Offense and Defense

Jesus really will go before us to guide our steps and remain behind us to fight our battles.  Here's my own testimony.

"By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night."
-Exodus 13:21

As I read through the Bible in one year, this verse came screaming out of the page at me.  Verse 22 continues on to say "Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people."

Wow.

God was so faithful to lead them 24/7 towards the place He had called them to, because when He calls us to do something for Him it is in His nature to guide us through it, period.

But then I kept reading into chapter 14 and I found the following:

"Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long."
-Exodus 14:19-20

Now this just wrecked me.  Here God was not only guiding them towards the place He had called them to, but when Pharaoh once again changed his mind to chase the Israelite's down and keep them in slavery, God moved from the guide in front to the defense behind to fight their battle.

The Israelite's didn't have to lift one finger against the Egyptian's.

God went before, on the offense, and He went behind, on the defense.

I experienced something a few days after reading this where I needed this promise of who God is to stand on for myself.

I had someone blow up at me - I mean yelling, slamming fists on tables; just pure anger.  They had misinformation from someone else and didn't ask me, just assumed their information was correct and lashed out against me for it.

I tried to explain myself, but they weren't hearing it.  So I left.  I walked away.  I went home, I prayed, and I told God that the same thing He did for the Israelite's He could and would do for me, and I would rest in that.  I wouldn't defend myself.

When I returned to meet with this person the next day, I didn't bring anything up.  In fact, it took about 4 or 5 hours for them to bring it up, but they did.  They came to me, privately, and apologized for how they acted.  They also said I was right and the other person hadn't told the truth.

The battle was won without me lifting a finger in advocacy for myself.

And do you know why this matters?  I can think of 2 reasons:

  1. It shows God is alive and the same as He was thousands of years ago.  We can trust Him as our Father and abide in Him.
  2. I don't need to live of my own might or strength, but by His Spirit so that He gets the glory.  I could've logically approached the situation, sat everyone down, and led the charge.  But then I would've cleaned it up.  By sitting still, God did.  That looks different in our culture, and now when people ask me why I didn't defend myself, I can give a testimony to the first point - He is our Father and we abide in Him.

In what can you trust God to fight your battle?

Michael Tatonetti