children. But you have said, ‘I will surely make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted.’”
Jacob has struggled with God enough in the past to stop this time and remember God’s promise before reacting. He even reminds God of it. Back in Genesis 28 Jacob reached a turning point by claiming his faith as his own (see verses 20-22). And now, by revisiting God’s promise, Jacob’s faith is re-enforced.
Then there’s Joseph. I think this is my absolute favorite story in the Bible. I’ve imagined many a time the desolation Joseph must have felt to be hated by his brothers and sold into slavery. I’ve marveled at how God favored him and gave him success, even in prison. And then the anguish to see his brothers and not be recognized.
Joseph endured years of slavery and imprisonment to fulfill a purpose God set in place long ago. Amazingly, Joseph understands this and even tells his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20 NIV).
Here we see a glimpse of Romans 8:28 in action. Joseph’s story is truly one of perseverance and supernatural faith.
From Streams in the Desert: “Joseph had more sorrow than all the other sons of Jacob, and it led him out into a ministry of bread for all nations.” — The Heavenly Life
And now to Moses and the Israelites. In Exodus 5, the conditions for the Israelites have gone from livable to treacherous. And they blame Moses—the man who’s brought a message of freedom from God—for their worsening state. The phrase “darkest before the dawn” epitomizes the thickening of battle before the victory. When we stand up to evil and injustice, when we obey God in ways that offend the world (or our spouses), we will meet opposition.
We don’t like this persecution and our fist instinct is to back off. To cry for things to go back to bearable like the Israelites did. But to do so means losing ground in the battle. And it is in the midst of this battle that faith is so critical. We must continue to believe we do not stand alone.
In Exodus 14, the Egyptians are in hot pursuit of the Israelites, who despair they are to die in the desert. Moses reminds them who is in control with these profound words.
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.”
This simple statement is so full of God’s love and pure intentions. Even despite the Israelites lack of faith, God is fighting for his people. He’s there in the thick of the fight and his promise still stands.
The Israelites were called to face a great challenge, as are we who are spiritually mismatched. But we need not fear. We need simply to obey God’s call, be still in Him, and let God fight the battle for our spouses. But we must do our part.
“God will give us the victory when we join Him in the fight.” —Upper Room Ministries
Join God in the fight. Pray without ceasing. Have faith. Trust. Believe.
And guess what?
God always wins.
Praying & believing,