A line from my daily devotion struck me hard today. The scene is the book of Judges, specifically the account of the Judge-Prophetess Deborah and the struggle against Jabin king of Canaan and the commander of his army, Sisera. (Judges 4-5)
Barak, an army commander from Israel, seemed to be afraid to fight Sisera’s army. He wasn’t listening to God’s command to head out to battle. Deborah chided him a bit for this, and he still wouldn’t go out until she went with him. That’s where the line comes in.
Deborah comforted and encouraged Barak by saying, Does not the Lord go out before you? (Judges 4:14) The implied answer being, “yes, he does!” He will go out into battle with you, and he will conquer your enemy!
I have no wars to fight. I’m not a commander of battle. But I do God’s work as a pastor. I preach the law and the gospel. I teach God’s Word. I love God’s people that he’s placed under me in this congregation. But I still sometimes get discouraged. I think I haven’t done enough. I dwell on my faults. I think going out and doing the work just isn’t worth it sometimes.
But…does not the Lord go out before me? Of course he does. He is at my right hand. In Christ, he’s forgiven me. He’s prepared a place in eternal life. He has uniquely equipped me to serve where I am, when I am. I have his gifts, his forgiveness, his presence with me at all times.
So I will go out! The Lord goes out with me.