“O God, we have heard with our ears,
our fathers have told us,
what deeds you performed in their days,
in the days of old:
you with your own hand drove out the nations,
but them you planted;
you afflicted the peoples,
but them you set free;
for not by their own sword did they win the land,
nor did their own arm save them,
but your right hand and your arm,
and the light of your face,
for you delighted in them.
You are my King, O God;
ordain salvation for Jacob!
Through you we push down our foes;
through your name we tread down those who rise up against us.
For not in my bow do I trust,
nor can my sword save me.
But you have saved us from our foes
and have put to shame those who hate us.
In God we have boasted continually,
and we will give thanks to your name forever.” Psalm 44:1-8
Prior to the written or published word, history was perpetuated orally. When God set apart Israel as His people, He ordained that they guard, keep, and pass down His word for the coming generations. No spin, no affected editorializing, no exaggeration, rather, under divine inspiration, just a true record and communication of events and doctrine. And those made for exciting listening! The accurate recounting of history is a beautiful rendition of Sovereign God’s initiative, love, might, and mercy. It also inspires deep reverence and faith. (Romans 9:4-5; 2 Peter 1:20-21)
God’s people lived among enemies whom He drove out and afflicted, but them, His own, God saved and set free. They did not win on their own, by strength or strategy, but by the light and favor of God’s face and the power of His affection for them.
This history of God and His people is a continuum, and them He rescued are now us whom He helps and delivers. The God who performed great deeds in days of old performs them in days of new and now. He is King, He still ordains salvation; we can boast in Him and give thanks. His word enables us to turn from what He has done to what He now does, presently, for His people, and it is magnificent!
Today and all around, foes arise, and lurk: enemies of freedom and faith, individuals and temptations and movements that steal, kill, deceive, divide, and destroy. But our God rules over and is stronger than all. He equips us to trample doubt, and pressure, and despair, in faith and truth. He rescues, and preserves us in His strength and name. (John 10:10)
“Stand up, stand up for Jesus
ye soldiers of the cross;
lift high his royal banner,
it must not suffer loss:
from vict’ry unto vict’ry
his army he shall lead,
’til ev’ry foe is vanquished,
and Christ is Lord indeed…
Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
stand in his strength alone;
the arm of flesh will fail you,
ye dare not trust your own:
put on the gospel armor,
each piece put on with pray’r;
where duty calls, or danger,
be never wanting there.” ~ George Duffield (1858)
Oh my God, may I remember what You have done, and daily rely on Your present help and guidance. May my boast and strength be in You only.