You have saved us from our adversaries
Psalm 44:1-8 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
O God, we have heard with our ears,
Our fathers have told us
The work that You did in their days,
In the days of old.
2 You with Your own hand drove out the nations;
Then You planted them;
You afflicted the peoples,
Then You spread them abroad.
3 For by their own sword they did not possess the land,
And their own arm did not save them,
But Your right hand and Your arm and the light of Your presence,
For You favored them.
4 You are my King, O God;
Command victories for Jacob.
5 Through You we will push back our adversaries;
Through Your name we will trample down those who rise up against us.
6 For I will not trust in my bow,
Nor will my sword save me.
7 But You have saved us from our adversaries,
And You have put to shame those who hate us.
8 In God we have boasted all day long,
And we will give thanks to Your name forever.
In Acts 1: 7-8 Jesus says: “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” We are to be witnesses of Jesus Christ. We are to testify of Him and for Him, telling others what He has done and what He will do for them. When we preach the gospel as Jesus commanded us, it is the good news of what He has done and will do that we share.
Because they lived in a time when it was difficult to record the accounts of the things God did, the Jewish people testified of God’s goodness, His protection, His provision and His power by passing the stories and accounts from generation to generation. That’s where the psalmist gets his confidence for the battle he is facing. He says: O God, we have heard with our ears, Our fathers have told us The work that You did in their days, In the days of old. You with Your own hand drove out the nations; Then You planted them; You afflicted the peoples, Then You spread them abroad. For by their own sword they did not possess the land, And their own arm did not save them, But Your right hand and Your arm and the light of Your presence, For You favored them. From their deliverance from the bondage of mighty Egypt, to their overtaking and possessing the Promised Land, it was the mighty hand of God, not the power of the army of Israel which secured their victory.
In all their battles, it was the Lord who fought for them. In Joshua 6 we can read the account of the victory over Jericho. It was God who gave them the plan and He who secured the victory. Just after that, in Joshua 7, we see the account of what happened when the Israelites fought in their own strength. Verses 2-5 says: Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth-aven, east of Bethel, and said to them, “Go up and spy out the land.” So the men went up and spied out Ai. They returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not let all the people go up; only about two or three thousand men need go up to Ai; do not make all the people toil up there, for they are few.” So about three thousand men from the people went up there, but they fled from the men of Ai. The men of Ai struck down about thirty-six of their men, and pursued them from the gate as far as Shebarim and struck them down on the descent, so the hearts of the people melted and became as water. Ai was by far inferior to Jericho, but God did not go up against Ai, because the Israelites had broken faith. Fighting even an inferior enemy in their own strength, they were defeated.
The psalmist says: You are my King, O God; Command victories for Jacob. Through You we will push back our adversaries; Through Your name we will trample down those who rise up against us. For I will not trust in my bow, Nor will my sword save me. But You have saved us from our adversaries, And You have put to shame those who hate us. In God we have boasted all day long, And we will give thanks to Your name forever. Regardless of what battle we face, whether the strongest or the least of our enemies, we need to remember that God is our king. Jesus is the king of kings and the Lord of Lords. He says: “I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Jesus says we will have peace because He has overcome the world. Romans 16:20 says: The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. Jesus is our peace. He has overcome and He will crush the enemy. As He commanded victory for Jacob, so also, will He command victory for us. Through God, trusting in Jesus, we will push back our adversaries. We will trample down those who rise against us. Romans 8:31 says: If God is for us, who is against us?
The psalmist says: For I will not trust in my bow, Nor will my sword save me. But You have saved us from our adversaries.
It is not in our own strength or the power of our own weapons that we should depend. Yet, in Psalm 18:31-40, the psalmist says: who is God, but the Lord?
And who is a rock, except our God, The God who girds me with strength And makes my way blameless? He makes my feet like hinds’ feet, And sets me upon my high places. He trains my hands for battle, So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, And Your right hand upholds me; And Your gentleness makes me great. You enlarge my steps under me, And my feet have not slipped. I pursued my enemies and overtook them, And I did not turn back until they were consumed. I shattered them, so that they were not able to rise; They fell under my feet. For You have girded me with strength for battle; You have subdued under me those who rose up against me. You have also made my enemies turn their backs to me. While God is the one who subdues, shatters and crushes the enemy, He does want us to participate with Him in the battle and in the victory. He will equip us, train us and give us the plan for every battle we face, if we will trust in Him.
Ephesians 6:10-18 reminds us of an important principle in the battles we face. Regardless of who it seems we are at war with, we need to remember to: Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints. We need to not be distracted, engaging people as our enemies and recognize who our true enemy is. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 says: The weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Our greatest battles are not the physical battles we face, but rather the spiritual ones. These too, Jesus has won. Colossians 2:13-15 says: God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit thank You for the courage and confidence I receive as I hear the accounts of what You have done for those who have gone before me. Thank You for Your faithfulness to fight for me, to prepare me, to train and equip me with everything I need. Thank You most of all that while I do face battles, You have overcome. I fight a disarmed and defeated enemy. Everything I need and every victory is already secured through the finished work of the cross. Amen.