Several thousand years ago, God delivered the Israelites from the Egyptians, after approximately 400 years (!!!) of slavery. Everyone heard about it for reasons different than what most expected. Slaves getting set free is old news, but these weren’t mere slaves, and there was nothing normal about their freedom! Inevitably, the news of all the amazing miracles God performed in order to secure the Israelites’ freedom — The 7 plagues, The snake-staff, parting the Red Sea, etc… as He delivered them out of bondage and subjection, spread far and wide. However, what’s astounding is that despite all this power, and tales of supernatural victory, the Israelites were still confronted by opposition on their road to the Promise Land — Kings, Chieftains, mighty Warriors and Leaders of the many lands they crossed on their way to Canaan, sought to fight them and destroy them.
Isn’t that interesting?
One would think that news of the tremendous things God had done for the children of Israel, would deter any potential adversaries and render the Israelites untouchable. Kings and beggars alike would hear about these great deeds of immense power and immediately back off, or conversely, try to forge alliances with them. Right? Nope. On the contrary, it seemed like their testimony only emboldened their enemies to try even harder to destroy them. This sentiment holds true today, over 3,000 years later, for every Believer. The fact that we indeed have Power — that we have God working for and in us, only makes the Enemy come after us that much harder.
Let’s give this some Biblical context. The book of Deuteronomy 7:1 GNB states that
… As you advance, he will drive out seven nations larger and more powerful than you…
This is Moses telling the children of Israel God’s Plan (not the song, folks!) — He is relaying to them how God would help them overthrow mighty nations, and take possession of their land. However, it's interesting that God specifically told Moses that He would do these deeds “as you advance”. It is only when they advance that the miracle of defeat would happen. Advancement here for the Israelites was quite literal — only as they physically move towards the land, still occupied by the Amorites, Jebusites, and all the other “-ites”, would God clear the land for them. So, literally taking those steps was crucial to securing their victory.
Taking steps applies to us too! Most of the time, our miracle, breakthrough, and testimony, are all tied to Action. This is why when Jesus performed miracles, there were often actions involved — pick up your bed, go dip yourself 7 times in the river, wash the dirt off your eyes, etc. Faith, more than mere belief, is acting on the unseen. God loves faith, without which it is impossible to please Him, and our actions are the tangible representations of our Faith.
Verse 2 of this passage says
“...when the LORD your God places these people in your power and you defeat them ...”
God places any opposition you’re facing IN your power. This, first points out the fact that we DO have power, and are not helpless sheep, contrary to popular belief, but goes much farther than that. The phrase “in your power” deals with size, meaning that our power has to be BIGGER than our enemies if they’re to fit INSIDE it! A truck cannot fit into a purse — we have the power to subdue whatever challenges come our way, because God has said that He will never allow us to face challenges that we cannot overcome. We are all tested according to our level of faith.
Notice how God didn’t simply tell the Israelites that He will deliver their enemies in a state of surrender, which He easily could have done. Instead, He chose to allow the Israelites face their foes when they were still vicious. The important distinction here is that God did not allow the Israelites to face their enemies only to become intimidated by them, but to defeat them. In this encounter with their adversaries, the Israelites were able to find and exercise their strength. Sometimes, opposition serves to bring out the warrior in us. Without a trial, ther can be no win. Without adversity, no victory.
A similar story of defeat comes to mind — that of David and his storied victory over Goliath. We know that God handed Goliath to David. I mean, how else can you explain a little boy defeating a terrifying giant with a slingshot and some stones? God had already secured the victory for David, but for that victory to be made manifest, David had to recognize the power he had over Goliath despite his obvious size and ferocity, and make the choice to advance towards him, and only after that advancement was made, was he able to defeat him.
Take a second to consider how terrifying it must have been for a little boy to face a giant, or for the Israelites to traverse dangerous lands filled with dangerous people, all based on a promise that He will never leave them nor forsake them. It cannot have been easy, but it was indeed necessary. Without defeating Goliath, David would’ve remained just another son of Jesse. Without overcoming the adversity that arose before them, the Israelites would have perished in the wilderness, and never would have seen the Promise Land. Facing adversity is never easy, and advancing in the face of adversity is even harder. However, as the Scriptures readily prove, with God all things are possible!
These stories, along with countless others in the Bible depict a formula that God operates by — Faith + Action = Breakthrough. This is the template for miracles in the Bible, and it remains true today. Faith empowers our belief, and Action is Faith in motion. The product of these two combined, is our redemption. Faith mixed with Action, prompts God to intervene. Our boldness in faithful advancement regardless of situation, serves as the first step from our end -- God meets us halfway, and completes His glorious work.
This means that as Christians, even in this our Year of Fulfillment, opposition would still arise. The devil will always try to attack the promise and murder the vision… it’s simply his line of trade. Devouring is what he does. The Truth that we should always remember, is that God has given us the power to defeat whatever/whoever tries to deter us from His promise land. It is not enough to just pray without acting. We need to move! With spiritual conviction and Heavenly determination, we need to pick up our own slingshots, and face our own giants, whatever form they may take, becasue we are not alone in our battles. God has already gone before us and delivered the victory into our hands.
This year, let us move unwaveringly towards everything God has laid in our heart. We must always remember that God has given us the power to defeat whatever opposing forces come our way. It is all within our grasp.
All we have to do is… Advance!