Today's post was written by BH member, Beth Middleton.
“Iron Chariots.” We all have them in our life, and most of us are afraid of them. We become afraid of iron chariots before we even see them in our future. What are our iron chariots? Do we not realize that God is greater than anything we may fear? Only the enemy brings iron chariots to deceive us.
While reading through Deuteronomy, I meditated upon the first verse of Deuteronomy 20. Moses gave direction to the Israelites about going into the Promise Land: “When you go out to battle against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the LORD your God is with you, who brought you up from the land of Egypt” (Deut. 20:1, NIV).
This verse is very profound to me for two reasons. One, the verse quotes “God is with you.” I have been highlighting and journaling all of the verses in the Bible which relate to this promise. The second reason this verse is so profound, is the word “chariot” which metaphorically relates to “iron chariots” in our Christian life.
I recently studied the book of Judges which is about the Israelites after entering the Promise Land. Judges 1:19 mentions the word “iron chariots” as a fearful object to the Israelites. “They took possession of the hill country, but they were unable to drive the people from the plains, because they had iron chariots.”
Stop! What happened to these people, God’s chosen nation? Look at the first sentence of Judges 1:19, “The LORD was with the men of Judah.” There is this special promise again of “God was with them.” How did these people quickly forget the miracles God had already performed, yet they were afraid? They were unable to drive the enemy out because the enemy had iron chariots?
Isn’t God more powerful than iron chariots? This same God destroyed the “iron chariots” in the Red Sea by his outstretched hand in Exodus 14:28. The same God said to the Israelites in Deuteronomy 20:1 that He would be with them. He told them to not be “fainthearted or afraid” and to “not be terrified or give way to panic” because He would be the one to go with them, fight for them and give their enemies to them as victory (Deut. 20:3-4).
How sad to see how God’s chosen people didn’t trust Him. They didn’t believe that He would be victorious for them, nor did they believe that He was with them. They didn’t even believe that He would fight for them. My goodness, no wonder God called them “stiff necked people” (Ex. 33:3)! He even told them that He would “send an angel before” them to “drive out the Cananites, Amorites, Hitites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites” (Ex. 33:2). He was so frustrated with the disobedience of the Israelites that He said He might destroy them if He went with them (Ex. 33:3).
Look beyond Judges 1:19 to all of the verses of failed attempts to conquering the enemy.
- Judges 1:21 says “the Benjamites failed to dislodge” the Jebusites who were living in Jerusalem. Were not the Jebusites, the enemy that God said that He would drive out in His promise?
- Judges 1:27-28 says, “But Manesseh did not drive out the people of…..for the Canaanites were determined to live in that land. When Israel became strong, they pressed the Canaanites into forced labor, but never drove them out completely.” The Canaanites were another enemy that God said He would drive out in Exodus 33:2. Verse after verse repeats “ nor did” or “neither did” a tribe “drive out.” The failure of disobedience, distrust and disbelief were the consequences of misery for the Israelites.
- Judges 2:2-3 is a frightening realization of their sinful choices when the angel of the Lord tells them that He will not drive the enemy out because of their disobedience. “Now therefore, I tell you that I will not drive them out before you; they will be thorns in your sides.” Ouch! Oh, the thorn of the enemy. How the enemy can be a snare to bring us down. He is determined to live in our land, to be the “Iron Chariot.”
Do you ever feel like that the Israelites were the most rebellious people ever to have walked the face of the earth? They had a victorious God who freed them from Egypt, who satisfied their every need, who gave them a land to take freely, and who fought their every battle. What was their problem? Why were they afraid, overcome with fear, terrified, faint-hearted, and panic stricken over iron chariots?
For the same reason we are. We FORGET. Somehow we forget that the same God who is Sovereign over the universe cares about us and the iron chariots that we face. We forget that our God has been victorious over iron chariots in our past. He destroyed the iron chariot” at the Red Sea by His outstretched arm. Exodus 13:14 says “the LORD will fight for you, you only need to be still.” WOW!
We can lay every frightening iron chariot in our life down before our LORD because He is still with us, His covenant still remains. His words are ever true. He gave us a gift more powerful that any frightening iron chariot. He gave us Jesus Christ. Jesus promised to be with us to the end of the age. Jesus Christ fights our battles. Jesus Christ is more powerful than anything we have to be frightened of, stressed about, panicked about, or terrified of. He has already won the battle. He is victorious over our enemy. Oh how the enemy can put a thorn in us and make us afraid to face some iron chariots. We must trust God’s promise that He is with us. Victory comes from God and no iron chariot is greater than He. Do not be afraid! “Stand firm and you WILL SEE the deliverance the LORD will bring you today” (Ex. 13:13).
"Oh, Sovereign LORD, I praise you Almighty Powerful God that you have overcome every 'iron chariot' already in my life. Help me stand firm, be still, and wait for Your great works today and forever more. Amen."