God is my Co-Pilot Pilot
by Dr. Ken Matto
Have you ever seen the bumper sticker which reads "God is my Co-Pilot?" When one analyzes that statement it is rather arrogant that a person would assign God second place in their life. How do you think Moses would have fared if he would have went to Pharaoh with an attitude that God was his assistant? I really don’t think Moses would have been able to manufacture all the plagues and then lead these people for 40 years without God being the leader. In fact, Moses would probably have been either executed or laughed out of the court of Pharaoh.
One of the major reasons that many Christians fail on a consistent basis in their lives is because they want to do the leading and then use God as a back up in case their plans do not work out. This attitude is always a platform for failure. One of the most comforting verses in Scripture for the true child of God and probably one of the most neglected is the following:
(Deu 31:8 KJV) And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.
When we look at this verse we see in the aggregate a beautiful promise of God to care for His children but when we look at the verse closer, we see 4 beautiful promises and two commands which are based upon the four promises.
And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee...
This first promise is that no matter what a person is facing the Lord has already gone "in front of" that person. This is what "before" means. God is not a general who sits in the back lines but rather He is in the forefront of the battle for His children. David knew this principle well as we read in the following verse. (1 Sam 17:47 KJV) And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give you into our hands. David saw his confrontation with Goliath as the Lord’s battle and not his own. His confidence was in the Lord and David was so convinced that God was in control of the situation that he literally stepped out on faith and put his life on the line. One thing we must keep in mind here is that even though David’s faith was great in God, he still had to physically face Goliath. This confrontation resulted in both the Army of Israel and the Army of the Philistines seeing the glory of God in battle. The cross was the glory of God in the battle against evil and it resulted in the salvation of millions. Even though we are saved by grace, we still need to face those Goliaths in the world but the good news is God has already prepared the way. Did David have second thoughts about facing Goliath when he stepped out to meet him? I do not believe he did for one simple reason, when you are in a battle it is incumbent upon a good soldier to never let his enemy out of his sight and always plan your move according to his moves. A great verse when facing life’s Goliaths is one of my favorites. (Zec 4:7 KJV) Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it. Notice the principle in this verse that even though your situation looks like a mountain, God will make it a plain. God doth go before us.
And the LORD, ...he will be with thee,
The second promise is that the Lord will be with us. Not only does He go before us to prepare us for the battle and to set up the circumstances for our victory, He will also be with us in the battle. God never takes His children and places them in a battle and then waits to see the outcome. God is strategically involved in the spiritual warfare of His children. Daniel knew this principle well. When the decree was signed that no one was permitted to pray to any God but only to King Darius, Daniel knew what the consequence of obedience to God was. It was death. Daniel had a such an intimate relationship with God that it did not concern him what the penalty was, he was going to pray in his customary manner to seek the face of God. Daniel prayed and was caught by his jealous peers and this resulted in him being thrown into a den of lions. It is believed that Daniel was over 80 years old at this time. So Daniel goes into the lion’s den and the Lord sends His angel to protect Daniel from the natural ferocity of lions. It would not surprise me if those lions turned into big cats which snuggled up next to Daniel to keep him warm. (Prov 16:7 KJV) When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him. The next morning King Darius ran to the den to see if Daniel survived the night. Daniel assured the King he was fine and the perpetrators of this false crime against Daniel were tossed into the lion’s den and I am sure the lions were well fed. If God was with Daniel in the den, and with the 3 Hebrew boys in the furnace, will He not be with you when you face your lions and furnaces?
This is a missionary story I heard when I was a young Christian about a small child who was lost in the African jungle. Apparently the child wandered from the missionary station into the bush. Well they searched for the child for a long time and finally found him. When they did, the child said that while he was lost a big pussy cat was with him. With the description the child gave the missionaries then realized that the Lord had sent a lion to protect that child till they found him. I wish young Christians today would pay more attention to missionaries than to these so-called Christian sports figures or artists.
And the LORD, ..., he will not fail thee,
The third promise is that the Lord will not fail you. I believe Jehoshaphat knew this principle well. The Ammonites, the Moabites and others were assembled to attack Judah. It was an overwhelming army ready to pounce on Israel. Jehoshaphat knew this and instantly sought the Lord and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. Then Jehoshaphat prays to God reminding Him of His past protection of Israel against other enemies. Then upon completion of the prayer Jahaziel, who was a Levite, came to Jehoshaphat with the following good news from the Lord. (2 Chr 20:15 KJV) And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's.
God commanded the army of Judah to go to the battle but they would not have to fight in the battle because it was God’s battle. Then instead of the army going out to meet this great multitude in the morning, Jehoshaphat appoints singers and sends them out to sing praises unto God. (2 Chr 20:21 KJV) And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth for ever. So what was the result of this battle? God caused a spirit of confusion to fall on the approaching armies and they began to attack each other and finally destroying themselves. The men of Judah stripped them of their wealth and it took three days to gather up the spoil. So they returned unto their towns rejoicing in the Lord’s victory over their enemies. What is the principle here? God’s method of dealing with the enemy may not always be the way we expect, but He will never fail us. As He routed the enemy of Judah, He will route your enemies also. By the way, the next time you feel your enemies are closing in on you, just pull out a good hymnal and start singing the old hymns and watch the fear melt away.
And the LORD, he...neither forsake thee
Promise number four tells us that the Lord will never forsake us. Friends and family may forsake you but that is because they did not buy you with their blood as the Lord Jesus Christ did. (Heb 13:5 KJV) Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Because of the intimate relationship the Lord Jesus has with all his children, He has determined that he will never forsake His children. Sometimes when our lives get tough it may feel like Christ has abandoned us but it is at those times that he is really undergirding us with His power. The book of Esther gives us great insight into this. God did not abandon the Jews but worked out His plan behind the scenes and guided events so that the enemy would not prevail. Haman thought he was in control of the situation but he forgot to include God in his thoughts as all unbelievers do. Many times we do not see the hand of God in our lives but He is constantly engineering circumstances in our life for our benefit and His glory. It is at the toughest times in our life that we can be assured that God’s hand is upon us, even though we may not see clearly through the clouds.
Then God gives us two commands in the same verse. It is easy to see why He tells us these things after the four great promises He gives us.
fear not
God tells us not to fear the situation we are in because of the great promises he gives us in Scripture. (2 Pet 1:4 KJV) Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. When God makes a promise it is as though it was already fulfilled. God gives us these narratives in Scripture to show that when God is involved in a situation, His children are the victors. We are never to focus our physical eyes on the situation rather we are to focus our spiritual eyes on God which propels us above and beyond the circumstance. This is the key to living above the circumstance. If our eyes are continually focusing on our situations then we will live in fear but when we learn to look toward heaven, fear vanishes.
neither be dismayed
The word "dismayed" carries with it the meaning of being terrified. If we do not focus on the Lord and allow this world to do our thinking and living for us, then we, like others, will become terrified. (Luke 21:26 KJV) Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. If you are truly walking with the Lord, the world is going to think you are odd because in the midst of an uncertain world, you have certainty. In a world without absolutes, you have absolutes. In a world without purpose, you have purpose. In a world of unclean things, you are cleansed. This is all because of Calvary and this is why God tells us that we are never to be dismayed. When the Lord Jesus was on the cross it looked bleak to His followers and when they took Him down and buried Him, it looked final. When they went to the tomb on Sunday to prepare the body for proper burial, He was gone because He was risen. What man was going to place an end to, God was just beginning. Therefore, be not dismayed nor fear. So let us go back to the beginning. After all these promises, is God still your co-pilot? Will the ushers please come forward.  (12/10/00)