JUDGES 5:19-20: “The kings of Canaan came and fought, at Taanach near Megiddo’s springs, but they carried off no silver treasures. The stars fought from heaven. The stars in their orbits fought against Sisera.” NLT
OBSERVATION: Is there a spiritual reality that we cannot see? When we are going through a battle in life is there a level of this struggle taking place that is beyond us? When we read about principalities and powers in high places is this merely figurative language or is there something happening in the heavenlies? Was Deborah simply being poetic when she sang about the stars fighing from heaven, or was she tapping into the true reality?
There are many today who try to demystify the Bible. They do not believe in the miraculous power of God and look for natural explanations to dismiss every reference to the supernatural. On the other hand, some take these references to the extreme and begin to develop fanciful doctrines that have no basis in a sound exegesis of the Scriptures. Is there a balanced approach to understand spiritual warfare?
If the enemy of our souls cannot keep us from trusting in the Scriptures he will then try to move us to extreme views and doctrines of men. He knows that this will render our faith ineffective and keep us moving in the wrong direction. Such is the case with spiritual warfare. The most common tendency is a preoccupation with the enemy himself. Believers give Satan far too much credit and far too much power with their imbalanced preoccupations.
How do we develop a balanced view of spiritual warfare? First, we must acknowledge that it exists. Second, we must understand what part we play in the battle. Deborah, in her song, keeps these two roles separated the way they should be. There was a battle taking place on the ground with Barak, his troops, and the armies of Sisera. And, there was a battle taking place in the heavenlies among the principalities and powers of God’s forces and Satan’s forces. Paul echoes this reality in his epistle to the Ephesians.
- “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.” Ephesians 6:12-13 NLT
If we stop there we can develop all sorts of crazy doctrines on how we engage in this spiritual battle. We can become so preoccupied with the spiritual realm that we lay down our armor and forget to engage our faith in the real battle. Rest assured, the spiritual battle is real, but we, like Barak’s army, are called to engage in this battle here on earth using the weapons we have been given. What are these weapons?
- “Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” Ephesians 6:14-18 NLT
Let’s review our armor. Truth, the Gospel of peace, faith, assurance of salvation, the Word of God, and prayer in the Spirit! All of these are weapons we use to fight the battle here on earth. We are to proclaim the truth, preach the Gospel, persevere in faith, walk in the assurance of our salvation and eternal life, anchor our lives on the Word of God, and be faithful in prayer and intercession. In Jesus’ ministry, we only see one time when He went head to head with Satan. The rest of the time He directed all of His attention and battle here on earth!
Paul again gives us insight into this battle when he writes,
- “We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NLT
There is a spiritual battle going on all around us. God has His angelic hosts standing up for us in the heavenlies, and He has equipped us with every spiritual gift and blessing we need to engage in this battle here on earth (see Daniel 10:12-14). Our call is to focus on the battle at hand and trust God to carry on the battle in the heavenlies. The goal of our battle is to bring people to faith in Christ – “We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.”
As we engage in the battle of faith each day we can rest assured that God is doing His part. In reality, in Christ, we know the battle has already been won. The battle continues because God is still calling sons and daughters to faith. He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to faith in His beloved Son. This is our battle. This is the purpose of our warfare. This is the reason we have been given the armor of God.
We have not been called to take over governments and nations.
We have not been called to assist the angels in the heavenlies.
We have been called to reach lives and hearts with the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
Lord, give me a clear understanding of the battle at hand. Help me to wake up each morning and put on the full armor of God. May I walk in truth, be always ready to share the Good News of Jesus Christ, persevere in obedience through faith, walk in the assurance of salvation, stand fast on the Word of God, and continue diligently in prayer – until You return!
In Jesus Name!