September 5, 2014

This is a war

Every day problems pop up. They are small, such as what to make for supper, or how to deal with telemarketers. They are larger, such as impending surgery for a family member, or a friend being given a few months to live. I live in a real world with joys, but also with sorrows and perplexities.

There is another world. It is the kingdom of God, visible yet invisible, where the servants of God are challenged to worship our King and exalt Him. Those who desire to do this find ourselves in a battle. We have enemies that do not want Jesus on His throne.

This battle is pictured in the life of David. He was anointed king to replace Saul, a man who tried to serve God but failed. In the same manner that the servants of Christ rally to exalt Him, “divisions of armed troops came to David in Hebron to turn the kingdom of Saul over to him, according to the word of the Lord.” (1 Chronicles 12:23)

In the description of these divisions in 1 Chronicles 12:31–34, I see many parallels between their preparedness to fight for David and what I need for the battle I fight to exalt Christ.
For instance, of the half-tribe of Manasseh, 18,000 were “expressly named” to come and make David king. This is certainly true concerning Jesus. Only those who believe in Him and are called by His name, will call Him Lord and desire to exalt Him. (1 Corinthians 12:3)

Then there were troops from Issachar, “men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.” If I am going to exalt Jesus in the days of my life, I certainly need to understand what is going on in my world. What touched the hearts of people concerning Christ fifty years ago, or even twenty, leaves them cold and uninterested today. That does not mean Jesus has become obsolete; it does mean that our culture shifts and human hearts are affected by those shifts.

Another tribe, Zebulun, brought “50,000 seasoned troops equipped for battle with all the weapons of war, to help David with singleness of purpose.” The New Testament speaks of our spiritual battle. We fight the lies of Satan with spiritual weapons described as swords and shields. (Ephesians 6:12-20) Those weapons are combined with armor, and clearly this battle cannot be fought half-heartedly or without singleness of purpose. 2 Timothy 2:4 says, “No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.”

I am very aware of this battle, and very aware of the focus needed to engage in it. A required and vital attitude is a deep love for the Word of God. “Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day. Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts. I hold back my feet from every evil way, in order to keep your word.” (Psalm 119:97–101)

Another need is wisdom and God’s protection, as well as integrity. “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity.” (Proverbs 2:6–7)

I’m also to have good relationships with others; “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law” (Romans 13:8) and keep my own life clean; “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (Romans 13:14) and “ . . . cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.” (Romans 13:11–12)

As I read these Scriptures, the unusual sense of God’s presence helps me realize that what I am experiencing (an unexplainable emotional and spiritual pressure) is a war. I want to glorify my King. For this, God tells me, “Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.” (2 Timothy 2:7) 

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