I am constantly on the lookout for the promises of God in the Bible and I have a Bible solely for that purpose so I can mark them out. Each promise then gets turned into an instagram picture for @promiseseeker. I truly believe that if we get to grips with God’s promises our lives will look hugely different - we will be free, confident in His ability rather than our own. Currently, I’m working through Matthew. This morning I came across, “the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 24:13)
As a family we started talking about what it means to stand firm. What it means to be unshakable, immovable when things are trying to topple you over. When the stuff of life comes at you with force leaving you feeling wobbly or uncertain. We talked about how do we stand firm? How do we make ourselves solid? What happens in a rugby game when someone comes to tackle you? How do you stand firm? We even made up actions to help us think about and remember this verse.
And then later today, I come across these two verses:
But the LORD stands beside me like a great warrior.
In his unfailing love, my God will stand with me.
How great is that?! When we are feeling weak, when we’re not feeling strong enough to have a firm stance, the idea of standing firm feels a little bit out of reach. A little bit too difficult. A little bit beyond our capabilities. We’re told in Ephesians that to stand firm we need to put on the armour of God. Again, our responsibility, our duty. But what if even that feels too tricky? What if standing itself feels too much?
It reminds me of the passage in Exodus where the Israelites are under attack from the Amalekite army. All the while that Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but when he lowered his hands, the Amalekites would start to win. The Good News Translation says that, “When Moses’ arms grew tired, Aaron and Hur brought a stone for him to sit on, while they stood beside him and held up his arm, holding them steady until the sun went down.” (Exodus 17:12 GNT, my emphasis).
Sometimes we need people to stand alongside us in order for us to win the battle we’re facing. Sometimes we need someone to stand with us in order to remain firm in our stance. But what if today you look around and aren’t sure who those people could be? Then take heart. Because, “in his unfailing love, my God will stand” with you, just as he stands with me. He stands beside us “like a great warrior”.
So to be saved, we don’t have to stand firm alone. We were never meant to. Sometimes God sends people like Aaron and Hur to stand beside us as God with skin. But always, God stands with us. Stephen’s vision ahead of his death saw Jesus “standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:56). Whenever the Bible talks about Jesus in heaven he is either ‘at’ God’s side or sitting at His side. I like to think that in Stephen’s greatest moment of need, Jesus stood up. He stood alongside him, stood up to be seen and to support Stephen. Jesus stood up to welcome him home.
And I think Jesus wants to do that for you too. The cross was all about standing for you. All about standing beside you as a result of his unfailing love. All about standing like a great warrior so you didn’t have to. Often we think of the cross as the place where Jesus lay down his life. I think we can also consider it as the place He stood up. Stood up to death. Stood up to all the devil’s plans to divide, destroy and kill. Stood up to the things that are contrary to the Kingdom of God.
So the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. Jesus, in his death, stood up for you. He stands for you. You don’t need to be firm in your own strength, alone and isolated. You can stand firm with the cross as your foundation. Stand firm relying on the stand that Jesus took. He is afterall the one who does the saving so we may as well rely on his standing too. I’m so grateful that in his unfailing love he stands beside us. No matter what you’re facing. No matter what is shaking your foundations. No matter what terrifies you. No matter what. He stands.