“The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah! The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah!” With the arrival of spring and summer just around the corner, several different species are emerging from hibernation, appearing suddenly just when we were beginning to forget about them. In particular, ant hills are popping up here and there, preparing their arsenal against the human race. Ants – tiny little insects that can create a big mess.
Outside of a house in Suburbia, America, one such ant hill appeared with a river of ants flowing to and from it. The hundreds upon hundreds of ants formed a steady stream of traffic, creating a path across the sidewalk. They marched along the side of the brick house, right up to the front door. What could motivate these hundreds of insects to form a common plan of attack? The kitchen. A room filled with foods and crumbs of all kinds – a land flowing with milk and honey. And boy did they make their attack: around the table, by the sink, on the counters – these ants were planning a complete takeover. The nerve!
Weeks earlier, perhaps the ant king had sent 12 spies into the kitchen to stake it out. And when they returned, they reported on the giants living there. The giants living there were massive – not giants just twice as big as them, but giants thousands of times larger than them! These giants were arrogant and rude, acting like they owned the place; they could kill an ant with the mere squish of a finger. What did the ant community decide at that point? Did they schedule a vote to decide whether the risk would be worth it? How terrifying it must have been to journey into uncharted territory, a land filled with giants! What if they had decided against it? What if the spies’ reports were too much to handle and they decided to stay in their ant hill, scrounging around for food as usual?
In the end, however, they did decide that it was worth it. They planned, they hoped, and then they waged war because they decided that the spills of milk and drips of honey were completely worth it, even if it would be difficult and without any guarantee of victory.
Thousands of years ago, the Israelites were faced with a similar situation that this army of ants faced. Moses said to them, “You have reached the hill country of the Amorites, which the Lord our God is giving us. See, the Lord your God has given you the land. Go up and take possession of it as the Lord, the God of your fathers, told you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 1:20-21 NIV). And so the Israelites sent 12 spies into the land to scope it out, but the report came back mixed: the land was indeed flowing with milk and honey, but it was also inhabited by bigger and stronger people. Unlike the ants, this report stopped the Israelites in their tracks. And today, Spirit-filled Christ followers are still being stopped in their tracks by similar reports.
Yes, God has freely given us thousands of promises of abundant living and freedom and victory, but the enemies are also hurling their threats. What the Israelites might not have realized was that, unlike the ants, their victory was guaranteed. It was not a matter of if they fought, they might win the battle. No, it was a promise that if they fought, they would win the battle! But, if they chose not to fight or to stop fighting, then they had already lost. The Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years, not because they were incapable of winning or were too weak, but because they did not fight. They did not claim the victory that the Lord had promised them.
And the same is true for us now. We are promised victory because Jesus has already obtained the victory. Let that sink in for a second. If we fight, then we will win, but if we stop fighting, then we have already lost. The size of the enemy is irrelevant; the strength of the enemy is irrelevant; the track record of the enemy is irrelevant. But the size, strength, and track record of our victor, Jesus, is absolutely relevant. The Lord our God is stronger and bigger, faithful and true. He is the unfailing and undefeated champion of the cosmos. He promises to go before us into the battle, and to be our rear-guard. Remember all of the times He has been faithful in your past; He will be faithful again. There is no need to fear or worry for He holds the victory and He fights for His children; He is for us and He loves us. Like Romans 8:31 reminds us, who could possibly stand against us? Those pesky ants that march into your kitchen have no guarantee of victory, but we most certainly do! Praise God for that!
Consider the ants and take a lesson from them the next time you see one fearlessly crawling through your territory in a land of giants (Proverbs 6:6). Be courageous and fearlessly arm yourself for the battle as well, knowing that you have been promised the victory if you keep fighting.
Whatever enemy is facing you today – fear, anxiety, sin, discouragement- do not lose heart. Claim the victory that God intends for you to seize- healing, redemption, hope and life. remember what Moses said to the Israelites and choose to fight again, choose victory. “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the desert. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place” (Deuteronomy 1:29-31 NIV).
Carmen can be reached at [email protected] or by visiting www.hiccupz.com.