I've been reading through Deuteronomy, and the shortened version of the Israelite's' story. Already, the Lord has made so many applications relevant in my own life. In Chapter 2, the Lord raises up a new generation to begin moving in the direction of the Promised Land. The first step in that direction is a battle. If you read in verses 30-31, it states that God hardened the king's heart, causing the battle. It's possible that the Israelites could have peaceably passed through, or that the King of Sihon would have just let them pass, as the kings did in Seir and Ar. But God needed to begin to lay a foundation of faith in their hearts that 1) There will be many battles, and 2) that God will fight for them. Of course, the older generation knew this from Egypt--but God was laying a new foundation of faith in these Israelites' hearts that wasn't just about what He did then, but what He could do now.
Sometimes God makes the path more difficult and causes a battle, in order to show us a greater victory.
In Chapter 3, God builds on their victory in Sihon to fight a greater battle: not just a city, but an entire Kingdom--Bashan. Sihon was baby steps of faith building to a greater battle, just as Bashan will be baby steps to the greater batle that is Jerricho and beyond into the Promised Land. And each step along the way, God reminds them gently, "Remember, I fight for you." In Chapter 4, Moses pauses to remind them to keep these works of God hidden in their hearts, that they don't forget what He's done and depart from Him. Though Moses predicts that the Israelites will one day disobey and forget--and be scattered--God, in his mercy, will take them back when they begin to seek Him again.
In my own life, I think about all the mini financial battles the Lord has brought us through this year--just to show that He fights for us, and He is faithful. In January, we thought we'd owe $1500 from Hal's wreck, but God took care of it. In February, we unexpectedly owed $1600. And God provided. In March, I went to Pennsylvania, which costs us another $1500 in flights and hotels. But God provided again. All the while, we were trying to save money to buy a house--yet these expenses we hadn't anticipated kept coming up.
But in May, God had doubled our savings, in a way we can't explain--just to say that He did it.
In June, we found a house, whose closing costs we would not have enough to pay for. And we prayed, and God provided a way. In July, we moved--and all the extra money we thought we'd put into savings that month was nearly spent on other factors--visits to family nearly every weekend and purchases for the house. In August, we thought we were ready to finally start saving again, when we received heart-breaking news--the greatest test of all--that we owed $6000 to Hal's company (they'd been taking the wrong amount out of his checks), and that we'd be losing nearly half his paycheck each month.
We cried out to the Lord and told Him we weren't prepared. We panicked and worried about how we'd make it. We tried to "fix it" ourselves, by taking me off Hal's insurance to cut out $500/mo in expenses. But God had a plan and a purpose. And in September, He provided the money we needed--yes, all $6000. And He put me back on Hal's insurance, despite the strain it will place on our budget, because He wanted to be the one who fights our battles.
And even though this month, Hal will only receive 1/3 of his paycheck, to cover these insurance costs, God has already caused our bank accounts to be filled and our needs to be met. You see, when we are faithful to tithe and to give above the tithe to ministries He puts in our heart, to the point that we begin to say, "God it's not our money, but yours," He is faithful to return to us tenfold what we need. Like the Israelites, God used this whole year--nearly 10 months now--to bring us into a new battle.
And each time, He showed us, "It is I who fight for you."