If God Be For Us

If God Be For Us

There are so many times in the Scriptures where we see God intervening in big ways for His people in overwhelming need. We think of the three Hebrew men in the fiery furnace, and how God was in the inferno with them, and enabled them to survive what had killed some of the guards who had thrown them in. And we think of Daniel in the lion’s den, and how God had shut the mouths of the lions so Daniel would not be harmed. Incidents like these, where God helped His people to prevail, are plenty in the Word. God is indeed mighty, and He comes through for His beloved in awesome ways.

But we see these incidents from the perspective of history. We look back hundreds, even thousands of years and see what God worked out. We often forget that in those moments, through the weeks or months or years in the lives of those individuals, the specific outcome was not a foregone conclusion. The three faithful Hebrew men did not know what the results would be. In fact, what they told the king was that while they knew their God could deliver them, they would be true to Him even if He chose not to. Even though they knew God was for them, each step closer to the fire without rescue was a test of their faith. When the guards escorting them to the furnace died, it was a test of their faith. It was not until they found themselves in the midst of the fire, unburnt, and with God Himself beside them that they realized how He had chosen to address their need. He didn’t rescue them from the fire, but through it.

Similarly, with Daniel there was a prolonged, sustained attack from his jealous rivals. We know Daniel prayed—that was the excuse to bring charges against him—but as he prayed through his danger, he did not see his enemies turned back. They were not thwarted or defeated. They prevailed. They even were devious enough to deceive, then pressure the king to do their bidding. At no point did God step in and thwart the machinations of these evil men, so Daniel was led to the den and sealed in. Imagine this process of praying and seeing no rescue. Imagine the feeling of facing that pit. Then imagine the wonder of seeing the angel touch the mouths of the lions so they became as gentle as kittens. Think about the feelings of triumph when Daniel got to proclaim the might of his God to the king. While there was certainty that God was for Daniel, there was no assurance of how God would work it out. Shutting lions’ mouths was not the everyday manifestation of God’s power or favor. And, again, Daniel had to go through the process, not be spared it.

The point I’m trying to make in sharing these stories is, as believers, we have God’s promise that He is for us. We have faith that He is mighty enough to walk through the fire with us, part the seas for us, shut the mouths of lions, deliver us against a vast and powerful enemy, and even resurrect us, if that is what glorifies Him most in that moment. But we don’t have a guarantee that this is what He will do, nor the timing of the rescue. Our perspective is that of one going through the struggle in the moment, not of those looking back from a future vantage point on what God has already accomplished.

Ultimately what these and other examples of faithful God-followers have as their foundation is a firm grasp on the character of their God and their relationship with Him. They knew, unequivocally, that God is mighty enough to do things beyond their comprehension or imagination. They knew He loved His people and would fight for them. They believed that He answered prayers. And they had a sure and certain hope that went far beyond their lives on this planet. They held unswervingly to the fact that their salvation was not limited to their current circumstances, but was an eternal redemption and relationship.

That’s where we need to begin. We need to lay a rock-solid foundation in the character and nature of God. We need to have assurance that He is able to do amazing things beyond all we can ask or imagine. We need to study His character as it is revealed by Him in His Word, so that no matter what comes against us, we know who our God is.

Secondly, we need to be firm in our belief in His love for us, the certainty of our relationship with Him, and that He is for us. As Paul says in Romans 8:31b, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Do we believe that truth, or because we know we don’t deserve His favor, do we have lingering feelings that He’s looking for an excuse to put us in our place? What does His Word and His actions in Christ tell us about His being for us?

Thirdly, we need to remember that we are in the midst of it right now, not looking on our lives from the position of a retrospective. Like the Hebrews in captivity, or Daniel heading for the pit, or David on the run from Saul, or the Apostles in their various prisons, we don’t know the specific ways God plans to work out our deliverance. Like the three Hebrews, we may know that He is able to deliver, just not whether He will in this life or the next, or how He will help us, but it is our determination to trust in Him and be faithful until the end, because we believe He is faithful, and He is for us.