The New Year is not yet 2 weeks old but the Christmas decorations have been removed from the malls, shops and streets. Valentine’s Day candy has taken over a few aisles at Walmart and patio furniture also made an appearance. Oh, sure, there are the remnants of a few things to remind us of the holidays: stray christmas blend Kcups, a pair of reindeer antlers left by some child by the beef jerky in the checkout lane and the vast array of storage bins that greet you as you walk in the store. But for the most part, it’s all been said and done. Before long I imagine we will see potting soil, petunias and hanging plants in the garden departments.
Life is marching forward and 2017 is fading fast. Everything is changing and I feel like I have to keep up or be left behind.
One thing I have DEFINITELY realized though is that I am still in a battle as a Christian. How about you?
Paul tells us in Ephesians 6 that we need to be strong in the Lord for a reason. God inspired him to tell us that we are not in battle against flesh and blood, but against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Do you know how people say nowadays, “the struggle is real”?
Well, the battle is real my friend. And you need to be prepared and armed.
As I was reading in I Samuel I came across something interesting. The Bible says,
“And the Philistines gathered themselves together to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots, and six thousand horsemen, and people as the sand which is on the sea shore in multitude: and they came up and pitched in Michmash, eastward from Bethaven.”
That is a lot of enemies. It must have caused great fear among Israel.
The Bible also says,
“Now there was no smith found throughout all the land of Israel: for the Philistines said, Lest the Hebrews make them swords or spears:”
The Philistines had worked to disarm Israel and take their smiths. That means at the moment of battle, they were left weaponless.
The enemy is always going to try and disarm us. He is going to come at us from every side and try to pick away at our defenses. He is never going to stop.
My grandfather at the age of 19 was in a Unit of 9 men during the Battle of the Bulge in WW2. He tells about his first day on the front lines and how scared he was. The Germans had unleashed an artillery attack on them with 88mm rounds which were deadly. My Papa started digging a fox hole but the ground was so frozen that he had to stop and move 20 yards away and start on a new one. A fellow soldier came along and managed to dig in the ground where he had started and they both hunkered down. At dawn the next day, my grandfather emerged to find a crater where his first fox hole had been and the other soldier was dead.
Not long after during the heat of the battle his squad leader ordered them across a fire break. None of the men wanted to go, but they obeyed. They had just about made it to the other side when the Germans opened fired on them with a machine gun. My grandfather hit the ground and watched as the bullets pelted down all around like rain on a dusty road. A few hit him in the thigh but he laid there until dark and then reached up to shake the leg of the soldier in front of him so they could escape. But the fellow was already stiff. All the men had died except my Papa and the last man in line.
Sometimes we are going to be like the Israelites who had been weakened and fooled by the enemy to lay their weapons aside and not care for the future.
Sometimes we are going to be like my grandfather and forge on even though we are scared and are watching others fall all around us.
But one thing needs to remain consistent, no matter what our circumstances: We MUST not willingly lay our armor down and we must trust God to win the battle for us.
We cannot do things our way and expect zero consequences.
The prophet Samuel had warned the Israelites a couple years prior to this battle that they needed to obey God and follow Him. He promised them that the LORD would not forsake them, but things had to be done GOD’s way.
God wasn’t being a bully, He is just perfect and knew how to lead them (and us) in the “good and right way”.
We may take confidence in Him and forge ahead like my brave Papa did. And, truth be told, we may see some fellow soldiers fall, but we should continue to believe in the One Who is leading us.
Samuel told the Israelites to “fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.” I Samuel 12:24
Consider all God has done for you. Consider what He has said in His Word about how to be prepared to fight this battle here on earth. (Eph 6) Dwell in Him and don’t let the enemy disarm you.
The Lord saved Israel that day against all those multitudes of Philistines.
The Lord saved my Papa.
The Lord is Mighty to save you, no matter how bad the enemy seems.
Serve God in truth. Serve Him HIS way and never lay the Sword down. Dwell in Him!
Until Next Time, Lord willing,
READ THE BIBLE THROUGH WITH ME IN 36 WEEKS!!
Today’s reading: Genesis 22-23 / I Samuel 14 / Psalms 12 / Matthew 13