The Battle Belongs to the Lord

“Lord, I’m tired,” I prayed as I prepared for sleep. It was a different kind of tired that I felt on Monday evening. That day I had done a lot of home care and I was physically ready for rest. Last night it was a kind of soul-weary. The concern for friends who are in hard times, the stress of ministry in a time when every word can set someone off in a deeply polarized Church, the ongoing challenges of ministry in this time of isolation and fear – all of this and more drained me. Paradoxically, an hour earlier I concluded a Bible study class in Joshua about the fall of the walls of Jericho. “Lord,” I prayed, “how do I remain steady, give hope, and see some of these walls come tumblin’ down?”

A myth persists among Christians that He will always part the waters, calm the storm, and send the sun to shine. We start to believe that we entitled to live in a zone of exemption from challenges and difficulties. This lie produces one of two terrible results. 1. We may conclude that our faith is faulty, that we have failed.
2. Worse, we may conclude that God is not worthy of our trust and retreat into a life of fear.

In reality, our commitment to Christ Jesus sets us up for struggle – a battle with “the world, the flesh, and the Devil!”  But … the battle belongs to the Lord. In my fatigue, I sort of forgot that, for a moment.

Joshua led Israel in a miraculous crossing of the Jordan. Then they camped inside the border of the Promised Land and faced a war of conquest. The old leader took a short trip to do some reconnaissance around Jericho. He was met by a ‘man’ holding a drawn sword! When the old leader discerned that he was in the presence of a Messenger of the LORD, he fell facedown in reverence.

He received a strange set of instructions for the coming ‘battle.’   He was told to send the Ark of the Covenant, seven priests blowing their shofars, and a contingent of soldiers to circle the city once a day for 6 days, then 7 times on the 7th day.  The Messenger assured him that “then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in.” (Joshua 6:5, NIV)

Since we know the whole story, we may not grasp just how crazy this scheme sounded to Joshua. Can you imagine going back to the war council and trying to explain this plan to them?  But, he demonstrates his faith with complete obedience, telling the people and the army that they were going to exactly what the Messenger told him to do.  His leadership was on the line. The future of Israel was at stake.

They followed the plan, the walls fell down, and Jericho was conquered.  God had a purpose! He wanted both Israel and the Canaanites to understand that this battle was His, not theirs. The glory was not for fearless generals or warriors. It belonged to the Lord.

This remains true today, my Christian friend. Jesus Christ commissions us to ‘go into all the world’ with the Good News. He sends us to defend the weak, to speak His hope to those without any, to bring wholeness to people broken by the evil in our world, to tell those who are far from God that they can ‘come home’ to the Father who loves them.  It’s easy to write those words but they describe a battle. Evil pushes back.  We can take a lesson from the experience of the people of God who were called out of Egypt and into the Promised Land.

The Lord promised Joshua that “No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you.” (Joshua 1:5, NLT)  That did not mean, though, that they would walk in and take over. There would be battles to possess the Promise. The land would be theirs, but not without struggle! The promise was secure, but taking possession demanded a gutsy faith, a willingness to march around the city walls, to go to war against an entrenched enemy. It was costly but their victory assured.

Disciple, living in the promise of our Savior, being full of the Holy Spirit, does not mean that we coast all the way to Heaven.  Paul took the good news of Jesus to his world and reminded those who were converts that they needed “to stick with what they had begun to believe and not quit, making it clear to them that it wouldn’t be easy: “Anyone signing up for the kingdom of God has to go through plenty of hard times.”  (Acts 14:21-22, The Message)  Our victory is certain as the battle belongs to the Lord, but it will require our engagement.

From the Word and my own long walk with Jesus I can tell you that we do our best work in God’s service when we have come to the end of our rope, surrendered our clever schemes, and taken hold of the promise of God. Are you tired? Does some ‘Jericho’ stand between you and God’s ‘Promised Land?’  Take some time to stand down, to listen, to let the Spirit find you with renewal and reminders of His holy strategy. Indeed, the battle does belong to the Lord.  So ‘be strong and courageous’ knowing that no matter how fierce the battle, He holds your destiny secure in His hands.

The word from the Word is my declaration today. They were first penned by Paul, when he was exhausted by unrelenting criticism of others and from dealing with some ‘thorn in the flesh’ which he does not specify. May his hope and assurance shoot adrenalin into our souls and prepare us to serve faithfully, Sola Gloria Deo. (For God’s Glory alone)  

He prayed repeatedly for relief.  God’s reply … “My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.”  Paul concludes this … “So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me. Since I know it is all for Christ’s good, I am quite content with my weaknesses and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10, NLT)

The battle belongs to the Lord!

See A Victory
(Listen, worship, find renewal!)

The weapon may be formed but it won’t prosper
When the darkness falls it won’t prevail
‘Cause the God I serve knows only how to triumph
My God will never fail
My God will never fail

I’m gonna see a victory
I’m gonna see a victory
For the battle belongs to You Lord
I’m gonna see a victory
I’m gonna see a victory
For the battle belongs to You Lord

There’s power in the mighty Name of Jesus
Every war He wages He will win
I’m not backing down from any giant

I know how this story ends
I know how this story ends
You take what the enemy meant for evil
And You turn it for good
You turn it for good

Ben Fielding | Chris Brown | Jason Ingram | Steven Furtick © 2019 SHOUT! Music Publishing Australia (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing) Fellow Ships Music (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC) Music by Elevation Worship Publishing (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC) So Essential Tunes (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC)

CCLI License # 810055

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