Summary: We are instructed to be aware of how our enemy works against us. However, it is also essential to know how God works. We need to learn His tactics so that we won't miss His hand moving in our life.
Pt. 1 - Before
In the New Testament, Paul instructs us to be aware of how our enemy works. In 2 Corinthians 2:11, he says “After all, we don’t want to unwittingly give Satan an opening for yet more mischief—we’re not oblivious to his sly ways!” We are to be familiar with his tactics so that we don’t become vulnerable to those attacks. That is why you must know your weaknesses and the schemes the enemy continues to throw at you that cause you to stumble. But I have come to the conclusion that more than a fair share of us have focused so much on what our enemy is doing and how he works that we have in turn failed to recognize or become familiar with how God works. We don’t know His tactics so the result is we tend to ignore Him, fight Him, miss Him, and even think His work is the enemies work.
So, we are trying to learn how God works so that we cooperate and participate with Him!
The Children of Israel and Joshua have followed the lead of Moses for years now. Every step, every decision, every direction, every command, every stop all done under his watch. Now Moses gets word from God that he is done. His days in leadership are over. The deliverer is going to exit the scene. The man, the mouth piece, the legend is going to be gone. God sends a word through Moses to the people and to Joshua. In this word, we see a revelation of a tactic that God uses. It is a tactic that is repeated several times throughout Scripture.
And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.
Moses declares "He is the One who goes before you." That comment is repeated countless times in Psalms. It is repeated in Isaiah . . . “I will go before you and make the crooked paths straight; I will break in pieces the gates of bronze and cut the bars of iron.” Isaiah 45:2
So one of God's tactics is to go before us in battle. He walks into a situation before we get there. This is an important statement especially when we get to next week. He prepares the way ahead of our arrival!
Let me point out some things about this tactic before we jump into some things I think we need to learn about this tactic.
Let me start by saying that we should be extremely thankful for this tactic and much more aware of it. God going before us means that He takes preemptive strikes against the enemy. He prepares the way for us! In other words, we should be thankful and aware because He has won victories you don't even know about! We get victories in places we haven't even fought or where we have spilled no blood. It is the Jehoshaphat victory. We show up and it is all over. We are kept. Preserved. We walk in and the army is defeated. We didn't even sniff the enemy, we never exerted any effort, prayed a prayer, fasted a meal and yet we walk into victory. We never planted a seed and yet we still reap a harvest.
You may say everywhere I look there is pain, trial, struggle, and turmoil but stop just one second . . . think about this . . . what if God didn't go before you. Things that may seem bad now could have been worse. What is causing you discomfort now could have destroyed you without His presence preceding you. What causes you tears now could have caused your total breakdown if He had booked a flight that got Him there before you. What costs you now could have bankrupted you, what has you limping now could have handicapped you permanently, what is slowing you down now could have stopped you forever. I am thankful that God goes before me! I must become aware of this tactic so that as I move forward in life I become more away of His preparing hand!
There are a couple of things I want to talk about regarding God going before us.
1. We must learn to track Him.
The tough thing about this tactic is that it isn't always easy to see where He has been. It would be easier if everywhere He went was like tracking the path of a tornado or fire. Discernable. Distinct. However, it isn't always like that. We tend to have an easier time tracking Him when we arrive on scene and the enemy is routed and there is and there are spoils everywhere. We know God went before Gideon, before Jehoshaphat, before David in 2 Samuel 5 where God moved in the Mulberry Bushes and ambushed the Philistines. We like that. However, would you also say that God prepared the way for Joseph? Job? Paul? The fact is that sometimes when He goes ahead of us the path He clears involves prisons, pain, shipwrecks, and snake bites.