Fight Right: When and How to Take Up Arms

“Nevertheless, in their presumption they went up toward the high hill country…” Numbers 14:44 (NIV)

And that without the ark of the Lord’s presence.

I got chills when I read this account in Numbers.

First thought? What idiots.

Until God, in His kindness, nudged me with…

You ever taken it upon yourself to fight a fight without my consent?

Maybe. 

Okay, yes.

Why? 

Pride is a big factor. But lurking behind my impulsive need to have my say and right the wrong is fear.

In the right moment in time, God made it clear to Moses to tell the people to fight and claim the land He’d already promised would be theirs. But they refused, letting fear rule, and decided—against evidence otherwise—that it would end in defeat.

They chose to remain on what they believed was safer territory.

Later, when they learned via Moses of God’s displeasure (to put it mildly), they confessed.

“We have sinned against the Lord.” Deuteronomy 1:41

God knew that. 

And…can you hear their desperate whine?

“We will go up and fight, as the Lord our God commanded us.” Deuteronomy 1:41

Against stern warning, presuming they were doing the right thing, they put on weapons, thinking it easy (it wasn’t) to go up into the hill country, an exercise in futility and disaster.

Strike one? They fought in a spirit of arrogance.

Strike two? They fought at the wrong time.

Strike three? They fought without the presence of God. 

Thus, they were defeated. 

There are a lot of causes I could get behind, lots of fights to be fought. But any issue or cause that God hasn’t divinely directed me to be involved in is a failure before it begins.

I’d like to think if I heard Moses relay God’s specific warning, “Do not go up and fight, because I will not be with you. You will be defeated by your enemies” that I’d keep my feet firmly planted at the foothill where I stood, my need for justice at this particular time entrusted to God.

God knows what fight is mine and which is not, when I’m to speak up and when to remain silent…which, in my experience, can be the best weapon in a highly toxic situation.

Because if He’s not present with me in a fight, engineering the process and outcome, I’m toast. And would be making a pretty awful representation of the love and strength of Jesus Christ.

In a world filled with arguments around every corner, spouting off in rapid clicks, has God called you to step in and represent Him in it?

If not, are you willing to lay down your weapon and trust Him to use you when the next battle arises? 

Mary

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✏️ Two of my 2019 inspirational articles that were published in Refresh, Online Bible Study Magazine, are featured in this 40 short Bible studies compilation, The Power to Make a Difference Available on Amazon.

2 Comments

  1. Oh, Mary, this is so difficult: to walk away from a fight when we feel we need to engage! I’d say pride is involved as well as fear. Thank you for this gentle reminder.

    • Mary Felkins says:

      It really is. The beauty is it puts me in position to seek discernment of God when I could literally find issues to engage in all day long! Those he asks me to leave alone are for my own rest of heart. Thanks, Carole!

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