Judges 3:1-4 NLT The LORD left certain nations in the land to test those Israelites who had not participated in the wars of Canaan. He did this to teach warfare to generations of Israelites who had no experience in battle. These were the nations: the Philistines (those living under the five Philistine rulers), all the Canaanites, the Sideonians, and the Hivites living in the hill country of Lebanon from Mount Baal-hermon to Lebohamath. These people were left to test the Israelites—to see whether they would obey the commands the LORD had given to their ancestors through Moses.
1 Corinthians 10:1-13 tells us that the Old Testament examples of what the Israelites experienced were recorded for our admonition, that we might learn from what they experienced. God had instructed the Israeltites that when they entered the Promised Land they were to conquer their enemies and be sure they did not make any alliances with them, because they would ultimately lead the Israelites to worship false gods. God had promised to go before them to drive out their enemies. All they had to do was fight; the battle was already set for them to win. God had promised the victory.
In Judges chapters 1 and 2 we see that the Israelites failed to keep God’s commands because they didn’t conquer their enemies and ultimately joined with them through marriage. So God left some of the enemies in the Promised Land to teach those who had not been taught how to fight their enemies the tactics of warfare and to test them to see if they would obey His commands. Any soldier knows that he must be able to do these two things: obey his commanding officers orders and know how to effectively fight his enemy.
2 Timothy 2:4-6 NLT And as Christ’s soldier, do not let yourself become tied up in the affairs of this life, for then you cannot satisfy the one who has enlisted you in his army. Follow the Lord’s rules for doing his work, just as an athlete either follows the rules or is disqualified and wins no prize.
Again, we see from what Paul, the Apostle, told Timothy, is that we are to be loyal to Jesus Christ, as His soldier, and follow His rules, or commands. And in 2 Corinthians 10:3, 4 we are instructed to fight a spiritual battle with spiritual weapons. These two things are primary to winning any battle.
2 Corinthians 10:3,4 NLT We are human, but we don’t wage war with human plans and methods. We use God’s might weapons, not mere worldly weapons to knock down the Devil’s strongholds.
In our humanity we usually see people react to the battles of life with one of two responses: we either stand our ground and fight or we turn and run; in either instance we exhibit what is known as the fight or flight syndrome. Some of us are more naturally born as fighters and some of us would rather run from the fight and get off to ourselves. But God knew the Israelites would succumb to the influence of their enemies if they didn’t learn how to stand their ground and fight for what He had promised them. He also knew that in order to win the battle they had to follow His orders.
Sometimes it seems easier in life to run from the challenges that are set before us than it is to try to hear from God to know what to do and how to fight for what He has already promised is ours. We find in God’s word that all the promises of God are “yes” and “amen” in Christ Jesus. (2 Corinthians 1:20) We see them throughout the Bible and yet at times we wonder why we are not experiencing the promises that He has said are ours. Are the promises of God automatic or is there something we need to do bring them into our lives?
Jesus gives us this instruction on receiving God’s promises in Matthew 7:7, 8: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”
Ask, seek and knock are all “action” parts of the process in receiving from God. The Greek word “ask” is aiteo and it means to request or petition. The word usually describes a suppliant making request of someone in higher position, such as an individual asking something from God. The word denotes insistent asking without qualms, not “commanding” God, but solidly presenting a requisition whose items He longs to distribute.
When we petition God based on the promises of His word, His instruction to us would be then to bring that promise before Him making request that it might be manifested in our lives. To seek is then to look for the promise to be manifested; to expect it to happen. When I tell my granddaughter that I am coming to see her she expects me to keep my promise. She stands at the door watching for me when she knows it is about time for my arrival. When we seek God for the manifestation of what He has promised we seek it; we look for it and we expect it to happen. To knock means that I am constantly looking for the opportunity behind which my promise lies. I am not waiting for it to drop out of the sky on my head, but I am looking for it, following God’s directions to find the answers to my questions and to determine what I need to do to cooperate with His provision for my life.
As we follow God’s directions to receive the promises we will have times when our faith will be challenged. We don’t have to beg God to do what He has already promised, but we do have to fight the good fight of faith to see it happen. We may have thoughts that God is not going to come through for us or that we might never see the promise manifested. It is at those times that we have to stand up and fight. The devil will throw all kinds of thoughts your way to see if he can get you to back down from your stand of faith.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 KJV For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Your mind is the battlefield. It is here that we see that we are not to make any alliances with the enemy, as it is here that the war is fought and either won or lost. God’s word says that the weapons that we fight spiritual battles with are spiritual weapons. We are to cast down, or arrest imaginations. These are the “what ifs”: what if God doesn’t come through for me; what if I never see the provision that I need; what if my health continues to deteriorate; what if I lose my house and all my possessions; what if……? God calls these “imaginations” and “every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God”. What is the knowledge of God? It’s what His word tells us about Him, His character and nature. It’s the truth of God’s word regarding His faithfulness to do what He has promised. When the battle is going strong and the enemy is firing his arrows of doubt and unbelief at your mind that is when you have to stop and fight. It is then that you must take authority over the enemy to drive out those thoughts! That’s no time for retreat! You must replace the lies with the truth of God’s word. That’s when you say, “wait a minute, God’s my Provider; God’s my Deliverer; God’s my Healer; God’s my Source!”
Matthew 7:9-11 NKJV “Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? “Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”
If you being human know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to you when you ask Him? Is that not what God’s word says? When the devil tells you that God doesn’t love you or care for you, how are you going to respond to that lie? It’s up to you to stop the lie, arrest it and replace it with the truth.
Hebrews 10:35-38 NKJV Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: “For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.”
Do not throw away your confidence; God will come through for you! Faith reaches out and takes those things that you can’t see and believes that they are already here. It’s believing God’s word over the natural happenings that you see going on around you. When you arrest those imaginations you replace them with what God says in His word about your situation. You declare the promises of God in the face of life’s problems! And you endure until you receive it because it is a fight of faith!
1 Timothy 6:12 NKJV Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
Father, I thank You for showing us Your faithfulness through Your word. I thank You that Jesus purchased our redemption spirit, soul, and body and that through His finished work on the cross on our behalf we have all that we have need of. Father, I pray for those who may not know You today that You will reveal Your great love to them that they might have a desire to receive Jesus as their own personal Savior and Lord. I pray that the blinders that Satan has hung over their minds that is blinding them to the light of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ might be pulled down so they can see their need for Him as Savior and Lord. Father, I pray for those who are in the heat of the battle right now. I pray that they will ask, seek and knock to find out what You would have them to do in their situation. I pray that they will arrest the negative thoughts that the devil places in their minds that comes against the truth of Your word. Father, displace those thoughts and help them to replace them and stand firm on the truth of Your word. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.