One of the greatest leaders of the Israelites was Joshua, successor of Moses. The Bible records that under his leadership, God’s chosen people conquered 31 kings! In the latter part of the book of Joshua, it also explicitly states that “Not one of the good promises which the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.” (21:45)
So, what was Joshua’s secret? Was he some super spiritual guy with a unique hotline to God? I think not. Joshua had to learn the same lessons we do. He, too, had to learn to ask God and wait for answers. On more than one occasion, he messed up when he stepped out in his own knowledge, his own understanding, & his own logic. (See the details in chapters 1-9) The key to this time of unprecedented success in Israel’s history was not dependent on Joshua or any other source of manpower. The KEY to success was the fact that the Lord fought for Israel. “Joshua captured all these kings & their lands at one time because the Lord, the God of Israel, fought for Israel.” (Joshua 10:42)
The cross-reference to the phrase “fought for Israel” is Exodus 14:14. “The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.” A second reference is found in Deuteronomy 1:30. “The Lord your God who goes before you will Himself fight on your behalf.” Years ago, I was convicted by the idea of: 1) God going ahead of me in what concerns me, & 2) He doesn’t need my mouth (literally) to get the job done. He can intervene & do whatever He wants without my interference. This is great! But there’s more to it. I discovered the cross-reference to the phrase “while you keep silent.” It’s Isaiah 30:15. Check this out! “In repentance & rest you shall be saved, in quietness & trust is your strength. But you were not willing.” Ouch!
The Lord revealed to me that the ONLY reason we do not rest, (let Him fight for us) is because we can be stubborn & unrepentant. Our salvation lived out, in our daily experience, is found by repenting-- whenever the Holy Spirit convicts us of trusting in what we think we know & in what we think we can do. This looks like confessing, “I was wrong, Lord. Thank you for forgiving me.” Then we make a 180 degree turn & walk away from our self-sufficiency. This enables us to rest, internally, in His ability to fight for us. Our quietness before the Lord & our trust in the Lord is our strength. We cannot experience His rest if we aren’t willing to stop exhausting our own resources. His life in us, working through us, saves us from ourselves. Who’s doing the fighting in your life? And, are you willing?