July 19, 2018
Ask any general and he’ll tell you that you need to have a battle plan before you go to war. For instance, before Joshua went to battle at Jericho he needed a battle plan. The plan was given to him by the LORD Himself. “And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go around about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days.” Joshua 6:3. The plan also required the Ark of the Covenant to be carried ahead of the army and seven priests were to carry trumpets made out of ram’s horns. On the seventh day they were to circle the city seven times then the priests were to blow the trumpets. At the sound of a long blast of the trumpet, they were all to give a great shout. Well, that was the battle plan but it’s a little unusual. Nevertheless, Joshua informed his army and they followed orders. Never mind that this isn’t exactly the way an army usually fights, but it was the Lord’s way. By being obedient the walls of Jericho fell and the Israelites won the battle against the mighty men of Jericho. We may not always understand God’s ways, but if we’re obedient we can also break down walls and win our battles against the enemy
Another interesting battle plan happened when Gideon was a judge over Israel. The Midianites were a problem and the Lord called Gideon to deal with them. So, Gideon gathered a large army and was ready for battle. “And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.” Judges 7:2. It would seem that the bigger the army the better, but God said it was too big. So Gideon had to reduce the size of the army. The first step was to tell anyone who was afraid to return home. There were a lot of fearful men and 22,000 went home, leaving 10,000 who were willing to fight. The LORD told Gideon that the army was still too big and more would have to leave. The LORD had a plan as to how to reduce the army again. They were to go to the water and drink. “…Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink.” Judges 7:5b.
The ones who bowed down to drink were sent home and this reduced the army to only 300 men. Then, God’s battle plan became more interesting. The remaining 300 were each given a trumpet and a container with a lamp inside and were divided into three companies. About midnight they surrounded the enemy’s camp. Then they blew their trumpets, broke the containers to let the light shine, and shouted “The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon”. The Midianites were startled out of sleep and first began fighting each other then they fled. Following the battle plan of God will always work best.
Then there’s the battle that Jehoshaphat fought with the Moabites and the Ammorites. He was outnumbered and he was afraid. The Lord knew his fear and told a Levite named Jahaziel to tell 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.” 2 Chronicles 20:15b. The battle plan was for them to go out to a certain place, stand there, and let God do the fighting. “And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper. 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.” 2 Chronicles 20:20-21. The armies of Ammon and Moab began fighting against the army of mount Seir instead of fighting Judah. They destroyed themselves and all the army of Judah had to do was go in and take the spoils. The victory belonged to the Lord.
That was in Old Testament times. Today we still face enemies and our battle plan needs to be one that God has devised. As Christians, we need to look to Christ for answers. The enemy is the same evil being who lied to Adam and Eve. Satan is the enemy of all mankind. His influence is such that he can make you your own enemy. How can that be? If you aren’t looking at your own life and judging your thoughts, words, and deeds by Scripture then you’re allowing Satan’s ways to guide you. Gossip and backbiting will hinder your right walk with the Lord. Pride will get in the way of you humbling yourself before the Lord and allowing Him to fight your battles. When you have a problem with a friend, co-worker, or family member do you allow anger to cloud your mind? Don’t seek revenge but seek the Lord. “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5:44-45. Bless someone who curses you? Do good to them that hate you? That’s what Jesus said. That’s the Lord’s battle plan.
People aren’t the enemy, Satan is. Everyone who has not accepted Christ for salvation is in Satan’s clutches. They naturally follow his tactics, but a Christian needs to put Christ first. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” 1 Peter 5:8-9. Resisting Satan may be difficult, but with God’s help it becomes easier. Satan will use many tactics to get you to turn away from God. When you face an attack, confound the enemy by praising the Lord. Live as a Christian. Don’t gossip, back bite, or retaliate because those are the weapons that the enemy uses. Instead, conduct yourself in a way that reflects Jesus. Like Gideon’s 300 man army, break the container and allow God’s light to shine brightly before the enemy.
We are God’s children and like every child, we need to learn to follow rules. Children are naturally selfish and they naturally lash out if they think they’ve been mistreated. If somebody takes their toy they’ll scream and cry. A child must learn a better way to handle situations as they grow and mature. This is also true in our Christian walk. We start out reacting as worldly people because that’s what we’re used to. As we mature in our Christian walk we need to study Scripture and become more like Jesus. This will lead us to put away our immature ways and grow in Christ. “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” 1 Corinthians 13:11. When you put away childish things you’ll react to situations in a different way than a non-Christian. Christ’s love will show in your life. Instead of treating someone in the same way they treat you, a Christian will let Christ’s love shine through and treat the other person with Christian kindness. Don’t react like a child of the world but react like a child of God. Sing His praises, let His light shine in you. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16. You can’t see the battle plan without light. Jesus is the light and His battle plan is love.
One way to fight against the enemy is through prayer. Pray for God’s guidance then look for His answers. Search the Scriptures earnestly. Move your selfish motives out of the way and look for God’s solution. His answer may not be the easy way, but God’s ways are always best. We need to look to Christ for our example. It wasn’t the easy way for Him to leave Heaven and enter into this fallen world, but it was the only way He could provide salvation for us. Even though He was God in the flesh He faced many confrontations with mere humans. He showed love and compassion to people who needed His love, but He stood firmly against those who used religion for their own purposes. His love for His creation was the reason He came and He knew that He would be crucified as our sacrificial Lamb. When the time came for Him to lay down His life He prayed to God the Father that there would be another way to accomplish His purpose. “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” Luke 22:42. That needs to be our attitude. We need to submit to God’s will and follow His battle plan. We also see that Jesus prayed for His enemies. He could have been angry when they mocked Him, He could have lashed out when they blindfolded Him and hit Him, He could have called the angels to rescue Him instead of being crucified for our salvation. Had He done that He would not have followed the battle plan. Instead, He prayed for those who abused His mortal body. “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.” Luke 23:34. Those who He prayed for just went along in their sin, but our perfect Saviour prayed anyway. Pray for your enemies. People in your life who cause you strife are to be pitied rather than despised. They are losing their own battles, but if you pray for them you’ll win your own battle. You might not get the results you want, but by following God’s battle plan you’ll be doing all that God asks of you.
Remember, our enemy isn’t people. Our enemy is Satan and his evil minions. This means that our battle isn’t with flesh and blood, but with the powers of darkness. The real battle is spiritual. As Christians, we need to fight that battle every minute of every day. To do that we need to be fit for the fight. Train daily by reading Scripture and apply what you read to your life. How many of us neglect devotional reading? That’s the best place to start in order to draw near to our Commander in Chief. The Holy Spirit lives inside each of us, but we can tune out His promptings. If Scripture is in our hearts and minds it’s easier to be guided by His words rather than hearing Satan’s words of hate and discord.”For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians6:12. Whether you want to believe it or not, the battle is a spiritual one.
In God’s battle plan we need to pray. Talk to the Commander in Chief and let His guidance win your battles. He alone is worthy of our praise so lift your voice and praise Him. Fill your heart with His love and the enemy will lose his foothold in your life. Study Scripture and go into the battle armed for the fight. Take up your cross and follow Jesus’ battle plan.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived under “Newsletter Archive” at our Homepage.
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.