KEY SCRIPTURE: Deuteronomy 20:1-4 When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, be not afraid of them: for the Lord thy God is with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. 2 And it shall be, when ye are come nigh unto the battle, that the priest shall approach and speak unto the people, 3 And shall say unto them, Hear, O Israel, ye approach this day unto battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them; 4 For the Lord your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you. RELEVANCE The answer to this sole question will tell you whether you are winning or losing the battle against sins and faults. Satan seeks to overthrow our spiritual lives through unholiness, unrighteousness and uncleanness. He doesn't care which one breaks through our defence, so long as he does. When he burns the gates of our spiritual lives, he storms our Kingdom until we are spiritually dead. Our best weaponry is Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. But how can we use that? The Old Testament battles are written for our understanding so we may know that the Kingdom can only be proclaimed if God is honoured. When Joshua took over from Moses, he had one task—to take the land of Canaan in the name of God. From Abraham's calling to the freedom walk from Pharoah, the spying out of the land, the death of the faithless unbelievers, and the creation of the army were all for one aim—to take a distorted and perverted country from Satan and let God's purity reign in his place. Joshua's secret to success was to keep the people clean, God-focussed and actively purposed for war. When sin crept in, such as when Achan stole and hid ungodly things in the battle for AI, God's people lost their battles. In the battle for AI, Joshua despatched 3000 soldiers to take a small town. Under normal God-fearing behaviour, the job would have been easy. However, they lost and ran, cowering before the enemy. Let's look at the statistics. 3000 armed men and one deceitful sinner. This means that .0333% of sin brought that body down. Is the picture clear? To live successful spiritual lives, Christ must be King, leading us into battle. When He's not, when we put Him aside, exalting wrong things in thinking and doing wickedness or foolishness, we lose our fellowship with God. If we continue on that pathway, it could , in time, lead to us losing our relationship with Him. The battle for Canaan wasn't a walkover. It was a battle to the end. We need to know for our own spiritual struggles that the enemy kept coming back to fight until it was either utterly defeated or there was compromise. Joshua 1:3 shows the Lord providing Joshua with the scope of battle, Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. Likewise, Christ's foot must tread as King in every part of our lives. We must surrender all, making every thought and imagination obedient to Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5). Only then is the battle won. God told Joshua several times in Joshua 1 to be strong and of good courage. The reason? He took up the battle. He was active because God is active. There was no room for passivity then, and neither is there now with us. Passive Christianity does not work. Just before WWII, as Hitler began his aggression across Europe, Winston Churchill, with an active battle history in two previous wars, told England to get active while Hitler was still a smaller aggressor.
However, his compatriots with less war experience preferred the passive approach, hoping it would not be as bad as it was, hoping Hitler wouldn't become as aggressive as he became. Had they acted on Churchill's counsel, London may not have been bombed. Likewise, when we take the passive approach, thinking our sins and faults will go away and leave us alone, we get bombed and bombed, becoming destroyed spiritual carcasses, the opposite of God's overcomers. Satan is coming at us as aggressively as Hitler did to Europe. He wants us all as his spiritually dead servants or just plain dead. Churchill had a War Room and a War Table within it for strategy purposes. To the best of their knowledge, they could then offset enemy attacks with aggressive attacks of their own. We must think like that and do it with fervent praise, prayer and washing by the Word.
As it was with Joshua, so it is with Christ in our lives. God said to Joshua, 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. (Joshua 1:5) Hebrews 13:5 reiterates that identically for us today. Let your conversation (manner of life) be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Our contentment—our inheritance—our all in all—is God himself. Jesus Christ's overcoming and resurrection showed us that He can and will overthrow everything if we let Him—every lust, annoyance, arrogance, and heartlessness.
Whether in Joshua's time or today, the battle has always been spiritual. But instead of sword-fighting human enemies, we praise God, lifting up our Saviour in our midst, for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. And we fight against those things within us that exalt themselves against our Lord. In place of a large shield protecting us against metal and wooden weapons, we use our shield of faith—the fact that He will never leave us or forsake us in our battles. Praise is the power of heaven, and purity is the strength of the Church. Like victorious trumpets of war in Joshua's righteous army, praise sends a clear message to the enemy that Christ is leading our charge, and nothing can stand in His way. PRAYER Dear Lord, how hard we battle against the unseen enemy. The fight is entirely different, but your promises of victory remain the same—the battle is won by lifting Jesus higher in the midst. and increasing He who lives within us.
Photo by GR Stocks