That’s a verse from the apostle Paul which you’ve probably heard at least once in your lifetime, and perhaps a verse that you remind yourself of every now and then. It’s one of those verses we cling to for comfort as Christians, and rightly so.
What is even more comforting is when we read stories in the Bible that allow us to see that verse in action. Because in these passages – a couple of which I will highlight below – “if God is for us” truly comes alive. Let’s start with this one:
That night the angel of the LORD went out and killed one hundred eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up early the next morning, they saw all the dead bodies.
(2 Kings 19:35 – NKJV)
In the verses preceding 2 Kings 19, the king of Assyria (bad guy) has threatened the king of Judah (good guy), saying he will overtake his land. At the same time, the king of Assyria has mocked the king of Judah, saying that the gods of other lands have been unable to hold off his armies, so Judah need not be deceived into thinking their God will be any different. Of course, the king of Assyria does not understand that there is only one true God, and our God is a mighty defender of His people! Verse 35 (above) tells of the Lord’s means of protecting His people in Judah from the attacking Assyrian army:
One angel of the Lord. One night. 185,000 enemy men dead. Pretty impressive.
If God is for us, who can be against us?!
The next passage is also from 2 Kings, but a few chapters earlier. The king of Aram was making war against the king of Israel. However, the king of Israel had Elisha, a prophet of the Lord, on his side. Elisha knew every move of the enemy, so he warned the king of Israel of danger in advance. The king of Aram was so frustrated by his continuously foiled maneuvers that he accused someone from his own camp of leaking information to the king of Israel. That’s where the verse below picks up, with the king of Aram’s servants explaining that it is not one of them, but it is Elisha who is guiding the king of Israel:
12“It’s not us, my lord,” one of the officers replied. “Elisha, the prophet in Israel, tells the king of Israel even the words you speak in the privacy of your bedroom!”
13The king commanded, “Go and find out where Elisha is, and we will send troops to seize him.”
And the report came back: “Elisha is at Dothan.” 14So one night the king of Aram sent a great army with many chariots and horses to surround the city. 15When the servant of the man of God got up early the next morning and went outside, there were troops, horses, and chariots everywhere.
“Ah, my lord, what will we do now?” he cried out to Elisha.
16“Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. “For there are more on our side than on theirs!” 17Then Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes and let him see!” The LORD opened his servant’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.
(2 Kings 6:12-17 – NLT)
Is that last verse a movie moment or what?! I got chills the first time I read it, imagining what the scene would look like. In verse 15, it appears that there is no hope. Then in verse 17, we realize there was no reason for alarm in the first place!
Elisha’s calming response to his servant was essentially an Old Testament variation of Paul’s statement in Romans: there are more for us than against us.
Elisha then prays to God that his servant will see this to be true. They have their own army of horses and chariots – of fire – standing guard! If one angel can take out 185,000, then imagine what a battalion of God’s horses and chariots of fire can do in defense of those He loves!
Too often, I think – at least speaking for myself – verses like “if God is for us, who can be against us?” become diluted positive affirmations. We lose sight of the powerful truth, which is demonstrated in these two passages in 2 Kings and in so many more instances throughout the Bible. (And I bet you have a testimony or two of your own of how God has shown up on your behalf in the past… He will do it again.)
I read this from Dick Eastman, president of Every Home for Christ ministry: “To believe the impossible, one must first see the invisible – the lesson Elisha taught his servant. Seeing into the invisible is a key to victorious praying – discerning spiritual issues from God’s perspective rather than man’s, seeing the adversary’s attack plan, and perceiving God’s angelic strike force.”
I encourage you to think about that for a while. We are not alone.
Truly, if God is for us, who can be against us?