When you’re stuck in one place for too long, it’s easy to get stupid. Even in a pandemic year, it’s a mistake to think that all is static. With God, nothing, not even time, is wasted.
Wisdom demands, that, when we seem to be stalled in a protracted dilemma, we go deeper. Most of life, like the proverbial ice-berg, is lived below the surface. I recently ran across a scripture that (hello!) galvanized my thinking about what precious fruits this season of frustrating passivity has been producing.
Your shoes shall be iron and brass; and as your days, so shall your strength be. The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before you; and shall say, Destroy them. Happy art you, O Israel: who is like unto you, O people saved by the Lord, the shield of your help, and who is the sword of your excellency! And your enemies shall be found liars unto you; and you shalt tread upon their high places. Deuteronomy 33:25-26, 29 KJV
Here’s a scripture that promises everything we dream of: serenity and security. Do you want idyllic peace and fulfillment? (Here comes the curve ball.) You’re going to have deal with your enemies. Like it or not, any number of antagonistic, hateful, dangerous and deadly adversaries abound. Satan strategically waits for the moment we’re red-lining to pile another huge heap of trouble on the final straw of our strength.
But this is critical. The Lord has a brilliant, countermanding strategy. He wrecks Satan’s timing by forcing him out into the open before his plans are fully developed. He exposes our adversary at a much more propitious time for us to be victorious.
…He shall thrust out the enemy from before you; and shall say, “Destroy them!”
The thought of the Lord forcing us into an adversarial confrontation is...well...unnerving! And yet…shouldn’t we trust Him to be Captain of the Host in our own lives?
In my rare, checkered romantic history, I once dated a point-man sniper for the US army. (Don’t ask). While I took very little away from that relationship, one thing was gold. I learned what kind of discipline it required for that assignment, and that imagery had enormous spiritual application. This trained expert preceded his unit, travelling ahead to scout out the geography and enemy locations. He was often specially tasked to take out a key leader. To be a sniper requires the ability to remain immobile for hours, camouflaged and uncomfortable. All concentration was for the moment the target suddenly enters the cross-hairs of a rifle-scope.
In Judges 4, 5 we find the well-known tale of Deborah and Barak. The real victory of the story, however, actually goes to an unknown woman called Jael. There she was, a simple wife tending her domestic duties, when the war suddenly ran right into her living room. While graciously succoring the desperate Sisera, she waited till he slept in sheer exhaustion, and then, seizing her moment, drove a nail-peg through his temple, killing the enemy the army could not. She was forced into action, and she did not fail to take the kill-shot. Not your idea of heroism? Think again. When the Lord thrusts out your enemy before you, you better finish him off.
This pandemic has forced all of us to really take stock of our work, homes, schedules, family dynamics, responsibilities and overall health. Things we simply didn’t have time or inclination to address suddenly loomed dead-ahead on a crash-course we couldn’t escape. We’ve been forced to deal with dysfunctional relationships, over-stretched finances, vain-glorious ambitions and unrealistic obligations. Issues we ran from for years are now demanding payment from the piper. But instead of succumbing to fearful, overwhelmed panic, tap into a unique opportunity from the Lord. There is an anointing present to finish off enemies that have plagued you for a long, long time. Tactical advantages like this don’t come often.
We don’t do Old Testament warfare anymore, but our intangible haters are every bit as fierce and ugly. Spiritual strongholds affect every part of our lives, killing our energy, joy and passion for the Lord. As we sit in this crazy year, tyrants, taskmasters, giants and monsters are forced out into the open. We see the weak, diseased, dysfunctional places in ourselves with glaring clarity.
What enemies of your soul have been magnified by quarantine conditions? What inner attitudes of rebellion and unbelief are your own worst obstacles? This is our season of grace from the Lord to acknowledge, repent and forsake foolish ways. When it is in the cross-hairs, take the kill shot.
I have pursued mine enemies and overtaken them: neither did I turn again till they were consumed. Psalm 18:37
I will be taking a blogging break in October as I work on a new video teaching series. See you in November!
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