“And the LORD said unto me, Say unto them, Go not up, neither fight; for I am not among you; lest ye be smitten before your enemies.”
After Israel had refused to go into the Promised Land, God pronounced His judgment against the generation that refused to follow His Word by faith. When God told them that they would die in the wilderness, they changed their tune from refusing to go forward to wanting to go forward to conquer the Amorites as an attempt to show God that they would obey Him. However, sometimes it is a little late to choose obedience. They had already refused God’s will to go forward, so God refused to let them go into the Promised Land.
The people said in verse 41, “We have sinned against the LORD, we will go up and fight, according to all that the LORD our God commanded us.” They thought they could undo what they had done by organizing to go and destroy the Amorites. God’s response to this action is found in the verse above when He says, “…Go not up, neither fight; for I am not among you…” God was putting His hand up to tell these people to stop, but they sadly refused His Word again and went forward to the detriment of many.
Every Christian will at times find themselves on the wrong side of God because of sinful and faithless decisions and actions. We can try to put on a facade that everything is still the same, but Christians know when they have disappointed God. There are times in the Christian life when you just need to stop. The verse above shows two times when you need to stop and get things corrected.
First, it is time to stop when you have sinned against God. Israel disobeyed God, and they thought going forward would cause God to overlook their actions. When you have sinned, it is time to stop and get things right with the LORD. Going forward without dealing with sin is like ignoring cancer in the body and thinking that ignoring it will stop it from spreading. You can ignore the sin you have committed but it only causes it to come back again, and it will always be bigger the next time. You will never find God’s blessings on your life until you confess your sin. You are hurting yourself when you choose to go forward without taking sin out of your life.
Second, it is time to stop when God’s presence is not with you. God warned Israel that He was not among them; yet, they still went forward and found out that they couldn’t win the battles without Him. You can try to do the LORD’s work without His presence and power, but you will find yourself failing miserably and having to clean up a mess that the flesh caused. You cannot do the work of God in the flesh. It takes the power of the Holy Spirit to do God’s work. Preacher, you can’t preach the truths of God with effectiveness without the power of the Holy Spirit. Christian, you can’t perform the ministries with which you are involved with productiveness without the power of the Holy Spirit. When you find yourself doing the work of God without the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, it is time to stop.
Let me ask you, do you need to stop? Is the red light flashing in your heart because sin and powerless living are controlling your life? The best thing to do is stop, clean up your sin, and get God’s power so He can do the work through you that He desires to do. Be careful not to be so presumptuous that you go forward when God tells you to stop.