Posts Tagged ‘spiritual battles’

It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. 2 Samuel 11:1

While the combat zones may vary for each of us, the focus (Jesus) and mission (the Gospel message) are always the same. The born-again believer is [in one sense] the instrument God deploys within the enemy’s territory. However, despite being exposed to the enemy’s weaponry, we’re divinely sheltered. Therefore it stands to reason that the safest place for the Christian is on the front lines ~and~ fully engaged.

Blessed be the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle – my lovingkindness and my fortress, my high tower and my deliverer, my shield and the One in whom I take refuge… Psalm 144:1-2a

David’s choice to stay off the battlefield illustrates the point and further demonstrates that we don’t fall into sin accidentally, but that we freely walk into it one step at a time. Have you heard it said that, ‘Idle hands are the devil’s workshop?’ Well that phrase is not from the Bible, but the standard surely is. Why should we be hands-on, clear-headed, and attentive?

…Because (our) adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8b

Does that mean we can never come in off the battle field, kick-back, and relax? Of course we can, as long as we never to lose our focus. The moment we lose sight of Jesus; the moment the ‘fear of the Lord’ takes a back seat to recreation, we willfully and knowingly take that first step toward sin. The good news is that God will warn us before every illicit step we take.

And someone said, “Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” 2 Samuel 11:3b

“Umm David…she’s married,” someone said.

By the way, that someone was God, speaking through one of His instruments and David purposely and deliberately dismissed the good counsel he had received. God does the same thing with us. If we sin, we know it’s wrong because God told us so before we did it. The fact the God gave us the story of David and Bathsheba proves the fact.

Anyway, we know where the story goes from here and there’s no sense in recounting each of David’s perverse steps. The point I wanted to camp on is that our sin always begins with one seemingly innocent step which when examined reveals it was a step away from God.

But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the Lord; and be sure your sin will find you out. Numbers 32:23

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The children of Gad and the children of Reuben came and spoke to Moses, to Eleazar the priest, and to the leaders of the congregation, saying…”If we have found favor in your sight, let this land be given to your servants as a possession. Do not take us over the Jordan.” Numbers 32:2 + 5

Crossing Over

Israel is poised to enter the Promised Land and constituents from the tribes of Gad and Reuben seek out Moses. Using a lame excuse, they make their case for staying behind and not crossing over into the territory the Lord had promised them. As we read on we learn this was a huge error on their part. Among other things, the fallout from the incident caused the tribe of Manasseh to stumble (they too would opt to be left behind). The entire episode is a valuable illustration for the church of today.

Comfortable Christians

Part of the problem with Gad and Reuben is the same problem that befalls most Christians now — finding ourselves either too lazy, too selfish, or too fearful, we languish in spiritual comfort zones. These brothers and sisters in Christ cry out, “Leave us alone; we are happy where we are!”

They probably are, but happiness of this sort lasts only for a season.

They refuse to put forth the effort it takes to mature spiritually — going to church is all they’re usually willing to do, if that much. Fellowship, prayer, and reading their Bibles, outside the boundaries of sixty minutes on Sunday morning is more than they want to handle. In this light we see how laziness and selfishness are one in the same.

Additionally the self-centered Christian is a hoarder. He accumulates the blessings that the Lord has freely given and does little with them, forgetting that all things belong to the Giver. Somewhere this Christian has forgotten that the miracle cure Jesus provided was to be shared by those He cured.

Finally there are the fearful; those Christians who cower at the thought of engagement on the spiritual battle field, failing to realize that this is where we grow and mature as Christians. These same folks may also dread giving up the sinful relics of the past: the old people, places, and things associated with their sinful behavior. As a result they are frequently dragged back down into the mud and oppression they were rescued from.

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:1-5

Jesus Christ has secured for us a better way. Let us not be a church that shrinks back in fear from the sanctification process and worshipful obedience. Let us not be as Gad or Reuben! Our Promised Land, the guarantee of an abundant, spirit-filled life lies directly before us. Let us rise and continue along His narrow, maturing path — let us cross over to that which He has promised us.


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