The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath, are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.” Deut. 33:27
The text quoted above is part of the blessing bestowed on Israel by Moses just prior to the latter’s death. Taken as a whole, the text is both a beautiful confession and a rich promise. Moses here confesses that beneath all things are the everlasting arms of God. Underneath all the events transpiring before the eyes of the children of Israel, Moses by faith sees the controlling hand of God. We have here, also, a rich and blessed promise. Moses not only vows, but assures the Israelites that the Land of Promise will surely be theirs — that the enemy shall be cast out and that Israel will possess the land of their inheritance. Truly, this text is an expression of the eternal, covenant faithfulness of our God.
We must see, however, that though these words were spoken many years ago by Moses, their application is not restricted in scope merely to the Israelites. They are as applicable to the church of today as they have ever been to the church of all ages.
Analyzing our text we see that these words were spoken by Moses just shortly before the Israelites began their march into the land of Canaan. Moses undoubtedly was aware of the seemingly insurmountable odds which the people faced. The Canaanites were the strongest of all the nations. They were fierce, cruel, devilish men, driven by their own lusts, men who cared not one wit for the cause of Christ and his people. These Canaanites had filled their cup of iniquity and now God was visiting them in just judgment. His tool for punishing these evil Canaanites was his people Israel. But how could Israel prevail against these ungodly men? As a nation she was most insignificant in comparison to her foes in Canaan. But the Lord had fitted her for his purpose and she would carry out his good counsel.
So it is, also, today. Looking about the world around us, our situation seems hopeless. On every hand we view sickness and death. Many are weighed down by the load of poverty and want. There is war and rumors of war, political unrest, and economic distress. Disease and famine abound. Social evils and racial turmoil are widespread. There is a disregard and blatant disobedience of authority such as the world has never seen. Theft, murder, beatings, rebellion, all crime and sexual perversion are increasing by such vast dimensions that even the world itself is caused to gasp. Jesus’ words in Matthew 24 verses 6 through 8 are even now being fulfilled. “And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.”
But our situation is apparently much more hopeless than this. For besides the absolutely doomed state of this world, the church today is in dire straits. Within her we see rampant apostacy and unholiness. We view the growth of heresy and false teachings. Members of that church, so- called “Christians,” have no regard for the things pertaining to Christ and his kingdom, no affection for that which is righteous. Rather, we see the modern church, with both hands extended, warmly embracing the world and all its iniquity.
But, oh, fellow Christian, this is not yet the full picture. Besides the hopelessness of the world in which we live and that evidenced by the modern church, we must see and confess our own hopelessness! We are desperately lost sinners, wretched and miserable before the face of God. We are sinful men and our God is a consuming fire, a God who dwells in a light unto which no man can approach. We are dead!! Talk about hopeless, that’s just about the farthest extent there is.
Oh yes, what seemingly insurmountable, unconquerable odds face the children of God as they journey on their pilgrimage to the heavenly Canaan. Forces innumerable and mighty constantly battle us. The world continually presses in upon us. But be of good cheer, underneath are the everlasting arms! We are the children of God, he is our God and will certainly be our guide even unto death. Though the world seeks to extinguish our light, though it purpose to wipe us off from the very face of the earth, we need not be afraid! Isaiah says in his forty-first chapter, verse ten, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
And so, even as the Israelites were called to go forward against a seemingly unbeatable foe, we are also. For, underneath are the everlasting arms of our God! The world situation is indeed hopeless. The nature and condition of the modern church is also hopeless. In and of ourselves we, too, are desperately lost creatures. But our God is a covenant God, a faithful God. And he who loved us from before the very foundation of this world shall surely accomplish his will in us. Even as Israel went forward into Canaan, in faith, propelled by God, we must go forward on our life’s pathway. As Israel was victorious over her enemies as God was with her, so are we, as we fight with the sword of the Lord. And God will be with us, he is forever the faithful one. Listen: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God.” Romans 8:28. “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32. “His compassions fail not, they are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness!” Lamentations 3:22, 23.
Let us then go onward, through whatever may come into our lives, confident that God is leading. Knowing that if he is our leader we have nothing to fear, we shall surely inherit the eternal Land of Promise.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, give us the faith to see, even as Moses did, thy controlling hand in all things; to view all the events transpiring before us in this world, as fulfilling thy good counsel. With grateful hearts, oh Lord, we confess, great is thy faithfulness!! Amen.s