Christian, pay attention! We are at war. An active, ongoing, deadly spiritual war. We’ve examined the evidences of that war many times over the years that I’ve been privileged to teach and preach here. I bring the truth of this warfare to our attention as often as I do so that we do not let the devil – the enemy of our souls, the one who started this deadly battle in the first place in the garden of Eden – that we do not let him seduce us into sleeping while the battles come to our doorsteps. We must never be ignorant of Satan’s strategies – the most powerful perhaps is the one that lulls us into complacency about the battle.
St. Paul spoke of spiritual armor in his epistle to the Christians at Ephesus. Here is a portion of chapter six of that letter: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” (Ephesians 6:12-13)
And the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to warn the Christians at Corinth, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-4
Today I will begin a new series of messages along the theme of spiritual warfare, but this time looking at the battle from a different angle than in the past.
Solomon wrote many wise maxims. One in particular captured my attention the last time I read through Proverbs. It’s from chapter 24: “For by wise guidance you will wage war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory.” (Proverbs 24:6)
If we want victory in this battle, then we must fight the fight God’s way.
The ancient Chinese General and military strategist, Sun Tzu, lived in the 6th century B.C. But his military strategies continue to influence 21st century politics, cultures, and modern warfare. One of the axioms Tzu successfully practiced in war was this: “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
What this means for the Christian in this deadly spiritual battle is this: If you know yourself in so far as your utter dependence on the supernatural help of God to vanquish your satanic enemy – you need not fear at all the outcome of any battle. You might remember what the warrior king David publicly admitted to everyone who cared to listen, “For by You [God] I can run upon a troop; And by my God I can leap over a wall.” (Psalm 18:29)
But if we do not properly assess our significant limitations to engage in a supernatural battle, then we should expect defeat time and time again.
So, once again I repeat Solomon’s words: “By wise guidance you will wage war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory.”
Where then can we find this wise guidance with which to wage war? And where can we find counselors to advise us in those battles? Well, everyone who tries to walk daily with Christ knows the answers to those questions.
Christian, hear this: Satan didn’t tempt Adam and Eve to murder, steal, or tell a lie. He tempted them to question the word of God. His tactics haven’t changed. God’s word, and God’s word alone, provides us the SUPERNATURAL ammunition and the supernatural guidance and the supernatural counsel utterly necessary to successfully engage in this supernatural battle against the supernatural enemy.
That is why the psalmist counseled: “Your servant meditates on Your statutes. Your testimonies also are my delight; They are my counselors. (Psalm 119:23b-24)
And it is why God said to Joshua: “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” (Joshua 1:8)
One of the evidences that we are in a PERSONAL spiritual battle is confusion, especially to be confused as to questions of right and wrong. Scripture tells us “God is not a God of confusion, but of peace.” (1 Corinthians 14:33). No, God is not the author of confusion, but Satan is its author. He is also the author and the ruler of darkness. You’ll find that text in Ephesians 6:12.
And so the Lord tells us again and again, His word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (see Psalm 119:105); And we must ever keep before us the words of Jesus who said, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” (John 8:12).
I want to pause here just a moment and ask the question: Are you in spiritual or emotional darkness? Are you confused how to proceed? Are you unsure of the right way to respond? Then hear it again where you can find your sure guidance:
A long time ago, Saint Augustine lived as a perverse miscreant. A long time ago, but his story can just as easily be your story, and mine. When he finally came to himself, he realized the depth of the darkness of his life. It was at that point he began to seek God. One day, while sitting in a garden, thinking about the many wrong turns in his life, he heard the voice of a young child at play a short distance away. The child called out, “Pick up and read. Pick up and read.”
Intuitively, Augustine knew what the message meant. He walked back to the bench where he had been reading a Bible. He picked it up and read the first verse that came to his eyes. It was this: ‘Not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual excess and lust, not in quarreling and jealousy. Rather, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.” (Romans 13:13-14).
So, do you want clarity and light in your situation – whatever might be your situation? Do you want to be victorious in this battle? Pick up and read. That’s the overriding theme of the series of messages we will be examining over the next several weeks. Pick up and read what the Holy Spirit’s messengers have to say. Let them be your counselors in this ongoing and daily battle. Pick up and read. This is not an exhortation to pick up and read casually. It is not to skim the pages looking for the key word or phrase to answer your need. No, no. It is an exhortation to get down to business with God, to seek His wisdom as you might seek wealth. God promises us, God promises YOU: “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)
At the beginning of this series, I urge you and myself to be victorious in the battle. Pick up and read consistently, devotedly, prayerfully. The Bible has many counselors, and we will spend considerable time looking at what many of them have to say.
So, on that subject of Biblical counsel, we look at our first counselor: Moses. What does he have to say that is directly related to the warfare strategy of seeking God’s word for safety, direction, and guidance in this supernatural and PERSONAL battle?
To answer those questions, let’s look at his words as we find them in Genesis 1: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.” (Genesis 1:1-4).
Counselor Moses tells us up front, before He tells us anything else about life and faith, heaven and hell – he tells us God ‘IS.’ That He is eternal, omnipotent and omniscience and omnipresent. You will remember how the Psalmist counsels us in Psalm 139 – ‘where can we go from God’s presence?’ The answer? Nowhere. Not on earth. Not under the earth. Not in the universe above the earth. God is everywhere.
Moses tells us here in Genesis 1 that God is the creator of all things visible and invisible. Using no other mechanism, God created all there is by simply speaking them into existence.
And that knowledge is a critical weapon in the Christian’s arsenal in his or her personal spiritual battle – to know in our heart of hearts that God is still sovereign over all nations and all national leaders. Thus it is no wonder that the prophet Isaiah wrote: “Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales; Behold, He lifts up the islands like fine dust.” (Isaiah 40:15)
And again, God counsels us through Isaiah: “I, even I, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you are afraid of man who dies and of the son of man who is made like grass, that you have forgotten the Lord your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, that you fear continually all day long because of the fury of the oppressor, as he makes ready to destroy?” (Isaiah 51:12-13)
Did you catch that counsel? Even as the enemy – human or supernatural – even as they prepare themselves to destroy, God says, “Focus on the One who Himself holds all power and who, with a word, can take the life-breath from any of our enemies.” Or as the writer to the Hebrews told us to fix ‘our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.”
Counselor Moses also tells us in the first few verses of Genesis that on that first creation day when darkness was nearly palpable, God created light itself. This is before God created the sun, the moon, and the stars on the fourth creation day to give light to the earth.
That is another important weapon in your quiver of arrows of faith! God created light itself. Why? So, we would not walk in darkness. In fact, Counselor John the Apostle tells us the new heaven and new earth will have “no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.” (Revelation 21:23)
Again, I ask it, Do you feel as if you are walking in darkness? Are you confused as to the right path? Come to God’s light found only in His Word and interpreted by the wisdom of the Church. Come to His counselors. Seek Him with all your heart in His word.
I used to tell my nursing students that the time to discover your patient’s room needs emergency equipment is when you first come on duty and conduct your room assessment along with your patient assessment. In other words, is oxygen and suction equipment already at the patient’s bedside and ready to be used within moments of an emergency? If it is not, then that is the time, during your initial room assessment, to get those supplies set up. I told them the time to discover they need emergency equipment in the patient’s room is NOT when they actually need emergency equipment.
In the same way, NOW is the time and TODAY is the day to assess whether your spiritual armor is fully intact, or if you need to shore it up here and there. Today is the day you need to assess if you are sufficiently intimate with the many counselors within the pages of Scripture, or do you need to begin a concerted program to BECOME intimate with them.
The time to discover you need to know your bible better and that you need to know GOD better, is NOT when the emergency is upon you.
Solomon counseled us to wage warfare by wise guidance, and “In the abundance of counselors there is victory.”
God has given you and me an abundance of godly and INFALLIBLE counselors – Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, Isaiah, Joel, Amos, Matthew, Peter, Paul, and dozens and dozens of others. We cannot be successful in this spiritual battle unless we actively SEEK their guidance and follow their counsel – because their guidance and counsel are Almighty God’s guidance and counsel.
To that point – that we all become more familiar with the counselors of Scripture, I suggest my Bible reading plan. You can find it on my blog here: https://inhimonly.blogspot.com/2016/09/bible-reading-plan-revised-sept-2016.html
God’s word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. But a light is useless unless we turn it on.