The images coming out of Ukraine are heartbreaking! Russian invaders have come with tanks, bombs, and air support that make it look impossible for the Ukrainians to overcome. A humanitarian crisis has resulted as families scramble to leave their country. It is estimated that over one million people have poured into surrounding countries. Men, ages 18 through 60 must remain to battle the Russian forces. One wonders how these men can hope to take back their homeland.
Those who do not know the Lord surely do not have the same encouragement that Christians do. Believers can read in Scripture the stories of how God helped His people win battles with odds that were impossible in the eyes of the world. After the children of Israel left Egypt, they were trapped between the Red Sea and the entire Egyptian army. Moses told them, "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." (Exodus 14:14) After crossing the Red Sea on dry land they watched as the entire Egyptian army was swept into the sea. "Not one of them survived." (Exodus 14:28) Another outstanding victory for God's people is recorded in 2 Chronicles 20. During the reign of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, the Moabites and Ammonites joined forces to war against Judah. When Jehoshaphat cried out to the Lord for protection against this vast army, he was instructed to have faith in the prophets and to appoint men to sing praises to the Lord as they marched at the head of their army. Judah's armies watched the opposing armies turn on one another and run. They were completely defeated!
The story of Gideon in Judges 6 and 7 is one of my favorites and shows how God fights for His people against overwhelming odds. When we are introduced to Gideon, he and his tribe were so fearful of the Midianites that Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress. An angel of the Lord visited him with this greeting: "The Lord is with you mighty warrior!" (Judges 6:12) Gideon's response when he was told to save Israel is telling: "How can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family." (Judges 6:15) The answer from the Lord then came: "I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive." (Judges 6:16) Not only did God keep His promise, but Gideon won the battle with only 300 men! Again, the enemies of Judah turned against one another and were defeated.
I picture the Ukrainian army like Gideon's. We must pray that they cry out to the Lord for help. There is a solid Christian community in Ukraine along with a large Jewish population. Perhaps if they join forces in prayer to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob He will reward their unity. To those who call upon His name He gives wisdom, strength, and overcoming power. Deuteronomy 20 is a recording of God's principles for warfare. "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. So it shall be, when you are on the verge of battle, that the priest shall approach and speak to the people. And he shall say to them, 'Hear, O Israel: Today you are on the verge of battle with your enemies. Do not let your heart faint, do not be afraid, and do not tremble or be terrified because of them; for the Lord your God is He who goes with you, to fight against your enemies, to save you.'" (Verses 1-4)
King David saw the faithfulness of God in many battles and was inspired to write praises and petitions for it in Psalm 144. Here are parts of this Psalm from the New Living Translation. "Praise the Lord, who is my rock. He trains my hands for war and gives my fingers skill for battle. He is my loving ally and my fortress, my tower of safety, my rescuer. He is my shield, and I take refuge in Him...Open the heavens, Lord, and come down...Scatter your enemies...Reach down from heaven and rescue me...Save me! Rescue me from the power of my enemies. Their mouths are full of lies...May there be no enemy breaking through our walls, no going into captivity, no cries of alarm in our town squares. Yes, joyful are those who live like this! Joyful indeed are those whose God is the Lord." Let us declare this Psalm for the Ukrainians and praise God that He is with them in their time of trouble. May Heaven come to earth in this situation.
Joan E. Mathias