“The Lord Shall Fight for You”

Exodus 14:14

This great war is causing many to ask questions such as these: Why does God not intervene on the side of the right? Does God ever intervene? Can God intervene? To such questions the history of the nations as recorded in the Old Testament, the oldest history book in the world, furnishes striking answers.

Let us cite three or four instances out of many that might be adduced.

The children of Israel, a nation of slaves, defenceless, without aims, or means of transport, were in the act of fleeing from Egypt, the proudest and most powerful kingdom of those days.

The might of Egypt, all the hosts of Pharaoh, his chariots and horsemen, were pitted against an unwieldy mass of refugees, hampered by the presence of wives and children and impedimenta, surely a very unequal combat. Yes, that was so, the children of Israel would have had no chance at all, but for—GOD. Leave God out of calculation and their position was hopeless. Bring God in, and the whole scene is changed.

Further the children of Israel were in a bad strategic position, encamped before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. Pharaoh boasted, “They are entangled in the land, the wilderness has shut them in” (Ex. 14:3). But Pharaoh left God out of account.

Did God intervene? He did: The angel of God with the cloudy pillar had gone on before them. In the threat of this danger the cloud moved behind them, and “it came between the camp of the Egyptian and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night” (Ex. 14:20).

Then the Lord caused a strong east wind to blow all night, which made the sea dry land and the waters were divided. A way of escape was made by GOD.

The Egyptians in their blind fury, Pharaoh’s horses, chariots and horsemen, pursued after the Israelites into the midst of the sea. Then in the morning watch the Lord looked upon the proud host of the Egyptians and troubled them, took off their chariot wheels, so that they drove heavily.

The Egyptians were at last alarmed, and cried out, “Let us flee from the face of Israel: for the Lord fights for them against the Egyptians” (Ex. 14:25).

That, however, was not the end. The wind, that made a path for the children of Israel across the sea for their salvation, blew again, and covered the fleeing Egyptians, drowning the whole host in the waters of the Red Sea.

No wonder Moses and the children of Israel sang their triumph on the further banks of the sea they had just crossed: “The Lord has triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider has He thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and song and become my salvation … The Lord is a man of war: the Lord is His name” (Ex. 15:1-3).


Do you remember the Bible story of how the Midianites, Amalekites and the children of the east were gathered to fight the Israelites? God intervened again and again. His Holy Spirit came upon Gideon, up to then a little-known man, one who declared that his family was poor in Manasseh, and that he was the least in his father’s house. Gideon, inspired by God’s Holy Spirit, blew a trumpet, and a goodly number of followers gathered round him.

But the Lord told Gideon that the number was too many. in case of victory the children of Israel would vaunt themselves, saying, “Mine own hand has saved me.” Are we not in a similar case in this country? Do we trust in a powerful navy, a strong air force, a well-trained soldiery, equipped with tanks, Bren guns, all the latest and most up-to-date-instruments of war? Do we put our trust in God?

This handful of men looked upon the mighty host of the Midianites and Amalekites, and the children of the east, who lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude, their camels without number, as the sand on the seashore. Gideon divided them up into three companies put a trumpet in every man’s hand, with empty pitchers, and provided them with lamps to place in the pitchers. Gideon bade them follow him. So they advanced to the outside of the camp. At a given signal they broke their pitchers, and there the naked lights of the lamps shone out, the trumpets sounded, and the men shouted, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon” (Jud. 7:20).

Did God intervene? We read, “And THE LORD set every man’s sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host, and the host fled to Beth-Shittah, in Zererath, and to the border of Abel-meholah, unto Tabbath.”


But the days of recovery were at hand. Samuel had grown up, and had an assured place as a Prophet of God and the Judge of Israel. Samuel showed how the Lord would deliver the children of Israel from the Philistines, if they really prepared their hearts to follow Him wholly. Happily they responded, putting away their strange gods, and seeking to follow the Lord wholly.

Gathering together at Mizpeh, the Philistines went up against them, striking terror in the hearts of the Israelites. They begged Samuel to cry without ceasing to God for them. Alas! they had not faith that God would deliver them. How often God is better to us than our fears.

Samuel offered a sucking lamb as a burnt-offering to the Lord, crying to the Lord for His intervention. As he was thus engaged the Philistines drew near to the battle, “but the Lord thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them. And the men of Israel went out of Mizpeh, and pursued the Philistines, and discomfited them, until they came to Beth-car.”


Sennacherib, the mighty king of Assyria, invaded Judah, and at last his mighty hosts came against Jerusalem. His generals, Tartan and Rabsaris, and Rab-shakeh, boasted of their power, and Rab-shakeh in particular taunted the Jews, saying, “Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord, saying. The Lord will surely deliver us, and this city shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria” (2 Ki. 18:30).

When King Hezekiah heard of this impious boast, he rent his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord. He sent to Isaiah the prophet, and reported to him what had happened. Isaiah gave him great comfort. He said, “Thus shall ye say to your master, Thus says the Lord, Be not afraid of the words which thou hast heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. Behold I will send a blast upon him and he shall hear a rumour, and shall return to his own land: and I will cause him to fail by the sword in his own land” (2 Ki. 1:6-7).

Again the Prophet spoke heartening words, “Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city [Jerusalem], nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor cast a bank against it. By the way that he came, by the same shall be return, and shall not come into this city, says the Lord. For I will defend the city, to save it, for mine own sake, and for my servant, David’s sake” (2 Ki. 19:32-34).

When God takes a hand in any matter we know that the mightiest foe against a feeble land is powerless. What happened to the mighty Assyrian army? “And it came to pass that night, that THE ANGEL OF THE LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred four score and five thousand: and when they arose in the morning behold they were all dead corpses.” No wonder the chastened remnant of the proud army with their humbled king at their head departed. Shortly after Sennacherib’s own sons rose against their father, and smote him with the sword. Thus was Isaiah’s prophecy fulfilled to the letter.


And can God not intervene again in answer to the cries of His people? He can, blessed be His name. Does not He take note of the impiety of the proud blasphemous aggressors? And of the determined efforts to stamp out all that is for God and Christ in the world? He most surely does. He has set a limit to the tides of evil, it is our part to pray. And yet the question ought to be aroused in many of our hearts as to whether we are ready and fit to pray. To Israel in ancient days, God said, “When ye spread forth your hands I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. Wash you, make you clean: put away your evil doings from before mine eyes: cease to do evil: learn to do well … Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat of the fat of the land: if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured by the sword: for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it” (Isa. 1).

The things that were written aforetime were written for our learning, and here we are taught as to what God looks for in those that would approach Him in prayer.

J. T. Mawson