Day 15: Contend for Me
God loves it when we fight for Him. But God loves it even more when we let Him fight for us! How do we do that? When we hit our knees, God extends His mighty right hand on our behalf. When we pray, He fights our battles for us. So keep fighting the good fight, but let God fight for you.
Prayer is the way we let go and let God. Prayer is the way we take our hands off and let God put His hands on. Prayer is the difference between you fighting for God and God fighting for you.
Contend, Lord, with those who contend with me;
Fight against those who fight against me …
Awake, and rise to my defense!
Contend for me, my God and Lord.
I love the Hebrew word translated “contend” in these verses. It’s two-dimensional. It refers to both physical combat and verbal combat. So it runs the gamut from cage fighting to courtrooms. In terms of physical combat, God is like the mother grizzly that protect her cubs. It is God’s instinctive nature because we are the apple of His eye. If anyone messes with us, they are messing with our heavenly Father.
In terms of verbal combat, God is like the defense attorney that pleads our case, pleads our case. When our backs are against the wall, God has our backs. When everything is on the line, God steps in. Satan is the accuser of the brethren, but he’s no match for the Paraclete.
The New Testament depiction of his is a little more defined. We actually have two intercessors. The Holy Spirit is interceding for us with groans that cannot be uttered. Long before we woke up this morning and long after we go to sleep tonight, the Holy Spirit was and is circling us in prayer. And if that doesn’t infuse us with holy confidence, I don’t know what will. But it isn’t just the Holy Spirit who is interceding for us; the son og God is interceding for us as well. They are interceding for the will of God to be accomplished in our lives. We are double circled. They are circling us all the time with songs of deliverance. […]
The First Official Prayer
On September 7, 1774, the Continental Congress held its first official meeting at Carpenter’s Hall in Philadelphia. Their first official act was prayer. And it wasn’t some perfunctory prayer that was nothing more than protocol; it was a good old-fashioned prayer meeting. Our founding fathers prayed with fervency and intensity. Earwitnesses heard them interceding several blocks away. Eyewitnesses said Henry, Randolph, Rutledge, Lee, and Jay were doubled over as they bowed in reverence before God. John Adams later recounted that it “has had an excellent effect upon every body here.” And not surprisingly, General George Washington ended up on his knees. These revolutionaries knew their case was doomed to fail without divine intervention. They prayed like it depended on God because they knew it did.
The pastor who led them in prayer that morning was Dr. Jacob Duche. The Scripture he turned to? Psalm 35. He prayed that just as the Lord contended for David, God would contend for their cause if it were a righteous one. Dr. Suche’s prayer is more than just a piece of our history; it’s a piece of our destiny.
O Lord, our heavenly Father, high and might King of kings and Lord of lords, who dost from Thy throne behold all dwellers on the earth, and reignest with power supreme and uncontrolled over all the kingdoms, Empires, and Governments; look down in mercy, we beseech thee, on these our American states who have fled to Thee from the rod of the oppressor and thrown themselves on Thy gracious protection, desiring to be henceforth dependent only on Thee…
Be Thou present, O God of wisdom, and direct the councils of this honorable assembly … Shower down on them and the millions they here represent, such temporal blessings as Thou seeist expedient for them in this world and crown them with everlasting glory in the world to come. All this we ask in the name and through the merits of Jesus Christ, Thy Son and our Savior. Amen.
Our prayers don’t have expiration dates. That’s why I believe this prayer is still being answered 238 years later. It is part of our prayer genealogy as Americans. This was a genesis prayer. It was the very first prayer uttered at the start of the revolution. It was a prayer for every American henceforth. And it is still being answered. There is no other explanation for the improbability of America. God contended for our cause.
That is our history. That is our destiny.
I’m certainly no suggesting that America is always right and never wrong. Like every nation’s history, ours is dotted with grievous sins. But the only explanation for the blessings we’ve experienced is the favor of God.
If you are on God’s side, then God is on your side. God will fight for you as you fight for Him. And you can live with holy confidence, knowing that when God is contending for your cause, your cause is destined to succeed. This doesn't mean there won’t be setbacks and sacrifices along the way; it just means the war has already been won.
1. Title and paragraph 1: Psalm 35
2. Paragraph 4, when Mark mentioned the grizzly bear, I thought of the following verses:
At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
2 Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, 3 and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
6 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!
10 “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. 11 For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.
12 “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? 13 And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. 14 Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.
18 “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
19 “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”
14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
16 For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17 For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives. 18 Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood. 19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people,20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.”[b] 21 Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. 22 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.
23 Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another— 26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, 28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.
26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us[b] with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”[c]
37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,[c] against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.