May 24

God Prepares Before He Sends

Deuteronomy 9:1-3 Hear, O Israel: You are to cross over the Jordan today, and go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourself… 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.

Exodus 23:27-28 I will send My fear before you, I will cause confusion among all the people to whom you come, and will make all your enemies turn their backs to you. And I will send hornets before you, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite from before you.

Like the Israelites of old, we are called to go into areas of this world filled with unbelievers, false idols, sinful behaviors and ungodly thinking. Isaiah 9:7 tells us that “of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.” Some of those areas God wants to expand His kingdom into include business, government, the arts and culture, and every country and people group in the world.

The Scriptures are replete with stories of what happens when God’s people mistakenly or sinfully tried to invade an area without the direction and presence of God. But there are just as many stories of the great successes God’s people made when they were following Him. One of the most precious of promises God made when He directed an invasion was His assurance to His people that He was going before them. He wasn’t just with them; He would go on before them to prepare the way, just as modern warfare often includes “softening the target” with air power before a land invasion.

Look at how God describes His work here: as a consuming fire sent to destroy and bring down the enemy, as something He calls “My fear” that will cause confusion among the people, as hornets that will drive out the enemy. These are strategic and powerful, and involve much more than the still-wonderful reality of God accompanying His people. He’s a wise and formidable Warrior who knows how to prepare and “soften” the enemy before sending in His troops.

Are you being sent into a new land, one filled with giants and enemies? If God is calling you to go into the land, it’s because He has a plan for victory. (God never tries things….) Part of His plan includes preparing the land for you. You can rightly assume that by the time you end up going into the land, it’s been prepared. But why not see what He’s done in the past, and start to pray strategically?

Begin by understanding that God the Warrior is not meek and mild, but a consuming fire that can wreak great destruction on His enemies. Pray that His fear will go ahead of you, creating confusion among those forces arrayed against His kingdom. And ask the Lord to send hornets ahead of you. Of course, these are weapons of spiritual warfare, and only God knows where to aim His weapons and at whom. But since these Old Testament examples are for us to learn from (I Corinthians 10:11), let’s seize them in prayer as godly weapons for the extension of His kingdom.

Prayer: Father, thank You that You never send us into a place that is unprepared for us. Remind me to partner with You by praying ahead of time that You would fully soften the spiritual target before sending me in.

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