The Battle Belongs To The Lord
As Christians, we love to cite verses such as Ephesians 2:8, which says that we are saved by grace, not works. Yet we have a problem accepting the idea that every battle we win results from God doing our fighting for us. It is not anything we do, and it is not our strength that wins battles.
Jude 1:9:?But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said 'The Lord rebuke you.'"
Angels are much more powerful than humans, yet Michael called upon the name of the Lord to win this battle for him. We need to realize, as God?s children, what Michael realized, that there is an enemy out there, and he is more powerful than we are. The only way to defeat him is to rely on the Lord.
God, Our Defender and Protector, vs. Satan, our Enemy:We are not innocent bystanders in a wrestling match between two evenly matched foes. They are not like two 6?8? muscle-bound fighters duking it out. It is more like one 9?8? fighter, and a little Chihuahua yapping at His feet. Have you ever been around a Chihuahua? Those little dogs bark loudly, but when you confront them, call their bluff, they run away, afraid. However, if you buy into their barking, and stay on the defensive, they?ll continue barking. Take the offensive stance, not because of your own fighting ability, but because of that 9?8? giant who is on your side!
Grace = God equipping us by reminding us of who He is:We often hear a lot about ?empowerment.? True empowerment from God is 99% realization. Realizing who He is and who your enemy is, and how he has already been defeated. This is an important thing to know, and we hear it often, but there are often times when we don?t walk in this truth. It is common for a believer to hear this very point on Sunday morning, then attempt to handle a problem on Monday on his own, without praying or giving it to the Lord.
One chapter says it best:
One of the best examples God has given us in His word to illustrate this truth is in the 20th chapter of Second Chronicles. Here?s the setting: Jehoshaphat is a leader of God?s people, who have been split into two kingdoms. Jehoshaphat is the king of Judah, which is about to get attacked by the Moabites, Ammonites, and Syrians. It is not a stretch to see that these attackers, while very real at the time, are for us a picture of Satan and his army. So let?s look at this chapter one piece at a time and see what can be applied to you and me in our daily lives:
Focus on the One who can deliver youIn vs. 1 and 2, Jehoshaphat is warned, ?a great multitude is coming against you.? The next verse tells us that he became afraid, and ?turned his attention to seek the Lord; and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.? This was the proper response then, and it is the proper response now. I have often heard well-meaning people say (and I confess I have said it myself) that ?I can?t do anything but pray for you.? The truth is, praying is doing something. Intercession is one of the most powerful tools that members of God?s army can use.
Fasting is another effective tool which is vastly underused in this day and age. Americans want a very comfortable type of Christianity, and yet God has never promised that to us. Actually, He doesn?t necessarily want us to be uncomfortable; He just wants us to get our comfort from Him:
2 Corinthians 1: 4b-5a" . . . the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles . . ."
Appeal to God for deliveranceIn vs. 5-12, the king has his people assembled together, and he prays to God. First, he reminds God of what He has done and what he has promised for His people. Next, he commits himself and his people to stand under God?s umbrella of protection. Vs. 9: ?Should evil come upon us, . . . we will stand before this house and before Thee . . . and cry before Thee in our distress, and Thou wilt hear and deliver us.?And finally, he closes the prayer with a proclamation of faith in God.
Verse 12?. . we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us, nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on Thee.?
God promises deliveranceGod answers through a man named Jahaziel, and says ?Listen. All Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: thus says the Lord to you, ?Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God?s.?? When reading this, one can only imagine the joy, and the relief, that must be going through the minds of the people and of the king when these words are heard. Just keep in mind that those words are directed toward you as well. When you are up against a situation which seems overwhelming, keep in mind that there is nothing that He can?t handle.
Obedience leads to deliveranceAlthough the Lord was doing the fighting, He still required the people of Judah to do a couple of things. In verse 17, He tells them to ?station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf.? Obedience is crucial. Saying that the battle belongs to the Lord does not entitle us to go home and sit on the couch and expect God to take care of everything. If you are in a situation in which you see that God wants to provide deliverance, then listen for His voice. I do not mean an audible voice, but as Christians we often can know that He is directing us to do something or to stand in a certain place. If your battle is, say, salvation for a loved one, perhaps He wants you to make a phone call, initiate a conversation with that person. If we are truly His, then we should learn to listen for His guidance, wisdom, and direction.
Believe and be EstablishedThe Lord tells His people in verse 20 to "believe and be established." The Hebrew word here for established means "to build up or support." Interestingly, in Isaiah 30:21, this same word gets translated "to go to the right hand." Although the connection may not be obvious at first, it should be read in connection with the verse before it and after it to be understood: "and though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide Himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you saying, 'This is the way, walk in it.' when you turn to the right or turn to the left. Then you will defile your silver-colored graven images and your gold-plated molten images. You will scatter them as unclean things; you will say to them "Begone!" -- Isaiah 30:20-22
In this context, we can see some interesting things. First, the Lord allows us to have adversity in our life. Why? For building up! In fact, in this passage, adversity and suffering are referred to as bread and water, things we need not only for growth, but for survival. By allowing the Lord to work in our lives in this way, we get to see Him (our Teacher).
Finally, verse 22 tells us that one positive result which will come out of this is that we will get rid of the idols in our lives. Understanding the truth about idolatry is absolutely vital. To learn more about this very basic part of Christian growth, please go to the Devotion to the Lord page.
Praise and worshipThe Lord deserves to be glorified in all situations, but this is especially so when He has delivered us out of a situation. Jehoshaphat appointed certain people to publicly declare God&'s goodness through singing and praise (verse 21). This is directly tied to the Lord winning the battle. We can see this in verse 22: And when they began singing and praising, the Lord set ambushes against the sons of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir . . . How is your worship life? Are you spending time just worshipping Him? The truth is, He deserves to be praised 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for who He is, not just for what he has done. We were created to glorify Him, and I have learned over the years that I am better off, that my day goes better, when I have spent time worshipping Him. If you have inhibitions about this, He wants you to know that you need to let them go. You need to cease caring what others think, and just let loose and give Him the praise that He deserves.
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