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Words For Battle

Posted by Jerrod McDaniel on

When I was a kid in church, I remember this song we used to sing. I mostly remember it because the chorus seemed to repeat on a loop over and over. It went something like this:

Standing, standing,
Standing on the promises of God my Savior!
Standing, standing,
I’m standing on the promises of God!

(One more time!)

To be honest, I found it to be a little hokey, even back then. (Sorry if that’s your favorite hymn of all time.) Stylistic preference, I guess. But the truth is that, in the moments when we really have to stand on the promises of God, there will rarely be a joyous organ rhythm cheering us on in the background. I think of the moment when Joshua was faced with the daunting task of leading the Israelites. His mentor was dead, and he was facing certain battle with hordes of powerful enemies. And what was God’s encouragement to Joshua?

I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.
— Joshua 1:3–6

He told Joshua that he could stand on his promises, even the very same promises he gave Moses. And these weren’t wimpy promises. These were bold, remarkable statements like: “No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life.” So when we face the overwhelming hardships and battles of this life, we have a Bible full of promises to stand on. I think back on all the great movie moments (and real life ones) when a rousing speech or a powerful statement of hope rallies the troops for the fight ahead. Like in Braveheart, when William Wallace took a cowering crowd and turned them into roaring warriors with a single speech. That’s the power of words of truth, specifically when we believe in them. That’s the power of promises we can stand on.

So what promises do you need to be reminded of this Monday as you march into battle? I find myself often looking in Romans 8 for these kinds of promises. And there we find strikingly similar assurances to the ones given to Joshua so many years before, bold promises of God’s power and love:

If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
— Romans 8:31–39

Remember these promises as you face the week, and as you strive to be strong and courageous, all the while remembering that God is with you.

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