(The Faith Forum Series -Batch 6)
As Christians, we may be OUTNUMBERED BUT WE ARE NOT OUT-POWERED.
When enemies combine forces against us and come against us with the intent to drag our names in the mud, to undermine our purpose, to attack and annihilate our faith, our hope, our desires, our dreams, our future, our joy, our call, our testimony, our name, our work for the Lord and our legacy, the tendency is to be overwhelmed and to think: Woe is me! How could I ever be victorious over such a vast multitude?
Through the eyes of our flesh, we are inclined to allow what we see naturally to make us feel down, dejected, doomed, gloomy, fearful, anxious and even petrified. I should know. I have been there – Being a weakling, yet facing a torrent of attack.
Enemies don’t have to always be people. What we are up against could be an avalanche or vast multitude of adverse and difficult circumstances with our career, our finances, our health, our ongoing singleness, our own internal battles and so on. Indeed, we are up against three forces, which often combine to undermine our desire to live for the Lord and to attack, namely, the world, the devil and our own flesh.
Yet, as Believers in the finished work of Jesus Christ, we are to walk by faith and not by sight. Whatever is up against us therefore, whether it be people commissioned by our arch enemy the devil or difficult circumstances or our own flesh, Deuteronomy 20:1,3-4 reminds us, even as the Israelites were reminded by Moses:
- “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…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; FOR THE LORD YOUR GOD IS HE THAT GOETH WITH YOU, TO FIGHT FOR YOU AGAINST YOUR ENEMIES, TO SAVE YOU.”
We might therefore be outnumbered but because we have the Lord with us to help us, we are not out-powered! We are therefore to go out to battle, confront whatever is up against us and fight a good warfare, spiritually, head on, not whimper, retreat and run away in defeat. For, no matter how many our enemies and their military accoutrements with the Lord on our side, victory is guaranteed.
In Joshua 11:1-9, after Moses had died and Joshua was handed the reins of leadership, the Israelites, having successfully fought and taken control of the city of Jericho, found themselves in this actual situation. As they sought to advance to occupy additional territory that God had given them, those who stood in their way, mounted a pre-emptive battle against them.
The Word of God states:
- “And it came to pass, when Jabin king of Hazor had heard those things, that he sent to Jobab king of Madon, and to the king of Shimron, and to the king of Achshaph, And to the kings that were on the north of the mountains, and of the plains south of Chinneroth, and in the valley, and in the borders of Dor on the west, And to the Canaanite on the east and on the west, and to the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Jebusite in the mountains, and to the Hivite under Hermon in the land of Mizpeh.
- And they went out, they and all their hosts with them, MUCH PEOPLE, even as the sand that is upon the sea shore in multitude, with HORSES and CHARIOTS very many. And when all these kings were met together, they came and pitched together at the waters of Merom, to fight against Israel.
- And the Lord said unto Joshua, BE NOT AFRAID because of them: FOR to morrow about this time WILL I DELIVER THEM UP ALL SLAIN before Israel: thou shalt hough their horses, and burn their chariots with fire. So Joshua came, and all the people of war with him, against them by the waters of Merom suddenly; and they fell upon them. AND THE LORD DELIVERED THEM INTO THE HAND OF ISRAEL, who smote them, and chased them unto great Zidon, and unto Misrephothmaim, and unto the valley of Mizpeh eastward; and they smote them, until they left them none remaining. And Joshua did unto them as the Lord bade him: he houghed their horses, and burnt their chariots with fire.“
When you look at whatever is up against you, no longer with eyes of flesh therefore but of faith, the problem does not disappear or diminish in size but you begin to view the challenge differently, when you are reminded who you have for your help. Instead of retreating or cowering in fear and paralysis, whatever the trouble, difficulty or challenge, you can face it head on and move forward, reminding yourself that:
- Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in world (1 John 4:4);
- You can do all things through Christ which strengthens you (Philippians 4:13);
- It is not by might, nor by power but by His Spirit, saith the Lord (Zechariah 4:6);
- You are more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus who loves us (Romans 8:37)
- With men, what you are facing may look impossible but with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26)
As Christians therefore, ONCE GOD HELPS, VICTORY IS SURE.
The important thing when confronted by your enemies then, is to have the Lord helping you. This is what makes the difference and determines success or failure. For him to help you, he has to be on your side and for him to be on your side, you have to obey Him, submit to his Word the Bible and put away every idolatrous and accursed thing from your life.
When Joshua and the Israelites had an accursed thing within their midst, they were defeated before their enemies and despite their best efforts, fled from them. They had no power to stand before them because God refused to help them. However, when they put away what God hated, God’s power returned and they went on in HIS STRENGTH, from victory to victory.
In Joshua 7:18 for example, God had clearly commanded his people the Israelites, as they were about to overthrow Jericho, in the Lord’s strength: “And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it.” They were therefore not to take anything from the spoils after the war but were to bring the silver, gold, vessels of brass and iron, into the treasury of the Lord.
Yet, after successfully fighting against the formidable and great city of Jericho and taking it and moving on to another battle, the Israelites found that they could not even defeat the people of Ai which were few in number. Instead of continuing on their trend of victory, when they went up against Ai, they thought that they would easily overthrow them with but only a few of their men but failed dismally. Instead, they found themselves running away, weak and retreating for their lives, from this enemy!
Why was this? Well, unknown to Joshua at the time, an Israelite had disobeyed God and taken of the accursed thing when they had invaded Jericho. He had also stolen what belonged to the Lord and kept it for himself.
In Chapter 7, it reads:
- “But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against the children of Israel.
- And Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Bethaven, on the east of Bethel, and spake unto them, saying, Go up and view the country. And the men went up and viewed Ai. And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labour thither; for they are but few.
- So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai. And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water.
- And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the Lord until the eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads. And Joshua said, Alas, O Lord God, wherefore hast thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the other side Jordan! O Lord, what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs before their enemies! For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it, and shall environ us round, and cut off our name from the earth: and what wilt thou do unto thy great name?
- And the Lord said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? Israel hath SINNED, and they have also TRANSGRESSED my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even TAKEN OF THE ACCURSED THING, and HAVE ALSO STOLEN, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff. THEREFORE THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL COULD NOT STAND BEFORE THEIR ENEMIES, BUT TURNED THEIR BACKS BEFORE THEIR ENEMIES, BECAUSE THEY WERE ACCURSED: NEITHER WILL I BE WITH YOU ANY MORE, EXCEPT YE DESTROY THE ACCURSED FROM AMONG YOU.
- Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow: for thus saith the Lord God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, UNTIL ye take away the accursed thing from among you.“
It was only after, upon following God’s instructions, finding the person who had disobeyed and destroying him and his family with stones and then fire (which is what the Lord commanded), that the Lord turned away the fierceness of his anger from the Israelites and fought for the Israelites again.
Achan had both taken of the accursed thing and stolen what had rightly belonged to God. For, in Joshua 6:18 and 19, Joshua had commanded the Israelites to keep themselves from the accursed thing but that all the silver, gold, vessels of brass and iron were consecrated unto the Lord and should come into the treasury of the Lord. Yet, through covetousness, Achan took of the accursed thing (a Babylonish garment) and stole from the Lord, by taking and hiding in the earth in his tent, two hundred shekels of silver and a wedge of gold, along with the garment (vs. 21).
Following that incident, after all Israel had stoned Achan, burned him and his family with fire and therefore dealt with the curse which had befallen all of Israel by reason of his actions, only then were they ready to go up against Ai again.
The problem of sin having been dealt with and put away, in Joshua 8:1-2 it states:
- “And the Lord said unto Joshua, Fear not, neither be thou dismayed: take all the people of war with the, and arise, go up to Ai: See, I HAVE GIVEN INTO THY HAND THE KING OF AI, AND HIS PEOPLE, AND HIS CITY AND HIS LAND: And thou shalt do to Ai and her king as thou didst unto Jericho and her king…”
God was once again reassuring Joshua that his hand was with them again and that by the power of HIS might, he would help them to get the victory. Joshua obeyed and in sticking closely to God’s instructions, he and the Israelites were victorious against Ai because the Lord helped them and turned the battle in their favour.
Today, as Christians, we can therefore be FEARLESS AGAINST THE FOE BUT WE MUST BE CAREFUL TO SUBMIT TO GOD’S WILL AND WAY, SO THAT WE CAN ENLIST HIS SUPPORT AND HELP.
Today, the Church is up against a mighty opposition. The Word of God tells us that we must be sober, vigilant because our adversary the devil, as a roaring lion is walking about seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8)
The multitude against us is vast. For, in addition to the devil and his demons (all fallen and rebellious angels), there is the world (which hates the Lord Jesus and everyone who identifies, belongs to and is trying to serve him) and the flesh within us (which wants its own way and therefore does not wish to submit to God).
To fight the good fight of faith as Paul encouraged Timothy to do in 1 Timothy 6:12 and to emerge victorious in battle, we need the Lord Jesus to help us and to empower us. However, to enlist his help against our foes, we must submit to his will and way.
Today, like with the Israelites, the Lord still demands separation of his people (the Church) from all that is ungodly and from all forms of idolatry. In 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, the command is clear, whether this be in relation to business partnerships, love and marriage relationships and so on. The Word of God states:
- “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and TOUCH NOT THE UNCLEAN THING; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”
For those who heed the call and submit to God’s authority, he promises to receive them and he helps them to attain victory in their battles. For those who, like Achan, decide to disobey and to hold on to the accursed thing, they reap curses for what they have sown and a life of shameful defeat against their enemies. For, until they see the error of their way, repent of their sin and truly put away the accursed thing, person or practice, they CANNOT stand before their enemies.
They will find that they have no willpower to fight and even when they do and give it all they’ve got, they still fail miserably, much like beating the air.
This accursed thing in my view, could include the intangible and refer to an idol in a person’s heart, such as another person, thing or practice. That thing, person or practice becomes so important and is so loved, that it takes first place, it having been placed even higher up the pedestal than God. Instead of confessing to the Lord what we have done and making things right with him, we continue to hold on to this thing fondly, hiding it within the folds of our heart, even as Achan did with the accursed thing which he considered to be a great treasure. We make excuses for why it is in our midst and in our hearts and we refuse to let it go. For, to do so, we find to be too painful.
Yet, as Galatians 6:7 reminds everyone of us, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
Indeed, one of the reasons why many Churches, Christian homes and professing believers today live such lives of defeat, failure, stagnancy, barrenness, sterility, confusion, no real growth and utter decline is because they not only have taken of an accursed thing and put it among their stuff, they not only have this thing within their midst and lodged or an accursed thing hidden in the folds of their heart but they stubbornly refuse to repent of it and to put it away.
Taking of the accursed thing and putting it among their stuff and in the house of God is rampant today in many Churches. For example, ungodly and diabolic music which God hates, is paraded around under the guise of ‘Christianity’. There is increasing acceptance of divorce and remarriage, when the latter should be properly labelled ‘adultery’ and the feminist movement has made such inroads, that it has become almost cultural for women to take up positions of authority and leadership and to speak to the congregation (including males) in the Church, although this practice goes against God’s Word.
In addition, the accursed thing could be a false doctrine, a false way, a false practice, a person that we are not to be aligned with in business or in a love relationship, an ungodly attitude or an ungodly mentality. It could be a family member or spouse whose lives a life of blatant and unrepentant sin and rebellion against God but whose wrong we have pretended not to see or to excuse or to ignore and refused to deal with and refused to separate from because, like Eli the Priest in the Old Testament, we love him or her so.
Alas, what God calls accursed, some have clung to, in love, regarding it to be a blessing.
This was demonstrated in the life of king Solomon, who, although dearly loved by God and given wisdom above the wisdom of all men, he too clung to an accursed thing, in love, thereby disobeying God. He then elevated this accursed thing (his affiliation with ungodly women), to a level above God, seeking to please them first and foremost (like Adam did with Eve) above God.
Having deliberately deafened his ears to God’s warning because of his love and devotion to the accursed thing, God eventually brought judgment upon him, although he chose to implement it in his son’s days, for David his father’s sake.
In 1 Kings 11: 1-11, it reads:
- “But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites: Of the nations concerning which the Lord said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love.
- And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father.
- Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods. And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the Lord commanded. Wherefore the Lord said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant.”
Although as Christians, we are up against foes, we have the Lord God, whose power trumps all, to help us and he never loses a battle. He equips and empowers us beautifully and directs us as to what to do. No situation takes him by surprise or renders him without a solution and nothing is too hard for him to do. However, when we compromise and disobey and partake of that which God calls accursed, we inherit curses, not blessings and he withholds his hands of help from us. We are therefore defeated before our enemies and bow our heads in shame, finding it difficult to stand against all that life brings at us.
Nevertheless, until we put away the accursed thing (whatever it may be), we will not stand before our enemies. We will not thrive. We will not have good success. We will not be victorious and in our shame, we will have only ourselves to blame.
(Written on 18th May, 2022)
Dear Reader, if you found the above Article to be interesting, informative, edifying or beneficial, you may also be interested in reading the following:
- Note 151 – ‘What Is God Calling You To Cast Out Of Your Life?’
Additionally, under the ‘BROKEN Daughters’ Page:
- Note 10 – ‘How God Wants Us To Treat With Our Idols’
Also, under the ‘SINGLE Daughters’ Page:
- Note 148 – ‘What Does The Bible Say About Being Unequally Yoked With An Unbeliever?’