“Hear, O Israel: You are to cross over the Jordan today, and go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourself, cities great and fortified up to heaven, 2 “a people great and tall, the descendants of the Anakim, whom you know, and of whom you heard it said, ‘Who can stand before the descendants of Anak?’ 3 “Therefore understand today that the LORD your God is He who goes over before you as a consuming fire. He will destroy them and bring them down before you; so you shall drive them out and destroy them quickly, as the LORD has said to you” (Deuteronomy 9:1-3 ).
Have you ever thought to yourself, “Well, look what God just did through me! Aren’t I something!” As the Israelites prepared to cross the Jordan and take on the Anakim, “a people great and tall,” Moses wanted to make certain that the Israelites understood to whom the glory should go. It was not because of their merits that the Lord was doing such a mighty thing. God is sovereign and will do what God will do. Yes, the Israelites were God’s special treasure (Ex 19), but they were also a “stiff-necked people,” as Moses carefully reminds them. As servants of God we need to be mindful of this delicate balance between recognizing our worth and value before God (I Peter 2:9), yet remembering that it is God who acts; we are instruments in his hands. “Understand, then, today that it is the Lord, your God, who will cross over before you as a consuming fire…” (Deut. 9:3)
Indeed, one of the messages that Moses continually conveys to the Israelites is that God is the one who will do battle for them. The same God by whose power the Israelites were brought out of Egypt is the God that goes before them. Many of the nations which the Israelites would be fighting were nations with armies greater than their own. Yet, Moses reminds them that they need not be afraid, for “it is the Lord who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies and give you victory.” (20:4) We all face enemies whose power seems greater than our own, some days more than others. It is easy to become discouraged if we focus on our resources and strength, especially when these seem to pale in comparison. It is likely we will give in if our eyes are set on that of which our enemies are capable. But, when we remember by whose strength and power we fight, when we are mindful of who is fighting for us, we can rest in the knowledge that He will give us the victory.