"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
October 4, 2017
Spiritual warfare has been on my heart here lately, so I will continue writing on that topic this week. I will once again be using David as an example.
In 1 Samuel chapter 17 we read about the first experience that David had in battle. He was not a trained warrior at that time, but just a shepherd boy who had been sent by his father to check on his older brothers, who were soldiers in Saul's army. When David arrived at the battlefield, he found that the Israelite troops were being bullied and taunted by a Philistine giant, named Goliath. Goliath, who was the Philistine champion, was challenging someone from Saul's army to come and fight him; but no one felt up to the challenge. In fact, verse 24 tells us that as soon as the Israelite army saw him, they began to run away in fright.
David saw and heard what was going on, so began asking questions. His oldest brother overheard David and grew very angry with him. David was sent for by King Saul. "Don't worry about the Philistine," David told Saul, "I'll go fight him." Eventually, Saul gave the okay for this untrained shepherd boy, who was fearless, to go fight their enemy for them. Why was David so brave? Because he had an understanding of who God was and what God was capable of accomplishing through him.
David told Saul that when a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from his father's flock, he goes after it and rescues it. If the animal turns on him, he kills it. Then David confidently and boldly said, "I have done this to both lions and bears, and I'll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God! The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and bear will rescue me from this Philistine!"
When we know that God is the one who fights for us and rescues us, then we can have that very same level of boldness and confidence when fighting spiritual battles. But we must come to the realization that it's not us personally who goes out and fights against the enemy, but it's God working through us.
Goliath sneered in contempt when he saw a ruddy-faced boy running across the battlefield, armed only with a slingshot and some stones, and cursed him by the names of his gods. But David's weapons were much mightier than Goliath recognized. David kept running towards him and boldly declared, "You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven's Armies -- the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues His people, but not with spear and sword. This is the Lord's battle, and He will give you to us!" That is exactly what happened.
Saul eventually made David a commander over the men of war. David continued to succeed in everything he did, for the Lord was with him. Saul recognized this, and became afraid of David. But all Israel and Judah loved David because he was so successful at leading his troops into battle. (1Samual 18:14-15)
One day Saul said to David, "I am ready to give you my oldest daughter as your wife. But first you must prove yourself to be a real warrior by fighting the Lord's battles." For Saul thought, "I'll send him out against the Philistines and let them kill him rather than doing it myself." Saul ended up giving his oldest daughter to another man to marry, instead of David. In the meantime, another daughter of Saul, Michal, had fallen in love with David; so Saul thought, "Here's another chance to see him killed by the Philistines!" David's response was, "How can a poor man from a humble family afford the bride price for the daughter of a king?"
Saul told his men to tell David that all he wanted for the bride price was 100 Philistine foreskins; but what he really had in mind was that David would be killed in the fight. David was delighted to accept the offer. He and his men went out and killed 200 Philistines, then David fulfilled the king's requirement and married the king's daughter.
In 1 Samuel 19:8 we read another account involving David fighting against the Philistines. "War broke out again after that, and David led his troops against the Philistines. He attacked them with such fury that they all ran away."
Saul is killed and David becomes king. In 2 Samuel 5:17-25, David once again faced the Philistines. When they heard that David had been anointed king of Israel, they mobilized all their forces to capture him. But David was told that they were coming, so he went into the stronghold. The Philistines arrived and spread out across the valley of Rephaim. David asked the Lord, "Should I go out to fight the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?" The Lord replied to David, "Yes, go ahead, and I will certainly hand them over to you."
So David went to Baal-perazim and defeated the Philistines there. "The Lord did it!" David exclaimed. "He burst through my enemies like a raging flood!"
After a while the Philistines returned and again spread out across that same valley. And again David asked the Lord what to do and received this response, "Do not attack them straight on. Instead circle around behind and attack them near the poplar trees. When you hear a sound like marching feet in the tops of the poplar trees, be on the alert! That will be the signal that the Lord is moving ahead of you to strike down the Philistine army." David did what the Lord commanded, and he struck down the Philistines.
2 Samuel 21:15-19 tells about yet another battle that David fought against the Philistines. Once again the Philistines were at war with Israel. When David and his men were in the thick of the battle, David became weak and exhausted. One of the giants had cornered David and was about to kill him. But one of David's men came to his rescue and killed the Philistine. Afterwards David's men declared, "You are not going out to battle with us again! Why risk snuffing out the light of Israel?"
Then lastly, in 2 Samuel 23 when it is talking about the Three, who were David's mightiest warriors, we read about the account when David and Eleazar stood together against the Philistines when the entire Israelite army had fled. God gave them a great victory that day.
David and his army fought against other enemy armies, too, but I wanted you to see a pattern here. Over and over again David fought against the Philistines. It was the same army, but different battles. He didn't defeat them one time, then they never bothered him again. But David also didn't fight the exact same battle over and over again.
A war is made up of different battles. It's all the same war; but the warriors will fight one battle and defeat the enemy, then move on. They don't just sit at that same location, waiting for the enemy to show up again, then fight that same battle over and over again.
It's that very same thing regarding spiritual warfare. Our christian life is made up of fighting against the rulers, against the powers, against the forces of darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. But it's not all fought on one battlefield, and once we win that skirmish, then we are victorious forever; but we move on and face the enemy time and time again, in various situations.
Often we find ourselves fighting the exact same spiritual battle over and over and over again. We experience victory, but instead of marching forward and taking even more of the enemies territory, we stay at that same battlefield waiting for the enemy to show back up; and if we wait long enough, sure enough, that's what will likely happen. God gives us the victory, but we don't see immediate results or we are fearful to believe that victory is really ours or think we deserve a break after fighting so hard, so we just sat there at that same piece of ground where the battle was fought and won, instead of getting up and taking the plunder from the enemy and moving forward.
God never intended on us staying in one spot for the rest of our lives, wrestling against the same temptations and sin over and over again. He never intended on us being ensnared by guilt and condemnation over our past and fighting that same battle over and over again. He will fight for us and help us obtain victory; but then it is our responsibility to respond to that victory and leave that piece of ground and move forward. Stop going back to that same battlefield, trying to fight that same enemy over the same thing, when victory has already been given to us.
David fought the Philistines over and over again, but it wasn't Goliath that he fought every time. Goliath was killed during that first fight and God brought the victory. How foolish and stupid it would have been if David had kept going back to that same location to check and make sure that Goliath really was dead. He had cut Goliath's head off and rejoiced over putting the enemy to flight that day, giving God credit and praise. David knew his enemy was destroyed.
Yet we often do this: God gives us victory over an enemy that we are facing, and we know that whatever it is that we had been battling has been put to death. We rejoice and know that God has given us the victory. Then later we begin thinking about it, start doubting, and then begin questioning: "I wonder if that enemy really was dead? What if it was only wounded or stunned? Perhaps I need to go back and check on it. I know that it looked like it was killed and destroyed, but maybe it wasn't. What if that was all in my imagination and didn't really happen? Maybe God wants me to go back. I don't feel worthy for God to give me this victory.... I don't deserve it. How could God defeat an enemy this huge on my behalf? I think I really should go back and check things out."
What happens is that Satan draws us back into going back to that same battlefield over and over and over again, keeping us from moving forward to fight and having victory over other principalities and powers of darkness. If he can keep us focused on one particular issue or a specific skirmish, or keep us trapped in one locations, then he prevents us from being mighty warriors in the army of God. He prevents us from fighting and winning other spiritual battles.
David didn't build a house and move onto the property where he defeated Goliath, so that he could keep an eye out for other enemies that might come to that location. He didn't take up residence there so that he could relive that same confrontation over and over agin; telling everyone who came by about the conflict that had happened. He kept marching forward, not looking back. He kept fighting the same Philistine army, but it was different battles and different locations. He wouldn't have been a mighty warrior or a great king, had he never moved forward from his fight with Goliath. He learned from that experience, it increased his faith and his confidence in the power of God, and he moved beyond that onto other things that God had for him.
It's the same for us. God may deliver us from a particular sin or save us from a dire situation or free us from bondage and defeat the enemy in that area of our life. He never intended on us building a memorial and taking up residence there so that we can daily look at it. Fear, guilt, and condemnation will rise up and take up residence in our heart and mind and keep us trapped in the past when we refuse to let go and move forward. God's plan is for us to recognize the victory, but then move forward.... fight another battle against the enemy and see Him work through us and bring about another victory, give thanks, then move forward..... Stop turning around and returning to the same battlefield sites to see if the enemy is still hanging around, because when we look, we'll find him and keep fighting those same old issues over and over again. Just stop it!
From the time we accept Jesus into our heart until we get to Heaven, we will be involved in spiritual warfare. There is really no way to avoid it. But we do have to make the choice to either put on the armor of God and fight, or to be lazy christians and sit back and do as little as possible. We can either have the mindset that attacks of the enemy are just a normal part of life that we must deal with and allow Satan and his evil forces to overcome us and keep us feeling overwhelmed and fearful and weak all the time; or we put on our armor and arm ourself with the Word of God and with boldness and faith, knowing that God will fight for us, we become spiritual warriors. We can't just sit on the sidelines and be complacent and lackadaisical.
I don't use that word often, but it often describes many people in our churches. Lackadaisical means: lacking enthusiasm and determination; carelessly lazy. You can't be a mighty warrior in the army of God and be lackadaisical. But there must be a fire burning in your soul and a holy boldness in your spirit. You must be filled with determination and faith; knowing whom you believe in. We don't fight spiritual battles for our own applause or recognition, but do so that those around us will know that there is a God. We refuse to allow the enemy to defy the name of our God. We don't fight in our own strength, but as David did, we face the enemy declaring that we come in the name of the Lord God!
2 Samuel 11 tells of King David's infidelity with Bathsheba. To cover up her pregnancy, he tried to get her husband, Uriah, to spend a night with her. When Uriah refused, David was scared and desperate. He sent Uriah into a battle, with orders for everyone else to retreat, leaving Uriah alone to be killed by the enemy.
That sounds very similar to the story of Saul sending David into hopeless battles, expecting him to get killed. The biggest difference is that David was more cunning, and had the rest of his army help get Uriah killed.
So, how could David be an intended victim of treachery, then commit that treachery later? It was when David was back home, resting while his armies were out doing the battling for him.
It's when we quit fighting that we are most likely to sin, and fall into fear, desperation, and more sin. If David had kept fighting, he wouldn't have even met Bathsheba.
So, keep fighting.
1 bag of frozen tortellini
1 small bag of fresh spinach
2 cans of Italian-style diced tomatoes
1 box or 4 cups of vegetable broth
1 block of cream cheese
Place all ingredients in the crockpot, chunking up the cream cheese. Cook on low for 5-6 hours.
The battle belongs to the Lord. - 1 Samuel 17:47
We love you!
Loretta & Jon