Christian Devotions

Posts tagged ‘Battle’

Joshua Fought The Battle — Or Did He?

Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in.

And the Lord said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.

And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days.

And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets.

And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.  ~~  Joshua 6:1-5 (KJV)

We’ve all heard the song “Joshua fought the battle of Jericho, Jericho, Jericho…”

But today’s reading says otherwise. The battle was not Joshua’s, but the Lord’s. God gave specific instructions which had to be obeyed. Had Joshua not obeyed the Lord, the walls would not have collapsed.

So exactly what did they do? Well the army marched around the city once a day for seven days — without saying a word. The Ark of the Covenant went before them. And seven priests with trumpets (or shofar) led the Ark.

We have, in effect, the heralding trumpets (seven, the perfect number) leading the presence of the Lord as symbolized by the Ark of the Covenant, followed by the silent army. Imagine the wonder of the besieged citizens of Jericho.

This is not the kind of battle Jericho had prepared for. And this strange parade happens every day for six days. Then on the seventh, the parade circles the city seven times. The shofar sound a long, loud blast, and the army gives a great shout. The walls of the city tremble and collapse.

The army of Israel is, at that moment, the army of God. The city is theirs. But the battle was not Joshua’s, nor even the army’s. The battle was God’s and was won before it began through the obedience of Joshua and the children of Israel.

We need to remember that the battle belongs to God. Our part in this war is to heed the counsel of the Lord and obey.

So what battle are you facing today? What has the Lord told you about it? Have you sought His direction? The Lord’s victory becomes ours through obedience.

Father, God,

Help us to listen to Your voice and heed Your words about our lives. Stiffen our wills to be obedient to Your prompting. Help us to keep silent when You would have us to keep silent, and to shout when You would have us shout.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

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Power!

And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. ~~ Genesis 17:1

When God says something, we are wise to listen to Him. Here He is talking to Abram in his old age. At ninety-nine years, Abram is no longer a spring chicken. But this sentence is the preface to God’s promise that Abram will be the father of many nations – as yet Abram is still childless.

I find it interesting that God proclaims His power in a setting that has nothing to do with battle. When I think of almighty, I think of conflict, combat and warfare. God doesn’t.

Here He is proclaiming His power over everything – even the conception of children. He is telling Abram to obey Him so that he will be perfect.  The word used for “perfect” comes from a root meaning “entire” or “whole”.

So essentially God is saying “I am the One who is fully powerful in all situations. If you walk in obedience to Me, your life will be complete, full, satisfying.”

How simple!  And how difficult. We seem to be a stubborn and stiff-necked people, always wanting to do things our own way.

I remember Frank Sinatra’s song, I Did It My Way.

Does it ever occur to us that our way may not be the best way? Hardly ever. Do we ever think that God might have a better plan overall? Maybe once in a while.

Reality check here. We don’t know all the ramifications of the things we are about to do. We do not know the plans God has for the people with whom we might interact. We are, in fact, totally limited in knowledge and understanding.

That’s why Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit to help us hear Him. If we listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, we will avoid foot-in-mouth disease more often. We will be less hindrance to the plans God has for ourselves and others.

We are finite. He is infinite. We will never wrap our finite little minds around the knowledge, understanding and purposes of our Infinite God.

Once we understand this, we will cease striving to do it our own way and discover the freedom and joy of full obedience.

Father, God,

Help us rid ourselves of the arrogance that makes us think we can do it our way. Grant that we may hear Your Holy Spirit prompting us in obedience to You. Give us the grace to walk before you and be perfect.

In Jesus’  most precious name.

Amen.

Peace?

And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the Lord, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord God! for because I have seen an angel of the Lord face to face.
And the Lord said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die.
Then Gideon built an altar there unto the Lord, and called it Jehovahshalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.  ~~ Judges 6:22-24 (KJV)

Shalom – Peace – a thing to be greatly desired.  We live in world which is much in need of peace. We see riots and violence all around us.  Clenched fists and raised voices punctuate many public gatherings. Terrorists plot destruction at random. Anger and dissension seem to rule our public conversations. Where is our peace?

Look at Gideon. He was living essentially in hiding. When the angel of the Lord came to him, he was threshing wheat under the cover of the wine press to hide it from the Midianites. His father had even built an altar to Baal, the god of the Midianites. Talk about appeasement and living in fear!

But Gideon saw the angel of the Lord face to face and was given peace.

We, too, can see the Lord’s peace in the midst of adversity. When you know who God really is, when you have done all you have been instructed to make a situation right, you can safely leave it in God’s hands and quit worrying about it.

If we look further at Gideon’s story, we notice what appear to be contradictions. Gideon is threshing wheat in hiding because of his fear of the Midianites. But the angel of the Lord addresses him as “Mighty Man of Valor.”

Going even further, as Gideon sets out to do battle with the Midianites under the Lord’s orders, God reduces his army strength from 23,000 to 300. What! You are going out to do battle and send the bulk of your army home. What kind of strategy is this?

It is the same strategy with which David slew Goliath:

And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands. ~~ I Samuel 17:47 (KJV)

If you are marching under the Lord’s orders, you are responsible only for your own obedience. The results of that battle are left to the Lord. He is in charge.

Father, God,

Help us to understand our limitations. Grant that we may see Your power through the lens of our weaknesses. Give us the peace to rest in you, even when things seem all wrong.

In Jesus’ most precious name,

Amen.

Joshua Fought The Battle — Or Did He?

Focus verses: Joshua 6:1-5

We’ve all heard the song “Joshua fought the battle of Jericho, Jericho, Jericho…”

But today’s reading says otherwise. The battle was not Joshua’s, but the Lord’s. God gave specific instructions which had to be obeyed. Had Joshua not obeyed the Lord, the walls would not have collapsed.

So exactly what did they do? Well the army marched around the city once a day for seven days — without saying a word. The Ark of the Covenant went before them. And seven priests with trumpets (or shofar) led the Ark.

We have, in effect, the heralding trumpets (seven, the perfect number) leading the presence of the Lord as symbolized by the Ark of the Covenant, followed by the silent army. Imagine the wonder of the besieged citizens of Jericho.

This is not the kind of battle Jericho had prepared for. And this strange parade happens every day for six days. Then on the seventh, the parade circles the city seven times. The shofar sound a long, loud blast, and the army gives a great shout. The walls of the city tremble and collapse.

The army of Israel is, at that moment, the army of God. The city is theirs. But the battle was not Joshua’s, nor even the army’s. The battle was God’s and was won before it began through the obedience of Joshua and the children of Israel.

We need to remember that the battle belongs to God. Our part in this war is to heed the counsel of the Lord and obey.

Father, God,

Help us to listen to Your voice and heed Your words about our lives. Stiffen our wills to be obedient to Your prompting. Help us to keep silent when You would have us to keep silent, and to shout when You would have us shout.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Promised Forgiv eness

Focus verses: Hosea 14:1-9

Despite the number of times Israel has strayed from the Lord, He promises forgiveness if Israel will simply return to Him.

That means to seek the Lord, to turn away from the idols they have chased, to truly repent of their unfaithfulness, to observe His commandments — essentially to love Him above all else.

We have a problem with this. Loving a God whom you cannot see or hear or feel or touch is not as easy as loving something that has physical substance that you can see and feel. God is a spirit. But we live in a physical world. It’s all too easy to get wrapped up in the things we can see and to forget that the real battle is in the spiritual plane.

The physical world makes demands on us. Things need tending; people require our attention; jobs must be fulfilled. All these things are important, but none so important as our spiritual well-being.

We can serve this portion of our lives only by our fidelity to God and to His edicts. Nothing less will do. Our return to Him will be rewarded by His forgiveness of our infidelities. He has said it.

Father, God,

Thank you for never changing. Thank you that You forgive those who repent and turn to You to heal their spirits. Grant that we may see the wisdom in loving and serving You alone.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Completed Word

Focus verses: I Kings 22:28-36

When Ahab killed Naboth for his vineyard, the Lord told Ahab that the dogs would lick up his blood exactly where they licked up the blood of Naboth.

Can’t you imagine that Ahab was very careful for his life from that day forward? Look at today’s reading. The Israelites, both Israel and Judah, are about to go into battle against Aram. The king of Judah goes in his normal garb, but the king of Israel, Ahab, goes disguised as a nobody.

The king of Aram told his warriors to target the king of Israel, but with Ahab in disguise, they didn’t know where he was. To all intents and purposes, Ahab was killed by a stray arrow. What a coincidence.

It is a coincidence only if you will accept my definition of the word: a small miracle where God chooses to remain anonymous, so if you don’t want to see Him, you don’t have to. But if you are looking, there He is.

The word of God never comes back void, but it always completes what it says. That is as true of the uncomfortable consequences as it is of the beneficial ones.

Father, God,

Help us to take all Your words as You meant them. Remind us that the uncomfortable truths in the Bible are just as valid as the reassuring ones. Keep us faithful to all Your truth.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

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A Divided Heart

Focus verses: II Chronicles 13:1-21, and I Kings 15:3-5

The story of Abijah is a sad tale. But it is our tale as well. When he is in the throes of battle, he invokes the name of the Lord. He serves God when it suits his purposes.

When he had grown in strength — that is after God had bailed him out of his troubles — he committed all the sins of his father. Get this: “because his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God.”

You see, with God it’s all or nothing! You cannot be partially devoted to the Lord and partially devoted to the things of this world.

We have a lot of Christians like Abijah. There are a lot of us who sit in church and say the proper words and do the expected things and call upon God when times are tough. But when times are better, we seem to forget our total dependence upon God.

We fall for the lie that we can do it ourselves. Hogwash! Without God we can do nothing!

There is a world of difference between the nominal Christian who thinks he loves God but doesn’t rely on Him and the committed Christian who knows he is totally dependent upon God for every breath.

So which are you? Are you totally aware of your complete dependence upon God? Do you consult with Him many times a day? Are you satisfied with fifteen minutes of Bible reading each morning and grace before meals? How closely can you walk with God?

Father, God,

Help us to see that You are our all in all. Keep us close under Your guiding hand and draw us ever closer in our walk with You.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

You can have this devotional delivered to your inbox every day.
Just use the subscribe link to the right.