Thursday, 26 July 2012

The battle belongs to the Lord - Part 2

I remember at work when I thought I was going to have to go to battle to win a tribunal when job evaluation came in and my salary was going to be reduced by thousands of pounds a year.  I was doing the work but they didn't want to pay me for it but what a wonderful Saviour we have.  The Lord showed me how I needed to plan my attack and to pray.  Instead of it being something awful like I'd been told, everything went smoothly and the governors agreed that I wouldn't lose the salary: I would stay on the salary point I was on and not lose anything. Our wonderful Saviour had taken care of the battle for me.  Just last week the Lord was helping me fight another battle at work when everyone was getting tetchy because it was the end of the school year, complaining and saying horrible things but the Lord fought the battle with me, showed me again my plan of action and told me to pray and helped me to stay calm through it all.

I'm reminded too of Elisha who had a battle of his own to face (2 Kings 6) when the King of Syria wanted to harm him.  The King of Syria waged war with Israel and Elisha warned the King of Israel not to go to certain places, and infact the king's life was saved by him heeding Elisha's words.  Well obviously the King of Syria wans't too happy about that and when he found out it was Elisha who was warning the King of Israel he sent out horses and chariots and a whole host to take Elisha.

Elisha had taken his servant with him and this servan thad risen early and was probably very terrified to see a huge angry mob of an army surrounding the city and he feared for their lives.  He said to Elisha 'Alas,my master! how shall we do?.  In other words, 'get us out of this one if you can'.  Elisha's answer was 'fear not; for they that be with us are more than they that be with them'.  Elisha then prayed and asked the Lord to open the eyes of his servant, and what a sight he beheld, the moutain  full of a heavenly host, a fiery host of chariots and horses surrounding Elisha, far more able to defeat those enemies than any man - and it had taken prayer.

Ask the Lord to open your eyes today - to open your eyes to see - see each brother or sister on their knees praying for you, praying for your situation. Pray for yourself too, cry out to the Lord for help and see for yourself the heavenly host that surrounds you. 
The bible says that the angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them (Ps34:7).  Delivers them from what - from the battles you face, from the enemy, who the bible says goes around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour; but the Lord is the Lion of Judah seeking those who are his and going ahead of them into the battle.  Don't allow the enemy to defeat you.  Battle on.

And what of Joshua - Joshua's battle was Jericho, and to cut a long story short, the children of Israel couldn't go out or go into the city and the Lord told Joshua what he must do (Joshua 6).  Encompass the city; go round with the ark 7 days, blow the trumpets and the walls will fall.  He took God at his word, they walked round Jericho 7 times, the trumpet was blown and the walls fell.  Joshua listened to all that the Lord said to him.  In fact you could say the Lord, in the form of the ark went with them or before them.  The Lord spoke words of courage always to Joshua, read it, read the number of times 'courage' is mentioned to Joshua; and the Lord said that as he was with Moses so he'd be with Joshua

Joshua 1:5-7
There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.  Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.  Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest.

I will not fail you, nor forsake you the Lord said to Joshua - and the Lord will not fail you either.
Why are we so quick to think the Lord will not do for us what he has done for countless others that are mentioned in the bible.  Why do we think that the Lord will not do battle for us or that what we face isn't as bad as Bill or Brenda down the street.  Jesus loves us with an everlasting love and I can tell you he will never fail us.  He will not fail you, the walls of whatever your battle is will fall.  It may take 7 days or 7 minutes - 70 years or 7 years.  You may even be fighting your battle until the Lord takes you home but He is there waiting to help you fight and defeat the enemy.

And what of Moses ...

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

The Battle Belongs To The Lord - Part 1

Judges 4: 1-10

Here we read about Deborah, a prophetess who judged Israel in the days after Ehud died; and we read that the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of God.

Now Deborah's name means 'bee' yes, the buzzy sort, and when I thought about the meaning of the name I was reminded of how bees are said to be industrious; they gather the pollen and honey is made and I could see how Deborah's name could apply to her.  She had the honey of God's word, she was his mouthpiece and she would be industrious in helping Barak defeat Sisera who was the captain of King Jabin of Hazor's army.  Sisera had 900 iron chariots and the children of Israel had been oppressed by this man for 20 years, so much so, that they cried out to the Lord for help.

I'm guessing that as a prophetess, Deborah was mightily used of God in many ways.  She sat under the plam tree and as the people came to her Deborah judged them on many issues I'm sure.
I believe that the Lord told Deborah to call Barak that day to hear what he had to say to him.  And she told Barak that he was to go to the battle agains Sisera; but his answer was 'I'll only go if you will go with me'.

Now I presume, and maybe some of you do too, that men who go to battle must be built for it, men with muscle and well you'd hardly think Barak would want a woman to go to battle with him.  But maybe he wasn't built for battle, maybe he was someone who was small, who had a wiry frame and perhaps he thought he'd never win a battle against someone of Sisera's might, all those chariots would make the best of us afraid.

I'm sure Barak knew that the Lord had delivered many a man out of the enemies hand but here he seemed to be ready to disobey God's word if Deborah wouldn't go with him.  I tend to think though it was more the case that, if Deborah went with him the people would see her and know that God was with them as she was God's mouthpiece and they would know the battle was already won.  Deborah told Barak the Lord said 'go' but his reply 'only if you go with me' so you never know but maybe he just didn't think the Lord would win the battle him.

What about you, think for a minute about your own battles.  As Christians we face battles of one kind or another throughout our Christian life.  How many of us I wonder face battles that we think we can't win - battles of the mind or addiction. 
Our God is a mighty God, Ps 24:8 tells us The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle'.  He can help you win any battle that you're going through.

One of the biggest battles in my life that I had to overcome was my divorce. I never thought I'd see the day when I wouldn't grow old with myhusband but theday he walked out on me I didn't think for one minute that I was going to get through it.  I battled each day with guilt, wondering where I'd gone wrong, I battled with every kind of emotion - anger, hatred and lots of others but you know, Jesus was right alongside of me, in fact some days he was right in front of me fighting those battles for me.  I just cried out to him each step of the way, taking one day at a time and eventually, even though my husband and I didn't get back together I knew that with the Lord's help  Ihad won my battle.  Our God is indeed a mighty God.

Deborah didn't hesitate when Barak said 'I want you to go with me'.  This mighty woman of God was determined she would face the battle with him, but she did tell him that he wouldn't have the honour   of killing Sisera; the Lord would give Sisera into the hand of a woman.
Deborah wasn't afraid of the battle because she believed the Lord, she took him at his word and she was ready to face the enemy with Barak because she trusted the Lord would prevail.  And so they went to Kedesh where Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali and he went up to the battle with ten thousand men and Deborah went up with him to Mount Tabor.  Meanwhile Sisera gathered together all of his chariots,nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the people that were with him, and went to the river Kishon.  This was where Deborah and Barak faced their battle.

Deborah then told Barak 'up, for this is the day which the Lord has delivered Sisera into you hand. Is not the Lord gone out before you' she said.  The Lord was indeed going to deliver the enemy into Barak's hand.  The outcome was that Barak won the battle, Sisera fled and was killed, quite gruesomely, I'm afraid, by a woman - you can read about it all in Judges 4, but I want to ask you -

'Who or what is your enemy today'? - is your mind full of turmoil, family situations getting out of hand, illness knocking at your door and getting you down, work load getting too big? - you get up each day and wonder just how you'll get through it.  It's a battle you think you can't win.
Well I'm here to tell you - you can win the battle, the enemy is not going to crush you because there's someone who's gone to the battle with you.  Somone who's come alongside - you have a Deborah.

You have a Deborah in all the prayers of those who's heart the Lord has put you on and they might not even know why they are praying for you but the Holy Spirit has touched them and brought you to the forefront of their mind to send up sweet prayers to the Lord for you.  Jesus loves you with an everlasting love and hasn't left you to face the battle alone.  He's not only got an army of people praying for you but He himself has gone before you.

You know after Jesus death the disciples must have felt so alone,wondering what would happen to them.  Jesus had told them 'I am with you always' but they couldn't see it - through their grief it was if they were going to have to struggle and battle through the days ahead, they just couldn't see it.  Couldn't see how they'd get through those long days and nights, not until the Holy spirit touched them and rested upon them at Pentecost.

Do you need a touch from the Lord, are the fiery darts from the evil one piercing every chink in your armour.  They don't need to.  When David went to battle Goliath he used a small stone to pierce the smallest chink in the giants armour and Israel's enemy lay defeated.  Put on the whole armour of God (Ephesians 6:11) and not one fiery arrow will pierce it.  The Lord will defeat your enemy, He will go into battle with you - He will help you defeat the foe.