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Cornerstone Newsletter

Personal Warfare Against Ancient Enemies of God

"For the Lord Your God is the one who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies to save you." Deut 20:4

OldTestamentBattlesBy Greg DesVoignes

Much written here is a from an article I did in hard copy about 23 years ago on my former site.  At that time I had been contemplating the subject of the article for several months. In part, because of some phone calls and letters from people who shared difficulties they are encountering as servants of God.

Some are the frustrations of watching false doctrines come into their own churches, while no one seems to see it, or cares to listen. With others it is the seemingly never ending or rapid fire successions of problems & trials in all aspects of life; or a combination of both.

The other reason came from what I discovered in the Old Testament while going through my own difficult battle several years ago... and that even continues in some ways.  So, at that time I felt prompted to write about some of the Old Testament battles and how they still apply to us today.

One thing I found for certain; the ancient spiritual forces that existed in the Old Testament times and battles are still around today.  This article goes over some of these battles and shows how they can be compared to our own today, how we can respond to them, and how through Christ, we can overcome them.

 Where Are you, God?

I could not consider my life a rosy one before turning it over to God. However, after making that decision things seemed to go further down hill in many ways as the years went by. It was out of Egypt and into the wilderness. It was a time of learning, purging, fear, and battles. It still is at times.

One point of time several years ago the trials & battle[s] came from every side. And there seemed to be no help from God. What made matters worse is I had just finished teaching an eight week series on false doctrines, which had a lot to do with faith in God's Word. The trials were heavy, long, and it seemed the battles were being lost; and so was my faith and trust.

Doubt came in. I can tell you, it is frightening. What if what I am teaching is wrong? Where is the God of love, mercy and help? No God is a terrifying conception to have.

I was very low; no VERY low. So my mind was set [not by me though] to search the Word for God's promises, and the battles in the Old Testament. Three months of intensive searching and word studies resulted in three volumes of over three hundred pages of notes on the battles, and God's promises in the Psalms.

This was no short low time. It was not until about a year and a half later that God moved me back into teaching, and then into us forming this ministry. I'm somewhat a whiner when it comes to these things. I did not like being where I was at, never wanted to go back, and really am not fond of repeats.

I happen to strongly believe in the promises and protection of God, and felt betrayed, let down and defeated.

It really did not matter what I thought were the reasons for the situation. Whether it be an attack by Satan, God's discipline, learning, or for some other benefit; I didn't know. I just knew that God allowed it, and I did not fare well with this thought. I just knew I did not want to be there. Enough was enough.

So after writing only one paragraph of this article back then, I became neutralized and could not continue [there's that faith thing again]. Again it was, "Where are you God?". [How horrible it is going to be for those who will go through the Great Tribulation or for those who do not know Christ]  However, eventually it was completed....

 The Illusion Of Defeat

When we are in difficult situations, and there is no apparent answer to prayer, no apparent way out, it is easy to focus on the situation and succumb to defeat. Not good, but then the situations are real, scary, and many times unrelenting. No rest.

And although you may know in your heart God is still there, you don't want to hear verses like, "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose" Rom 8:28. I know, but I want out! Sometimes we want to crawl off the alter.

So, sometimes we think we are defeated. This is the illusion of defeat. Our thoughts and the circumstance overshadow the truth, the end that God has insight in [Rom 8:28].

Into The Fire Without Compromise

I thought of Shadrach, Meshach, Abed - nego, and Daniel. The first three are guys that get into trouble for not compromising the truth and devotion to the true God. They were raised in the apostasy of Judah which was under the rule of the Babylonians.  Because of their physical, mental characteristics and social standing , they were hand picked to serve the King of Babylon.  So they, along with others, were taken, to be trained in the pagan ways of the Chaldeans

They must have been taught well by their parents, the knowledge of the true God.  Knowing the truth, they did not want to go with the flow of the times. They separated themselves from participating in some of the teachings of the Chaldeans [who were the sorcerers and merchants of Babylon].  This was done with a little help from a Captain who liked them.

After a time, a positive difference was noted between these three, and the others [If we are born again, a difference is noted].  The result was that these three young people were elevated into high positions in Babylon.  But this did not stand well with the Chaldeans, so they sought out a way to destroy them.  So the story goes that in a likeness to the future Revelation 13 circumstance,  Nebuchadnezzar set up an image that all the people were to worship.  The worship was triggered by musical sound. [Daniel 3:4-6 and 15]

But, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed - nego made a stand for the truth in refusing to bow down and worship an image that the King of Babylon had set up.  The Chaldeans turned them in.  They were "arrested" for their stand for truth.  Even while standing before the king of Babylon and the musical sounds repeated,  they declined to compromise and did not worship the image.  They couldn't because their minds had not succumbed to the deceptive conditioning teachings and occultism of the Chaldeans.

As a side note, we need to understand how important it is for us as parents to teach our children the truth of God, and the knowledge of God.  Babylon still exists and the teachings of Chaldeans are still marked for our youth via the secular world through programs / curriculum that are in schools and churches aimed at youth.

If you do not think that people can be triggered to respond to something, consider the Toronto Blessing.  How is it that Rodney H. Brown can stand on a stage, start to chuckle, and in a brief period people respond by falling on the floor, walking like some skid row drunk, and instantly manifest symptoms of disease?  How is that music can trigger people into these trances?  How is it that without warning, something can trigger the spontaneous return of these things in a person a long time after practicing the Toronto manifestations?  How is it that a child can be instantly put in a trance in a church and go on a mind trip that her parents can't wake her out of? [See the article "Visualization and Contemplative Meditation: Sorcery In The Church"].  This is another Old Testament battle.

Now back to our story...

So they were sentenced by the King of Babylon to be bound up and put in a furnace and burn for not worshiping his image. Impossible situation; no way out. What gets me is their words to the King.

"If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king" Dan 3:17

Now to me, at least at this point in time if I were in that situation, I could say "If it be so". However, my thinking may change in the progression of things. I could see the situation I was in, which is not good. But then, having faith and trust in God at this point I could probably say "He will deliver". But how would I respond as the situation progressed, as I was bound up like these three guys were?  Am I willing to still say, "If it be so"?

This is getting serious. I can't run, I can't move, there is no human way I can see my way out. Now I'm saying, "God, oh God, do you see what is happening? I need some help?'.

Then, as I get latched onto by the guards and start being dragged [I'm not going to go voluntarily] towards the furnace as they were, my fear increases and so does my doubt. But I'm still crying out, "God stop this, please, where are you?

And as I get to the door of the furnace I realize I said "If it be so, God will deliver". But now, I have lost hope and don't have the faith of "If it be so". Now, at the door of the furnace I'm saying, "God, why have you forsaken me?"....  In the case of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed - nego, all three were thrown into the fire.

This is the illusion of defeat in this situation. I can't see Jesus. He's there, in the fire, just like the king of Babylon saw four people in the furnace, Jesus is with us! I can't see what God sees: the purpose and good end to the fire.  

In this situation, the three men of God went through it with the protection of Jesus, and were not harmed in any way.  Afterward "the king caused Shadrach, Meshach and Abed - nego to prosper in the province of Babylon" Dan 3:30. The other reason for this situation was for the benefit of the king, that he might come to know God. No doubt, he and all saw the difference between the pagan gods and the true God.

But How about Daniel?

The Importance Of Trust And Personal Integrity

During the reign of the Persians over Judah, God had a plan to raise Daniel over the whole kingdom. Darius, the Mede king who liked Daniel, was to be the human instrument to do this. But Darius was unknowingly manipulated by evil means to set Daniel up for something he did not do. [Satan will set up others to do the same today]

Some of Daniel's co workers attempted to find some sort of corruption in his working that they could tell the king about so that he might be removed from his good graces with Darius. But they couldn't find any. So they used his worship of God against him. They conspired and manipulated the king to make the praying to God illegal. People were only to petition the king. The result of not following this decree was death.  So, using pride and lust, they set up the king to get Daniel. The king, by going along with this, unknowingly set up this innocent man to be a potential victim of Satan.

Now these demonic evil manipulators went to the king and told him that Daniel was not going along with the program; he was still praying to God. The king could not go against his own decree of death to those who broke his law, and Daniel was taken in.  The king now realizes his deeds, his own lusts and pride, have caused a death sentence to this man he liked. He knows too late he was used for evil.

"...he was deeply distressed and set his mind on delivering Daniel, and even until sunset he kept exerting himself to rescue him." Dan 6:14

The problem was, he couldn't. He could not reverse his own deed, his own decree. Now Daniel is off to the lion's den. What a situation!

Before this, things seem to be going great. Daniel is about to be promoted to a very high position.  But behind the scenes, Satan is working evil towards Daniel. God knows it and allows it. So Daniel is put into a pit he cannot get out of and given over to the lions. To make it even worse, a cover is put over the pit. No way out of this!  Have you ever been here?

The king who could not reverse the progression of what he had done, said, "Your God whom you constantly serve will Himself deliver you." Dan 6:16. My response in this would be, "Right. I've been let down by the God whom I have served and now I'm lion bait". Being put in a pit with a bunch of hungry lions who want to rip you apart can have the tendency to cause an illusion of defeat......

Situations are real and bone shaking scary. But again, this illusion of what appears to be the real end, is not the reality.

The king now appears to be turning to God to reverse his unwitting deed. First, he tells Daniel God will deliver him. Then he's up all night fasting. In the morning he runs to the pit and asks Daniel if God was able to deliver him. He seems to be somewhat of a believer now. In any normal situation, Daniel would have been dead. How can you talk to a dead man? Daniel responded;

"My God sent His Angel and shut the lion's mouths, and they have not harmed me, inasmuch as I was found innocent before Him; and also toward you, O king, I have committed no crime." Dan 6:22

"...and no injury was found on him, because he trusted in God." Dan 6:23

The unseen reality behind this apparent no win situation was victory and not defeat. It was for the benefit of the king, the kingdom, Daniel and us. The king removed the evil from his life that used him to attempt to discredit Daniel, his integrity, and put him out of commission. For Daniel,

"So this Daniel enjoyed success in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian." Dan 6:28

When we become active Christians, when God has a plan for us, we can become targets of Satan. He wants to make us incapable of serving, incapable of believing. And situations arise that can do this. We can fail to see God's plan, fail to see the Angel of God in the pit with us, fail to see past the situation and the illusion of defeat.

With Daniel out of the way, there would have been no Book of Daniel, a book that used Daniel's, Shadrach's, Meshach's and Abed - nego's no win situations to show us these things, and the end victory over Satan in these times. God had a plan and no force would stop it. The same applies to us.

But note a key phrase that Daniel said of his deliverance; "...inasmuch as I was found innocent before Him [God]".   Sometimes it is our own sin that gets us into difficulties [But not all the time].  But this was not the case with Daniel and God vindicated him.  I have experienced this vindication a few times in the past when wrongly accused of things.  God does do it, sometimes adding an "extra".  Keep this in mind as it will come up later.

 The Reality: Victory

Now I'm not one to share problems with people [not good], unless they become just too much. Then, instead of rivers of living water coming out of me, rivers of despair do. Back in one of my low times, I shared some of my despair with two people whom I appreciate much. As I was unloading my lack of faith, trust, and God - let - me - down syndrome to one, I realized I had been set up for this conversation.

When I finished my treatise he said, "Let me read something to you". It must have been right in front of him when he called. He read from 1 Samuel 30. It is about a battle [how easy I forgot]. In this section, while David and his small army is away from his city, the Amalekites raided Ziglag. They took away all the women and children, all the people, including two of David's wives, and all their possessions.

David was devastated. It says that he and his men wept until there was nothing left in them.

The message out of this that struck me was,

"But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God" 1 Sam 30:6. And he asked God,

"Shall I pursue this band? Shall I overtake them? And He said to him, 'Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them, and you shall surely recover all' ". 1 Sam 30:8.

How timely and uncoincidental! But I was still not ready to sing "Onward Christian Soldiers". Yet I was in hope that this was God speaking to me, showing me past the illusion of defeat to victory.

Then I received a set of sermon tapes from the other person with a note on one, "Listen to this one first, its for you". I guess it was.

Part of what this pastor was teaching was on the need to die to self, and that includes allowing Him to allow circumstances to benefit others and glorify Himself. Now after being angry at God, and having gone through my gyrations as to "what are you doing, where are you", etc. I thought of Job. He really had it bad.  But yet, what did God say to him?

"Then the Lord said to Job, 'Will the faultfinder contend with the Almighty? Let him who reproves God answer it.' Then Job answered the Lord and said, 'Behold, I am insignificant; what can I reply to thee? Job 40:1-4

Then the Lord answered Job out of a storm, and said, 'Now gird up your loins like a man; I will ask you and you instruct Me. Will you really annul My judgment? Will you condemn Me that you may be justified?..... [Shame on me]

Then Job answered the Lord and said, 'I know that Thou canst do all things, and that no purpose of Thine can be thwarted.... Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand, things to wonderful for me, which I did not know. [We can do this in our circumstances]

Hear now, and I will speak; I will ask Thee, and do Thou instruct me. I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees Thee...'" Job 40:6-8; 41:1-5

When we consider the situations of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed -nego and the outcomes, this becomes understandable. Hopefully our eyes see.

By the way, Shadrach Meshach, and Abed -nego were not their real given names. They were changed to these by Nebuchadnezzar to reflect the image of the gods of Babylon.

Their real names were Hannaniah, Meshael, and Azariah. Hannaniah means: God has favored (mercy, rest); Meshael means: Who is what God is (a reflection of God); Azariah means: God has helped (surround, protect). And Daniel means: Judge of God (To plead the cause of God). A lesson in their circumstances, and in their names, which reflected the faith in their circumstances and in the victories of God.

So, despite where we are at or what we feel, we need to pursue by strengthening ourselves in the Lord, and will perhaps gain victory in the battle.  Paul confirms this when he said,

" strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."  Ephesians 6:10-11

The messages out of scripture I received from two friends, also bring up an important aspect in regard to moving toward a victory; the importance of fellow Christians assisting in our battles. We will see an example of this later on.

 Ancient Nations Battle Today

"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 the high places." Ephesians 6:12-13

Some may wonder what the significance is of studying the battles of the Old Testament. What's the big deal about the Amalekites, Hittites, Philistines, etc.? Aren't they dead and gone?

These nations are gone, but the powers and principalities of Satan that were behind them are not. And Satan's tactics have not changed. The good thing is, God's ways have not changed either. So through these battles against the ancient enemies of God, we can see how God shows us the way he brings victory and encouragement to us. You will see yourself being involved in or be able to relate to one, or maybe several of these battles. I can't put them all in this newsletter, so these are selected ones. I strongly encourage you to get into the word and study them.

Satan Wants You Back:  The Pursuit of Pharaoh

This is directed to new believers, but it can apply to us all.

After being a slave of the world [Egypt], so to speak, for over four hundred years, God delivered Israel by the sacrifice of a lamb. Those who covered their door posts by the blood of this lamb were saved from destruction and delivered out of the control of Pharaoh, into the control of God.

They left Egypt, no longer slaves, inasmuch as we were delivered by the blood of Jesus to be set free from the control of Satan, the world, and saved. But now a short time later they were brought to a wall; the Red Sea.  And to make matters worse, Pharaoh was moved by God to pursue the people he just delivered. The sea prevented escape.  A seemingly impossible situation.

As this enemy came closer, the people of Israel saw them and became afraid. At first they cried out to God. But then;

"they said to Moses, 'Is it not because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you delt with us this way, bringing us out of Egypt? Is this not the word that we spoke to you in Egypt, saying "Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians?" For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness'." Ex 14:11-12

Now, have you thought this when you are up against a wall, no way out, and the world is trying to get you back.? "Things were better before I became a Christian; look at the problems I'm having; its too hard to go on, I give up"

"But Moses said to the people, 'Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord.... The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent. Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward'." Ex 14:13, 14, 15

What, go forward? I can't, there is a giant obstacle in front of me! We see the obstacles, God sees beyond. The obstacle of the Red Sea had not yet parted, but God said go forward. He would take care of the obstacle and the pursuing enemies. But don't go back to where you came from!

For Israel, Egypt was always there, for generations, beckoning for them to return there for help at times. The world is always here for us, also beckoning for us to return. God said don't go back, go forward. Keep on keeping on!  We can't hold onto the world and God.

Tired Of The Battle? Amalek: The "Waster"

Sometimes we get involved in a battle that continues over a period of time. While it seems we are gaining ground, after a while we just get to tired to continue. It gets wearisome even if we have been focusing on Jesus.  It is at these times we need encouragement from fellow Christians.  One battle shows us the importance of this.

In Exodus 17 Moses instructs Joshua to choose some men to go out and fight against Amalek [waster]. Moses said,

"Tomorrow I will station myself on the top of the hill with the staff [branch] of God in my hand.....Ex 17:9

So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed..... Ex 17:11

Sometimes we run into the waster. And even though we may have the Branch of God [Jesus] in our hand and are lifting him up high, we get tired, or when it seems that we are winning, we put Him back down. So how can this battle be won?

"But Moses hands were heavy [burdensome]. Then they [Aaron & Hur], took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set. So Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword" Ex 17:12-13

At times it takes other Christians to come along side to get us back in focus. They can set us down on the Rock, help establish a foundation of rest for the battle. We can help each other lift up the Branch, Jesus, when we cannot anymore due to the consistent battle.

And how was Amalek overwhelmed? With the sword. The Bible tells us that the Word of God is the sword of the Spirit. So when you see a fellow brother or sister getting tired or discouraged, and seemingly losing the battle they are in, go along side them, encourage them in the word, help them hold Jesus up in faith until the spiritual forces behind the battle are overwhelmed and defeated.

A Danger In Falling Back: Amalek - The Jackal

A while back I saw one of those gruesome nature shows that followed the life of a lioness and her two cubs. For a reason I cannot remember, the lioness became injured, and as a result, had a difficult time faring for herself and her cubs. Thus she became weakened.

Now lions hold together in "prides". In the animal kingdom this is a protective benefit. However, a downfall in the animal kingdom happens when an animal becomes weak and cannot keep up. The weak are left behind; rejected. So was the situation of this lioness and her cubs.

The African plains have a disgusting breed that take advantage of these type situations. That is the Jackal. Their expertise is looking for the weak so they can have an easy meal. And while they would not dare to attack a strong lion, or a pride, they don't hesitate to go after a weak one. So was the case of this lioness and her cubs.

A pack of jackals constantly tormented her. They would harass her from every side, trying to tire her so she could not protect her cubs. And when the jackals got her tired enough, the cubs were taken. Eventually, over a period of a few hours, they got her too. They are formidable foes, and extremely persistent until they accomplish their goal.

Amalek, and his descendants the Amalekites, were the Jackals of the desert against Israel. God tells us this of them:

"Remember what Amalek did to you along the way when you came out of Egypt, how he met you along the way and attacked among you all the stragglers at your rear when you were faint and weary; and he did not fear God. Deut 25:17-18

Amalek was the first to attack Israel after they came out of Egypt. And their ways were the ways of the Jackal.

As Israel traveled through the desert, God went before them, leading them in a cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night. He was in their sight. But during their travel, there were some who straggled behind. They were faint, weak and weary. They lost sight of the cloud and the pillar of fire; God. The Amalekites, like jackals, took advantage of it and attacked the weary and weak. They attacked, from the rear, those who straggled behind.

Today the same spiritual forces exist. When we become spiritually weary, worn down and vulnerable by circumstances, the spiritual jackals come in. Like a pack of jackals surrounding the lioness, they hit us from all sides, confusing us and breaking us down. This is why keeping God in sight is important. Stay in fellowship, remain close to the sight of the cloud, and the fire.

On the other end, we should not be like the animals who leave the weak behind. This is where the battle against these forces come in to play. We need to be Aarons, Hurs, and Joshuas. If it were not for an Aaron and a Hur coming to me with the "sword of the spirit", to set me on a rock and help me hold up Jesus, it could be worse.

God said that Amalek was "the first of the nations, but his end shall be destruction" Numbers 24:20

He was the first nation to attack Israel. But God also said that they would be around until God gave them rest on all sides. And that has not happened yet!.  So, from Moses to David, the Amalekites showed up many times when Israel was involved in battles with other enemies of God. They waited for the right time to come in and pick off the weak from behind.

These spiritual forces do not want you to be able to serve God. So, continue to move forward in your ministry, in your walk, close to God. If a jackal cannot find anything weak to feed on, he will perish. So;

" strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil". Eph 6:10-11

The Amalekites can be beaten. Be aware that they are around. As the friend who read to me the account of the Amalekites attacking the vulnerable city of Ziglag, where God told David to pursue them; go and pursue them.

Hit With Fear & Doubt:  Lies of the Assyrians

Have you been a faithful servant of God, walking in his ways, and all of the sudden things just start going bad? Listen to this.

"And thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah; and he did what was good, right, and true before the Lord his God. And every work which he began in the service of the house of God in law and in commandment, seeking his God, he did with all his heart and prospered."

After these acts of faithfulness Sennacherib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah and besieged the fortified cities, and thought to break into them for himself" 2 Chron 31:20-21; 32:1

Hezekiah was a good king in the sight of the Lord. And with the exception of a short bout with pride that God took out of him, he sought the Lord and served him with all his heart. In spite of this, trouble came. Perhaps you can relate to this and wonder, "what did I do to deserve this?"

The Assyrians were a demented society. Ninevha, their capital city, had once repented and turned to God, but in less than 150 years, they became apostate. They were the world power at this time, and had a reputation of victory over everything. In fact Assyria means "success". And they were having success against the cities of Judah. Even though the cities were fortified, Sennacherib was breaking into them to take them for himself. He had been unstoppable. And now he was going after Jerusalem, where the king was.

Despite this set back, Hezekiah took action. He added fortifications to Jerusalem, raised up a militia, and gave a talk of encouragement to the people saying;

"Be strong and courageous, do not fear or be dismayed because of the king of Assyria, nor because of all the multitude which is with him; for the one with us is greater than the one with him. With him is only an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles". And the people relied upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah." 2 Chron 32:7-8

Sometimes we can be like Hezekiah. A situation comes in our lives in which there seems no remedy for. We may have seen this enemy [whatever it may be], like Assyria, never lose. Yet we believe and encourage others to trust in God.

Hezekiah's words are words to remember when the "king of success" comes up before us. It is amazing that he could say this after watching this ruler take over other cities. And now, with unbeatable odds, they were at his front door. But Hezekiah was not about to run. Yet Sennacherib was not one to give up, inasmuch as these spiritual forces are today.

This ruler sent a messenger to Hezekiah to taunt him and the people in order to bring them down with fear. The same battle plans come up to us today. The ruler of this world sends his messengers either by flesh or spirit to speak lies to bring fear.

As you read some of the things this messenger said, put yourself in the place of the people. Have these thoughts ever entered your mind?....  He starts with;

"...On what are you trusting that you are remaining in Jerusalem under siege? Is not Hezekiah misleading you to give yourselves over to die by hunger and by thirst, saying, 'The Lord our God will deliver us from the hand of the King of Assyria?'." 2 Chron 32 10-11

He is attempting to plant doubt by saying "Do you really think God is with you? Do you really believe He is going to help?....

"Do you not know what I and all my fathers have done to all the peoples of the lands? Were the gods of the nations of the lands able to deliver their land from my hand." 2 Chron 32:13

No one has ever beat this thing before [and in this case it was true]....

" god of any nation or kingdom was able to deliver his people from my hand or from the hand of my fathers. How much less shall your God deliver you from my hand?" 2 Chron 32:15

God can't help me in this one.....

" the God of Hezekiah shall not deliver His people from my hand." 2 Chron 32:17

God won't help me in this.....

"And they called this out with a loud voice in the language of Judah to the people of Jerusalem who were on the wall, to frighten and terrify them, so that they might take the city.

And they spoke of the God of Jerusalem as of the gods of the peoples of the earth, the work of men's hand's." 2 Chron 32:18-19

Now that we've listened to this, [and sometimes almost believe it] real fear sets and we may wonder if God is any better than man's power or the situation at hand....

At any rate, now Hezekiah and the people become frightened and the king prayed and cried out to God. The results were that the Lord sent an angel, confused the Assyrians so that they left the area. The angel then destroyed the army. Sennacherib was killed.

We need to cry out to God. But let us not wait until the last minute to do this as Hezekiah did. In his pride, he tried his own thing first; taking the water supply away, setting up a militia, fortifying the city, etc. These were not necessary. God fought the battle.

Hezekiah also made a big mistake. Due to this unprecedented victory no one had ever heard of before [without raising a hand], the people exalted Hezekiah and themselves. Hezekiah became the General Schworztkof of that time. The results were not good. Never take credit for what God has done.

I shudder to think of our nation giving victory credit in Desert Storm to our supposed superiority and advanced technology, but not to God. I feel the same about churches and ministries who promote and give credit to their buildings, programs, marketing schemes for what appears to be success. God operates without these.

So, be aware of the powers and schemes that are behind the so called unconquerable situations, the lies and fears they plant, and our own pride. Cry out to God, and rely on Him.

There is also something important to remember about this siege on Jerusalem.  God delivered them out of it, but two other times he did not.  Why? They followed deceptive teachings, rejected the truth of God, and became apostate.

Ways To Lose Battles: Politicking With Enemies

King Asa had rest for a while because he and Judah had earnestly sought God with all their heart. Previously when Judah was attacked, Asa relied totally on God for help and victory.  But then apostate Israel came to war against him, along with Ben - hadad king of Aram.

Contrary to the last battle, Asa does not seek God for help. Instead he does two things that bring him down. One, he fights by the flesh and not by the Spirit; two, he makes an alliance with an enemy to gain victory. Asa went to Israel's battle partner Ben - hadad and says,

"Let there be a treaty between you and me, as between my father and your father. Behold I have sent you silver and gold; go, break your treaty with Baasha king of Israel so the he will withdraw from me." 2 Chron 16:3

Now Asa has turned from relying upon God to becoming a politician relying on money to sway an enemy to his side. He is also relying on the power of numbers. Remove the odds from Israel, and Israel will not succeed against him. Don't we see this today. Look at how nations, even ours play political games using money to buy off and gain allies [but they're not really allies].

But this also happens on a personal level. People, even Christians, use money as the manipulator to gain something. Or they even may make an alliance with the world or some group to gain a victory.  In desperation, those who may be sick get involved in the false faith healers, or other New Age type things and so called "medicines" and techniques in hoping to win over the illness.

Churches and ministries are becoming ecumenical. Putting differences aside, some make alliances with non Christian groups, even apostate organizations and denominations, to fight against a problem common to both. Whether it be abortion, child abuse, family life, unity, or peace; these problems, not God, are the banner of unity. Instead of unity of the Spirit, it is the spirit of unity used to battle.

Did Asa win against Israel? Yes, but it was a deceptive win. He won a battle, but lost the war. He did forsake God, and it cost him.

"Because you have relied on the king of Aram and have not relied on the Lord your God, therefore the army of the king of Aram has escaped out of your hand. Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubim an immense army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet, because you relied on the Lord, He delivered them into your hand....

....You have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars." 2 Chron 16:7-8, 9

We may get temporary satisfaction by battling in the flesh, using our own power, money, getting our strength from numbers, becoming ecumenical, or going to the world and paying for some sort of remedy, system or solution that is not of God; but we will never really win without God. Our enemies are of the spiritual realm behind the fleshly instruments. This takes God, not us, to gain victory.

The other thing to note is, God said because of what Asa did, Judah would surely have wars. We can be a blessing or a curse to our ministries, churches, and even our families. If we seek the world and not God we can become a curse. If we become ecumenical with those groups that do not have the truth of Christ, the true Spirit of God, we will eventually lose.  If we seek God and not ourselves, we become a blessing. So remember this;

"For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that he may strongly support those whose heart is completely His..." 2 Chron 15:2; 16: 9

 Prerequisite For Winning: Totally Following God

"Listen to me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: the Lord is with you when you are with him. And if you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake him, He will forsake you...

For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that he may strongly support those whose heart is completely His..." 2 Chron 15:2; 16: 9

In 2 Chron 14, we see the Ethiopians coming out against king Asa. Asa, who had an army of 580,000 men, was out numbered by Zerah who had 1,000,000 men and 300 chariots. Now in reality, this would be one of those scary situations. How could anyone have a victory against such odds? This is how;

"Then Asa called to the Lord his God and said, 'Lord, there is no one besides Thee to help in the battle between the powerful and those who have no strength; so help us O Lord our God, for we trust in Thee, and in Thy name have come against this multitude. O Lord, Thou art our God; let no man prevail against us'."

How many times have you felt defeated because of people, or a group of powerful people or situations have come against you? We need to recognize what Asa recognized. There is no one but God who can help the weak win over the powerful. So we also need to trust in God and in His name, not ours, go against the powerful odds against us in prayer.. Remember this; numbers and the so called "strength in numbers" are meaningless to God. We will see later how this applies to us too.

God listened to Asa and turned the Ethiopians away. They were pursued and destroyed. Asa was with God, so God was with Asa. This is the most important prerequisite to winning battles. You must be a follower, a seeker of God, and totally rely on him.

Midianites Are Still Stealing: Gideon Removes The Idols And Gains Victory

"And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord: and the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years... And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass... And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried out unto the Lord".  Judges 6:1, 4, 6

After forty years of following God and the peace that came because of it, Israel got into things that did not please God: Idolatry.  They got into following the gods of the Amorites, whom they lived among.  So, God allowed the Midianites to come against them for seven years.  No matter how much they worked, how much they made, it was taken away by these people to the point of impoverishing Israel.  They couldn't get there from here.

In this situation we see two things that still exist today in the church; First, the idolatry, and the result of it.  We see it in the idolizing of people, money, seeking prosperity, possessions, incorporating the world and false teachings, systems, buildings, and even putting ourselves before the ways of God. Second, we see the same results that Israel experienced.

So Israel cried out to God for help.  And what was God's response?  He sent them a prophet to remind them how he had delivered them in different ways, and what he gave to them.  He reminded them that he told them not to follow the gods of the Amorites.  And then he told them why things were the way they were; "..but ye have not obeyed my voice" Judges 6:10

We cannot expect God to bless when we disobey, when we set up idols and seek after these things.  We can't expect to think we can follow God and still be involved in idolatry. So God tells Israel the "why".  But even though they cried out to God, he did not say he was going to help.  It seems they had no interest in repenting as there is no mention of it.  We cannot cry out to God and expect him to do something if we do not become humble and turn away from these sins.  We cannot walk on the line of the world or other things, and with God.

James said,
"But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.." James 1:22
God sent the prophet to tell them their problem the, but they did not take action on it, and continued to live in self deception.  So, nothing happened.  This is a condition that still goes on today, and we wonder why when we cry out, nothing happens!  The Midianites are still around as are the forces of the Amorites that beckon and hold us to the falsehoods of idolatrous things.

But God still had a plan for Israel that shows us what we are to do today to overcome them.

Bummed Out Gideon And God's Grace
Now the Word tells us that God sends an angel of the the Lord who appeared to Gideon.  The angel says to Gideon;

" 'The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of Valor'. And Gideon said unto him, 'Oh my Lord, if the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, "Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?" But now the Lord hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.' " Judges 6:13

It can be seen here that they just did not get it!  God sends a prophet, tells them the problem, and Gideon is still saying, "Why?".  Have you ever thought what Gideon thought?  Why have these things come on us, where are the miracles we read about Jesus and the disciples doing?  Why has God forsaken us and does not answer?  I have.

And have we not asked God the same question, "If He is with us, then why all these things?"  But then God told Gideon He was.  There was a reason for it.

I like the response of the Lord toward Gideon's question. "And the Lord looked upon him and said, 'Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hands of the Midianites: have I not sent thee?  It must have been a look of "Oh boy; You really don't get it, do you?"

But then the Lord sets Gideon on a course of obedient action in order to have victory.  He was to be a doer of the Word!.  And what was that action?

Victory: It Starts In Our Own Lives
Step One
"...the Lord said unto him, 'Take thy father's young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the the alter of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that is by it." Judges 6:25

The Lord sends Gideon to his own house first and tells him to get rid of the idols and the things that went along with them.  Get this idolatry out of your life!

Step Two
"And build an altar unto the Lord they God upon the top of this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down" Judges 6:26

Then God tells Gideon to replace the idolatry with God himself, to place an alter to God on top of the rock that formerly held the alter of Baal.  Put God on top.  But he takes it further and tells Gideon to bring the elements of the idolatry before him and to burn them on the alter of God.

This is the action God wants us to do in our own lives.  Take these sins before him and repent of them, burn them out of our lives so to speak.  Instead of sacrificing the relationship with God for them, sacrifice them for the sake of the relationship with God.  Idolatry causes problems for us today as it did for Israel back then.

This can go beyond the outward though.  In several places in the Old Testament God said that Israel had set up idols in their hearts.  The heart has to change to the Lord before the action can be taken in a real way.  Otherwise there will not be a true obedience to the Lord.  That is where the sacrifice comes in, the showing of true repentance.  It has to go beyond just knocking the "idol" down.

God Shows The Truth:  Idolatry Is Worthless, But God Is Priceless
Now people get mad when idolatry is exposed, when the falsehoods of their heroes are brought to light.  They get mad when they cannot continue their own ways, yet think they can follow God.  Idolatry has a strong hold.  The same applied to Israel back then.

The people got mad when they saw their idols torn down, their worship elements destroyed.  They still did not get it, they still did not understand that this was to their benefit.  So they wanted to kill Gideon.  But Joash, Gideon's father tells the people something interesting;

"Will ye plead for Baal? Will ye save him? He that will plead for him, let him be put to death whilst it is yet morning; if he be a god, let him plead for himself, because one hath cast down his altar." Judges 6:31

What good is this thing in our lives?  How powerful is this that it could not even prevent one person from tearing down the altar, the forest grove, and burn it all up before the Lord?  What good does it do us?  Where has it gotten us today; nothing but trouble and no solution!  We need to look at these things today; from our personal lives, to those things we have brought into and that are in the church today.

The Result Of Obedience: Victory
Now right after this, we are told that the Midianites, and Amalekites and many others began gathering together. Judges 7:12 tells us that they were, " grasshoppers for the multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the seaside for multitude."

It did not look good for Israel at all.  They were in bad shape as it was with just the Midianites taking from them; but now it was overwhelming!  The idols were put down, but the problem still remained.

But now God is about to show them what happens when idols are put down.  Things change!  God was about to do something in a way that no man, no other thing could take credit for against the impossible.

The Lord prompts Gideon to gather an army.  Gideon obeys and does it.  I won't go into all the details of it, but the end result was victory.  God reduced Gideon's gathered army to only 300 men to go against the multitudes.  Why? This is where the faith came in to believe that God would do what he said he would do, and to show the difference between the life of idolatry and the life that is obedient to God and forsakes these things.

So God tells this small army to divide into three companies and station themselves around the camp of this multitude.  Their weapons were trumpets, pitchers, and lamps.  The plan was simple; blow the horns, break the pitchers, and yell, "The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon"

When this small army did this, the Midianites cried out in fear and fled, killing each other in the process.  Their problem self destructed because Gideon followed the Lord.  And Gideon pursued the rest and overcame them.

"Thus was Midian subdued before the children of Israel, so that they lifted up their heads no more.  And the country was in quietness forty years in the days of Gideon." Judges 8:28

Lessons To Remember
Our own sins, as in the idolizing of things, can bring serious problems to our lives.  We need to recognize them, not ignore them; the falsehoods, self focus, money, possessions, making icons out of people, and any number of things.  We then need to be like Gideon and not just hear the word, and say we are going to remove these things, but do it! And don't turn back to it. Otherwise we are only deceiving ourselves.

Secondly, recall that it was only Gideon that became a doer.  Israel never did fully repent of their idolatry, but were only pleased that the problem went away.  They were typical of people today; cry out to the Lord when things get bad, with intentions of "getting right" with God.  But when things get back to normal, so does the behavior.  The old things are right back again.  But so are the problems.  Some people just do not get it today either.

Israel really did not learn their lesson [many times over], and after forty years at peace,

"... as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel turned again, and went whoring after Baalim, and made Baal-berith their god.  And the children of Israel remembered not the Lord their God, who had delivered them out of the hands of all their enemies."  Judges 8:33-34

So, learn from this battle the things the Lord requires for victory over the spiritual forces that hold us, and the forces that come about as the result of it.  And realize, we cannot take care of the problem ourselves; God does it, and we will see the benefit of totally following God over the idols in our lives.

 Apostasy Frustrations

We are in the end times. And as a result we are watching our the world, our nation, churches, and even families, heading on a collision course toward crashing because of not following the true God.

We feel like Lot [at least some do], of whom it was said in 2 Peter 2:7-9, was vexed, oppressed by what he saw and heard going on in his time. It seems like there is nothing but confusion today. If you are seeing false teachings come in to your church, you may have become frustrated and are discouraged because it seems no one sees it and no one wants to hear about it.

You may even feel like giving up, or just joining the crowd because of the thought that comes in "Am I wrong; are they right?" You don't want to do either. [See Dan 11:33-35]

First, God has shown us before hand what was to come. He told us where the world would be heading. He told us there would be difficult times in the end because people would love themselves more than God. And He told us there would be an apostasy, that we would see His church fall away into following false teachings. But, he also told us what we are to do, in spite of these things. To Ezekiel he said concerning Israel,

"Son of man, I am sending you to the sons of Israel, to a rebellious people who have rebelled against Me to this very day....

...neither fear them nor fear their words, though thistles and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions, neither fear their words or be dismayed at their presence... But you shall speak My words to them whether they listen or not..." Ez 2:3,6,7

Your ministry, whether it is like ours, pastoring, street evangelism, or what ever, is to speak the word of God. The rest is God's doing. He battles.  Learn to rest in this.

I know the frustrations of knowing that some who are not listening may end up living in the tribulation period [should it happen in our time or in the future], and watch as people are led astray. But God is even preparing for that.

What you, we, are doing now by speaking the truth of God's word, even though no one may listen at this time, may have an effect later. What it comes down to is, we've read the book [God's word], now were watching the movie [the fulfillment].

God's Incredible Battle

Jericho. An impenetrable walled city harboring an enemy of God. God wanted Israel to go against this city & take it. This was a confrontation so significant, that it is believed that Jesus himself was present to give Joshua instructions on the battle plan. [Josh 5:13-15; 6:1-5]

This battle shows the measures God will take when he has a plan for one person that eventually benefits many. It also shows the importance of our going forward and following His battle plans.

In this city was Rahab, a seemingly insignificant harlot. I say seemingly insignificant because God had a plan for her, and no enemy of God, no walled fortress was going to stop that plan.

Rahab is the person who hid the two witnesses that Joshua sent into the city to scope it out. She told them she knew that the true God was with them and would take the city. She asked that she and her family be spared. In a sense she was a believer in the midst of God's enemies. [Josh 2:1-21]

Again, God had a plan for her. Getting her out of Jericho to accomplish this plan was part of the reason for the battle. So, the account goes that because Joshua obeyed the instructions of God, the walls of Jericho fell flat. Rahab and her family were spared and taken out before the city was destroyed.  She then lived among Israel.

What was the plan for this seemingly insignificant woman? She was to be in the genealogy of Jesus. [Matt 1:5].  Do you feel insignificant?  You are not insignificant to God.  If we look throughout biblical history, God seemed to choose more of the unknown than the known, more of the insignificant the the mighty, to carry out his plan.

When God has a plan for us, what extremes will he go to accomplish that plan? What seemingly insignificant person can be reached if we, like Joshua, continue forward in obedience against the fortresses, against the odds, against the impossible situations?

What The Lord Requires

"The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.  O taste and see that the Lord is good:  blessed is the man that trusteth in Him."  Ps 34:7-8

Even though the Word says God's people will have trouble [Ps 34:19 and others], I often wonder why there is not more deliverance and help; why it seems there is so much unhealed illness in the body of Christ today.  Perhaps it lay in some of the things that are going on in the church today with the false teachings many follow.  Perhaps it is the problem of Idolatry in the church, and in personal lives.  Or, perhaps it lay within the two key words above; fear and trust.  Ps 34:7-8 show us part of that criteria for deliverance.  Are these two things a problem today?  Yes, but the initial "why" question is a hard one to answer.

But when it comes down to it, both "trust" and "fear" of God are two of the most repeated words and concepts in the Bible.  The following verses are very much worth considering in gaining victory in our battles in view of this.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7

What does "fear" mean? Reverence, which is an attitude of deep respect, love and awe and submission to God. So the beginning of knowledge comes from having this attitude of deep respect, love, submission, and awe of the Lord.

What is the "fear" of the Lord?

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments… Psalm 110:10

So, this attitude of deep respect, love, awe and submission bring about wisdom, and understanding comes about for those who do his commandments. What then are his commandments and what is "the fear of the Lord"?

Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord. What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days? that he may see good?

The answer, and commandments

Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile [deceiving, fraud, cunning in dealing with others]
Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it
. Psalm 34:11-14


The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward [perverse, fraud] mouth do I hate. Proverbs 8:13

When we have a deep respect, love, awe, and submission to the Lord, this will be the manifestation: doing his commandments. This is the "fear of the Lord".

What does God say about those who fear the Lord, which is keeping these commandments?

The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite [deep feeling of remorse for sinning; crushed, humbled] spirit. Psalm 34:18

The angel of the Lord encampeth around them that fear him and delivereth them. Psalm 34:7

The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. Psalm 34:17

What man is he that feareth the Lord? Him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose. His soul shall dwell at ease: and his seed shall inherit the earth.

The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him; and He will show them His covenant." Ps 25:12-14

And so we see how these ancient spiritual enemies of God are defeated.  We can even see in these verses how the fear of the Lord applied to the battles that were discussed beforehand.  I would encourage us to read the many battles in the Old Testament, both national and personal, and see how this great God moves and plans for our benefit and he did for Israel and individuals.  He is the same today as yesterday.

The picture at the beginning of this article was painted by artist Linda Braucht.  Originally done in black and white pen art for our hard copy newsletter, it was one of my favorites she drew.  She was kind enough to later do this color one for me to frame.