Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Army of God

Do we wear the armor of God to fight or only defend? Much of the armor of God is defensive. The truth shields us from falsehood. Righteousness keeps us from falling into lasciviousness. The gospel gives us a clean conscious before the Lord. Faith gives us the ability to stand fast in the face of overwhelming odds. Salvation is assurance of God’s kindness to us.

Having laid this foundation of defensive works, the Lord then gives us the instrument of conquest. Our defensive weapons keep us from retreating but our goal is not merely to stand fast but to march out and defeat the enemies of God. For this endeavor we need the mighty sword of the Lord, the Word of God. We must fight according to His Word. We do this by embracing all that He has said and exhorting Him to fight on our behalf through the mighty offensive weapon of prayer. When we do this, we are empowered to believe that the gospel really does conquer every foe.

In 2Chronicles 20 we get the great story of Jehoshaphat defeating Ammon and Moab. These are ancient enemies that remain a thorn in the side of Israel down to the return of the captivity. They are too strong for Judah to fight and Jehoshaphat calls upon God to fight for him. This was better than his father did, who called for Syria to protect him. But God heeds Jehoshaphat. God is his refuge and shield. Jehoshaphat employs the offensive weapon of prayer in this fight, particularly in singing. When Israel began to sing before the Lord, God defeated Ammon and Moab.

We must remember that our praise of God as we pray and sing to Him and before Him is the chief element in defeating His and our foes. We cannot win the battle in our own strength. So we must call upon Him to win for us. We must come to see the glory in this truth so that we realize that what we do on the Lord’s day is not some irrelevant and personal event. We call upon our God to be faithful to His covenant with us, to His promise to subdue the earth under the feet of Christ and to advance His gospel over the face of the entire earth. When we do this, God rises up and fights. When we sing psalms to the Lord, we are fighting. It is not merely preparation to fight. It is warfare. So, engage the enemy. Praise God.

Eph 6:10-20 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

2 Chron 20:19-22 And the Levites, of the children of the Kohathites, and of the children of the Korhites, stood up to praise the LORD God of Israel with a loud voice on high. And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper. And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth for ever. And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.

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