The God Who Fights for You
The Applause of Heaven, Max Lucado (excerpts)
… I proudly share with you heretofore undiscovered conversations with two men who will answer the question:
What does God do when we are in a bind?
The first interview is between the Holy Land Press (HLP) and Moses.
HLP: Tell us about your conflict with the Egyptians.
M: Oh the Egyptians – big people. Strong fighters. Mean as snakes.
HLP: But you got away.
M: Not before they got washed away.
HLP: You’re talking about the Red Sea conflict.
M: You’re right. That was scary.
HLP: Tell us what happened.
M: Well, the Red Sea was on one side and the Egyptians were on the other.
HLP: So you attacked?
M: Are you kidding? With a half million rock stackers? No, my people were too afraid. They wanted to go back to Egypt.
HLP: So you told everyone to retreat?
M: Where? Into the water? We didn’t have a boat. We didn’t have anywhere to go.
HLP: What did your leaders recommend?
M: I didn’t ask them. There wasn’t time.
HLP: Then what did you do?
M: I told the people to stand still.
HLP: You mean, with the enemy coming, you told them not to move?
M: Yep. I told the people, “Stand still and you will see the Lord save you.”
HLP: Why would you want the people to stand still?
M: To get out of God’s way. If you don’t know what to do, it’s best just to sit tight till He does his thing.
HLP: That’s odd strategy, don’t you think?
M: It is if you are big enough for the battle. But when the battle is bigger than you are and you want God to take over, it’s all you can do.
HLP: Can we talk about something else?
M: It’s your paper.
HLP: Soon after your escape…
M: Our deliverance.
HLP: What’s the difference?
M: There is a big difference. When you escape, you do it. When you are delivered, someone else does it and you just follow.
HLP: Okay, soon after your deliverance, you battled with the Ammo… Amala… let’s see, I have it here…
M: The Amalekites.
HLP: Yeah, the Amalekites.
M: Big people. Strong fighters. Mean as snakes.
HLP: But you won.
M: God won.
HLP: Okay – God won – but you did the work. You fought the battle. You were on the field.
HLP: What? You weren’t in the battle?
M: Not that one. While the army was fighting, I took my friends Aaron and Hur to the top of a hill and we did our fighting up there.
HLP: With each other?
M: With the darkness.
HLP: With swords?
M: No, in prayer. I just lifted my hands to God, like I did at the Red Sea, only this time I forgot my rod. When I lifted my hands, we would win, but when I would lower my arms we would lose. So I got my friends to hold up my arms until the Amalekites were history and we won.
HLP: Hold on a second. You think that standing on a hill with your hands in the air made a difference?
M: You don’t see any Amalekites around, do you?
HLP: Don’t you think it strange that the general of the army stays on the mountain while the soldiers fight in the valley?
M: If the battle had been in the valley I would have gone, but that’s not where the battle was being fought.
HLP: Odd, this strategy of yours.
M: You mean if your father was bigger than the fellow beating you up, you wouldn’t call his name?
M: If some guy has you on the ground pounding on you and your father is within earshot and tells you to call on him anytime you need help, what would you do?
HLP: I’d call my father.
M: That’s all I do. When the battle is too great, I ask God to take over. I get the Father to fight for me.
HLP: And he comes?
M: Seen any Jews building pyramids lately?
HLP: Let me see if I’ve got this straight. Once you defeat the enemy by standing still and another time you win the battle by holding up your hands. Where did you pick all this up?
M: Well, if I told you, you wouldn’t believe me.
HLP: Try me.
M: Well, you see, there was this bush on fire and it spoke to me…
HLP: Maybe you’re right. We’ll save that one for another day.
The second interview moves us ahead in history a couple of centuries. Here is King Jehoshaphat (KJ) in a postwar interview with the Jerusalem Chronicle (JC) on the battlefield of Ziz.
JC: Congratulations, King.
KJ: For what?
JC: You just defeated 3 armies at one time. You defeated the Moabites, Ammonites and Meunites.
KJ: Oh I didn’t do that.
JC: Don’t be so modest. Tell us what you think of these armies.
KJ: Big people. Strong fighters. Mean as snakes.
JC: How did you feel when you heard they were coming?
KJ: I was scared.
JC: But you handled it pretty calmly. That strategy session with your generals must have paid off.
KJ: We didn’t have one.
JC: You didn’t have a meeting, or you didn’t have a strategy?
JC: What did you do?
KJ: I asked God what to do.
JC: What did he say?
KJ: Nothing at first, so I got some people to talk to him with me.
JC: Your Cabinet had a prayer session?
KJ: No, my nation went on a fast.
JC: The whole nation?
KJ: Everyone but you, apparently.
JC: Uh, well, what did you tell God?
KJ: Well, we told God that he was the king and whatever he wanted was okay with us, but if he wouldn’t mind, we’d like his help on a big problem.
JC: Then you had your strategy session.
JC: What did you do?
KJ: We stood before God.
JC: Who did?
KJ: All of us. The men. The women. The babies. We just stood there and waited.
JC: What was the enemy doing while you were waiting?
KJ: They were getting closer.
JC: Is that when you rallied the people?
KJ: Who told you I rallied the people?
JC: Well, I just assumed…
KJ: I never said anything to the people. I just listened. After a while this young fellow names Jahaziel spoke up and said that the Lord said not to be discouraged or afraid because the battle wasn’t ours, it was his.
JC: How did you know he was speaking for God?
KJ: When you spend as much as time talking to God as I do, you learn to recognize his voice.
KJ: No, supernatural.
JC: Then you attacked?
KJ: No, Jahaziel said, “Stand still and you will see the Lord save you.”
JC: I’ve heard that somewhere.
KJ: Vintage Moses.
JC: Then you attacked?
KJ: No, then we sang. Well, some sang. I’m not much with a tune so I fell on my face and prayed. I let the others sing. We’ve got this group – Levites – who really know how to sing.
JC: Wait a minute. With the army getting closer, you sang?
KJ: A few tunes. Then I told the people to be strong and have faith in God and then we marched out to the battlefield.
JC: And you led the army?
KJ: No, we put the singers out in front. And as we marched they sang. And as we sang, God set ambushes. And by the time we got to the battlefield, the enemy was dead. That was three days ago. It took us that long to clean up the area. We are back today to have another worship service. Come over here; I want you to listen to these Levites sing. I bet you ten shekels you can’t keep your seat for five minutes.
JC: Wait. I can’t write this story. It’s too bizarre. Who’ll believe it?
KJ: Just write it. Those with man-sized problems will laugh. And those with God-sized problems will pray. Leave it to them to decide. Come on. The band is tuning up. You won’t want to miss the first piece.
His job is to fight. Our job is to trust.
Our job is to pray and wait.
Nothing more is necessary.
Nothing more is needed.