Tag Archives: spiritual warfare

Snap To It (2 Samuel 19-21)

David gave Amasa a position of great power. “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if from now on you are not the commander of my army in place of Joab.” (19:13) With that word, Amasa became the most powerful man in Israel, second only to King David.

But we really don’t read much about Amasa’s role as military leader. In fact, his first and only mission was an epic fail. And really, what David told him to do shouldn’t have been that difficult for the commander:

“Rally the troops! Get the men together and get back here in three days.”

Granted, they didn’t have phones back then. There was no texting or social media, no TV or even snail mail to get the message to soldiers sitting at home. I can see that it would take some coordinating effort and time to get the word out, then for the men to gather.

But Scripture tells us Amasa “took longer than David had set for him.” (20:5) So the king put the army under Abishai’s command, and set them out to battle instead. He wasn’t about to lose a war waiting for Amasa to do his job.

I don’t know why Amasa didn’t meet his deadline. Were the men resistant? Was he so inept he couldn’t get organized in time? Or did he simply not take David’s time frame seriously? Does is matter?

Well, I think it matters a great deal in my life. There are things my King would have me do in this war against His enemy. I’m wondering if I see my response to God in Amasa’s response to David.

God lays on my heart a person whose heart is ready to hear the Gospel. How quick am I to respond? Do I find myself thinking I’ll get around to it eventually? Do I tell myself I don’t know what to say? Do I shrink back at a little resistance? Do I not feel the same urgency God feels for that eternal soul?

God nudges me toward a ministry, toward teaching Bible study, toward serving in the nursery, or mowing my neighbor’s lawn. Do I snap to it? Or do I drag my feet, hoping maybe God was just making a suggestion?

In the account we read here in 2 Samuel, David appointed someone else to do Amasa’s job. And, seriously, there have been times when in the back of my mind I think if I don’t go, God is going to send someone else anyway. Whew! Ball’s in their court.

Amasa’s failure at the task that was given put him in a position that cost him his life. That’s a bitter pill to swallow. God may give my assignment to someone else, but there are consequences for blowing off the King.

Besides, I want to look at God’s commands, those nudges into service, as a privilege to serve my King. I love Him so much I want to obey with enthusiasm and do the best job at whatever He is asking me to do because He deserves my 100% effort. Why would I want anyone else to have the blessings that are mine as an obedient soldier in His army?

This is war. When my King gives me a command, I want to snap to it.

A Season For War (2 Samuel 11-12; I Chronicles 20)

There is a phrase in both 2 Samuel and I Chronicles that caught my attention this morning: “In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war…”

Why spring? It sounds like the start of baseball season or something. I did some research and this is what I found:

Spring was the ideal time for going to war because, first, the rains were over which meant the soldiers could march on solid and dry ground. There was grass in the fields, fruit on trees, and ripe corn, food for both soldiers and horses. There was wisdom in the timing.

Now, soldiers could suit up at any time of the year. Not all battles were fought in the best circumstances. But if a king could wait until spring before going into battle, he had a better chance of success because his soldiers didn’t have to fight the enemy AND the elements.

I am reminded of Paul’s second letter to Timothy when he told the young preacher to “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season…

We, like the Old Testament soldiers can suit up at any time. In fact, we are told to put on the armor of God every day. We are instructed to always be prepared to give an answer for the hope we have in Jesus. Our battles, and our opportunities to share the Gospel, don’t just come at prime time. We are told to be prepared to preach the Word at all times.

But I am challenged today to plan my battle strategy, to look for the signs that tell me the time is right to go to that person God has laid on my heart to confront their sin in order to lead them to their Savior. Sometimes we might be tempted to barge in when it’s convenient for us, only to be met with the challenge of fighting the elements of distractions or resistance or misunderstandings while we are trying to fight the battle against sin.

I want to wait for God’s timing, because He is preparing the ground for battle. I want to recognize His season for war against Satan, and be prepared to fight the fight He is leading. Not my season. But His.

May I be prepared every day by putting on the whole armor of God, by being ready to give an answer, to share the Gospel whenever the opportunity presents itself. May I be sensitive to God’s timing. And may I be a faithful and obedient soldier so that when God says, “Charge!” I’m the first to go.

Just Move On (Genesis 20)

Sometimes I read about Isaac and the feud with the Philistines over the wells, and think, “Why didn’t he fight for his rights? Why didn’t he stand up to the bullies and tell them he’d dug those wells, so they should just go and dig their own? Why should Isaac lose what he’d worked for?”

Instead, Isaac gave in, packed up and moved on to another location, dug another well. Then, when the Philistines came and claimed that well, too, Isaac reacted the way he’d reacted before. He packed up and moved on to yet another location, and dug yet another well. The Philistines took the second well right from under Isaac, and Isaac appears to not even have objected. He simply moved on.

That just isn’t done in 21st Century America. I mean, people have gotten into fist fights, even pulled guns on one another over parking spaces at the grocery. You don’t step on the  perceived rights of an American these days.

Was Isaac so weak, did he have so little faith that God would fight for him over the wells? What gives?

This is what I hear God say to me this morning: It wasn’t that Isaac didn’t trust God. It’s that Isaac trusted God a great deal. After digging the third well, and without any objection from the Philistines this time, Isaac said:

Now the Lord has given us room and we will flourish in the land. (26:22)

The truth is, sometimes battles present themselves that God does not want us fighting. Sometime we don’t need to respond if someone baits us with a political position, or a moral dilemma. Sometimes God wants us to back away, move on instead of taking up our battle position.

Yes, there are times God wants us to go to war. But sometimes war is not His will, even though Satan would love for us to jump into the fray. God may want us to move on instead.

Isaac was sensitive to God’s leading, and God led him to greener pastures where Isaac could flourish. I know you’ve heard it said, “Pick your battles,” and I think that is sound advice. Here might be the better advice, though:

Pick God’s battles.

Notice in the verse I quoted above Isaac said, “… the Lord has given…”

It wasn’t about winning a fight, it was about waiting for God’s best. And God always gives His best when we are in a position to receive it. Sometimes we just have to keep moving on until we are in that position where God can and will bless us.

Let’s determine to be in God’s Word every day, to pray without ceasing, and to be sensitive to God’s leading in every situation. Then let’s let God move in our hearts as to whether we fight or just move on. May He find us obedient however He leads.

 

August 28; Spiritually Speaking

Ezekiel 37-38

God is speaking to Gog, an enemy of Israel. He tells the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal that He is going to bless His children. The Jews will live in peace, have riches livestock and goods – and Gog won’t be able to handle it.

In fact, God who sees the future, sees Gog look at the blessings that are Israel’s and an evil thought will come to his mind. His jealousy will reveal itself in an attack on the Jews. God tells the enemy prince that will cost him his own life.

It’s true that when some people see others prosper, jealousy and anger rear their ugly heads. The blessed become a target, “If I can’t have those things, neither can they.”

Now as often happens, God diverts my attention from the material to the spiritual when I read His Word. Spiritually speaking, God blesses His obedient children with peace and joy the world cannot understand. Our genuine smiles are like salt in wounds to people who are holding onto their sin, and are under the convicting hand of God.

Their attempt to drag us down to their level might start out as name calling: “Goody Two-Shoes,” or “Holier Than Thou.” It might progress to slander when they call us bigots, racists, homophobes. It can escalate to lies, law suits, discrimination, even bodily harm because unhappy people resent happiness in others.

Jesus said we can expect to be hated because people hated Him, too. Hated. Not ignored or disliked. Hate is a powerful, active emotion that leads to trouble. Expect it.

But God also has laid on my heart this: if we are genuinely His, God will fight our battles for us and we will have the victory. He will never leave or forsake us, we will continue with His peace and joy and strength and love no matter what is thrown at us.

However, if we are hated because we are hypocritical, untouchable, unloving, then their hatred of us just might be the discipline God will use to get our attention and draw us back to Him.

Spiritually speaking, we are in a war zone. Spiritually speaking we are targets of the enemy. And spiritually speaking, we who know the Lord are on the winning side.

July 5 – Angel Armies

2 Kings 5-8

We just celebrated the birthday of this great nation. The United States of America was founded on Christian principles, and has been blessed by God because of it. I know there are some who would re-write history to obliterate the facts, but their denial doesn’t change the truth.

It’s because of the flagrant disregard of God and His Presence that the US is in trouble today. But reading about Elisha reminds me that God is standing at there ready to fight the battle for His children.

Christian, do you believe that? Do you pray believing that? It’s not the Hillary Clintons of the world we should fear. It’s the Christian who doesn’t pray, doesn’t vote, doesn’t spend time in God’s Word, and doesn’t nurture a relationship with the Savior. We should fear the Christian who sits back and waits for God’s “will” to be done. It’s the Christian who laughs at sin, is tolerant of sinful lifestyles, accepts multiple ways to God who should scare us.

Do you know that, as a Christian, you hold the key to America’s future? In 2 Kings 6:16-17 Elisha says: Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.

Then he prayed: O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see. What that servant saw was a mountain full of angels ready for battle.

That same angel army is standing at the ready today.

O Lord, open our eyes that we might see and believe. May Christians humble ourselves, and turn to You once again. Defeat our enemy Satan in this land, and around the world. In Jesus’ name, and for His sake.

July 3 – It’s War!

Obadiah, Psalms 82-83

 

In these days of war, and terrorism, and hate, let me remind us that these things have been happening almost since time began. We read the Old Testament and hear God’s people pray for the deaths of their enemies. We see how God commanded His people to destroy men, women, and children, in an effort to purify the land. It’s horrible.

But Jesus’ presence on this earth turned a page. He made it plain that our enemy is no longer flesh and blood. It’s Satan. It’s sin. It’s spiritual. God is as passionate about purifying the land. But He loved the world, every nation and tongue, enough to send His Son to die so that whoever believes in Jesus will be saved. The land will be purified when people come to accept this Truth.

I don’t for a minute mean to say we should ignore the physical danger we are in because of ISIS, or Muslims, or the danger we have of losing our rights through political correctness and blatant immorality. There are people who simply hate Christians. They hated Jesus, too.

Yes we are at war. But I don’t believe hating people or wanting them dead is what God intends for His people. I’m all for defending ourselves with force and am thankful for and support our military. But we will win this spiritual war when hearts are changed and souls are saved through the precious blood of Jesus.

Are you battle-ready?

Jan 11 – Do You Feel Safe?

Job 29-31

As I read Job’s words this morning about how he wished he could go back to the old days when life was easier and he felt safer, I had to think about what life has been for me here in the USA these past six decades.

Life was simpler, of course, when I was a child. I was born a few years after WWII ended, and our country was still glowing in the victory. I was confident that my sisters and I had a roof over our heads and food to eat. (I wasn’t aware of the struggle our parents endured to make those things happen)

I felt safe, running from house to house in our neighborhood, playing outside from morning to night. I remember some hype about possible nuclear war, the Russians coming, and people building bomb shelters. Even then I didn’t feel unsafe.

Not even during the Viet Nam War did I worry about an enemy attack on our little town in Ohio. It was war on someone else’s turf; far, far away.

We were pretty comfortable for decades in our safe, secure homeland of America. But 911 changed that. And we live with the knowledge we are not impenetrable. Gang wars on our streets, domestic and foreign terrorism is a reality we live with every day.

But as I read Job it occurred to me that Job’s enemy – and ours- is Satan. We are in the middle of a spiritual war, played out in flesh and blood conflict. I’m afraid we’ve become so concerned about our Middle Eastern enemies we’ve neglected to recognize the real danger of the subtle erosion of our freedoms and spiritual Truth.

Friend, there is a war on your soul. I know many believe that if they ask Jesus into their hearts it’s enough, they are home free. They feel secure in their salvation, impenetrable. Can’t touch this, they say to Satan.

But I wonder. Let’s not feel so safe we ignore the subtle attacks Satan continues to throw our way; the acceptance of sin as normal, the watering down of the Gospel, tolerance, looking at God as our buddy and not as a Holy God who demands holiness of His children.

I want to be a good soldier in God’s army. I want to put on the armor of God, to study His Word to show myself as approved by God to do His bidding. I want to take my enemy seriously, his threats as personal.

If you read God’s Word you will be encouraged with the fact that He promises never to leave or forsake us who know Him. He promises to be our shield and protector, our light, our guide. If you read God’s Word you will never see God saying to sit back and enjoy the ride. This is war.

Do you feel safe in the middle of this spiritual battle? If you are an active member of God’s army  you can feel totally safe. I would suggest, however, if you are too comfortable, too complacent, satisfied to sit back and let others fight the war, beware. The wolf is at the door.

Dear God, I pray for Your army today. May we recognize our real enemy, and be ready to battle. May we not be guilty of feeling too comfortable. May we be in Your Word every day. May we spend time praying, searching, listening. May we be an army of faithful soldiers. Protect our souls from Satan’s attacks, and give us the strength and courage to defeat Satan in our homes, our places of work, our churches, and our world. For Jesus’ sake.