Did you ever fight tooth and nail for something? Perhaps there was some injustice in the world that caused you to stand up and boldly state your resistance. Maybe you had a circumstance arise that demanded you fight hard. Today’s passage speaks of a love for God’s law, a love that causes one to fight tooth and nail.
Fighting tooth and nail means fighting with every means available. You don’t hold back. You use everything you got in the fight. You put it all on the line because you care so much. Today’s passage says that if you love God’s law, you will fight just like that to defend it, to stand up for it, to uphold it.
Did you realize you were in a tough battle in this world? Not only is there a battle for your soul which Christ already sealed as a victory so long as you believe, but there is another battle all around this world. People are battling to knock God out of His creation. People are trying to take away public prayer. People are trying to ban people from practicing Christianity. People are stealing Bibles, twisting Scripture, and improperly representing Christ. If you love God’s law, if you love God, I pray you fight tooth and nail. He doesn’t need you to fight for Him—you need you to fight for Him. It’s about passion. It’s about love. It’s about being all in though many in the world are totally out. You can sit on the sidelines and desert God and His Word—“you’re free to embrace depravity,” or you can fight. You can stand firm. You can boldly declare the Name of Christ and embrace His will for your life.
“If you desert God’s law, you’re free to embrace depravity;
if you love God’s law, you fight for it tooth and nail.”
-Proverbs 28:4 [MSG]
In 2 Chronicles, it says that the people would “not even need to fight.” They were to “stand still and watch the LORD’s victory.” Sometimes we do not like to “stand still.” Most people are okay with watching television, but when it comes to our own lives, we think we have to do something. We have to do something to fix everything. Look around and you’ll see the evidence.
In this verse the people are told to take their positions. They were to be ready. But they were not going to have to do anything. They would be watching the Lord as He did great things. They simply had to watch with eyes open and see the victory.
For every situation in life, it is not always going to be the same. You will not always need to be fighting and keeping busy toward the goal. There are times when God will have you slow down for a moment so He can show you His great power and control. When you are to stand still, be sure to stand still. Open your eyes and see what the Lord has done.
“But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the LORD’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the LORD is with you!” – 2 Chronicles 20:17 [NLT]
When the Israelites were to go into the Promised Land, there were areas that were appointed by God for each tribe (except Levi) for their inheritance. If you turn to Joshua 19:40-48, it will state the land area that was given to the Danites. Yet in Judges 18, we read that the tribe of Dan was trying to find a place to settle. They had not moved into the land that God had given them. Rather than fight for the land that God had appointed to them, Dan instead wanted to scout out some new land.
God had given them land as an inheritance but they wanted some other land. They did not want to fight—to do the work necessary—to get the land. God is a promise keeper. God gave them this land. But they did not trust God to see them through or they did not want to do the necessary fighting to get what God had given them.
Is there something God has promised you, but you have turned to some other land? Some other occupation? Some other project? Something else because the leg work did not look appealing? Something else because you did not truly believe that God would provide what He promised? There was fighting when the tribes would enter their allotted area. Some pushed forward in faith and received what they were given. Others, when pushed back, turned around to find a plan B for themselves. God has one plan for your life. Don’t turn around for a plan B.
“Now in those days Israel had no king. And the tribe of Dan was trying to find a place where they could settle, for they had not yet moved into the land assigned to them when the land was divided among the tribes of Israel.” – Judges 18:1 [NLT]
Everyone is different and this can cause many disagreements. We all have varying ideas, a different way of doing things, different beliefs, etc. Disputes pop up and when they do, it is important to not let them create an atmosphere of discord and cause us to react in poor ways. We can learn a lot from how Abraham handled a dispute with Lot.
In Genesis 13, Abraham and Lot’s herders began to fight because the land couldn’t support all of the people, the herds, and the possessions. God had blessed Abraham well, but it ended up resulting in tight living quarters. Abraham took initiative when it came to resolving the dispute with Lot. He did not want any of the fighting to cause problems between them. He gave Lot first choice of land so they could part ways and spread out. In making this offer, Lot could choose the best of the land, meaning that Abraham would suffer some loss.
Sometimes we need to take initiative when it comes to resolving disputes. It may mean that we won’t have the better choice, but it does having promising results. Fighting is not good and it usually results in bringing both parties downward. Acting with humility has great rewards. If you are in the middle of a dispute or argument right now, perhaps today is a good day to act with humility.
“A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.” – Proverbs 15:1 [NLT]
Not long ago, a professor and I were having a discussion about having confidence in the Lord rather than in ourselves. We then moved our thoughts to competitions. Within the discussion, the professor challenged me with 1 Corinthians 9:24, where Paul wrote, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win” (NASB). This passage is telling us that running is not the same as winning. We need to win the race. We need to finish the race to win. However, it is not a race where there is only one winner. We each can receive our crowns if we finish the race. It is all about running the race to the finish line. As 2 Timothy 4:7 states, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (ESV). At the end of the race, it’s all about keeping the faith; it’s all about trusting in God to the finish.
The big problem that we have with running our own race is that which deters us and moves us away from our walk with Christ. The writer of Hebrews wrote, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1 NIV). This passage warns us that there are things that will hinder us in this race. In John Bunyan’s book, “The Pilgrim’s Progress,” this man name Christian is on his journey to salvation and the Celestial City, only to meet up with a wide array of people who tell him to turn around or try to give him another way to travel. Each person tries to hinder his race, some more purposeful than others. Paul says this in Galatians, “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?” (5:7 NIV).
You see, this race to the finish is not a race where we are competing against others. We are competing against ourselves and our own sin nature. We are to be running forward, trusting God, running in the way of Christ, obeying the Truth. There are many runners on the course with us, some running right alongside us, others trying to get us to turn around, others falling asleep on the course, and others trying to get us to attempt taking a “short cut” which really isn’t a short cut to the finish line, but a derailment. Then there are those runners who make it a competition in hopes of getting a better position in heaven or to draw attention to themselves here on earth, and these runners have somewhat derailed themselves too.
Philippians 2:6 of the NLT says, “Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless.” Paul encourages us to follow the Word of God, to run the race that is set before us as Christ ran the race, following the Word of God. So keep running. Keep following the course set before us. Many will try to hinder us whether purposely or not, but if we cling to the Word of God and trust in Him who is faithful, we will have victory.