Oct.13, 2002

Volume 12 - Number 41     

Whose Battles Will The Lord Fight?

"Therefore take careful heed to yourselves, that you love the LORD your God. Or else, if indeed you do go back, and cling to the remnant of these nations-these that remain among you-and make marriages with them, and go in to them and they to you, know for certain that the LORD your God will no longer drive out these nations from before you. But they shall be snares and traps to you, and scourges on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land which the LORD your God has given you." (Joshua 23:11-13)

The Christian is a participant in a warfare of awesome proportions — the powers arrayed against him are staggering. (Eph. 6:11-13) Not only is the Christian called upon to fight for his own soul and those of his family, but his work in this world is to try to rescue as many other souls as possible from the enemy. (Judges 22, 23; cf. 1 Timothy 4:16 & James 5:20; etc.) God has promised to fight our battles for us — we may rest our confidence in the victory that He will win for us. (John 16:33; cf. John 10:29; Romans 8:37; 1 Corinthians 15:57-58; 1 John 4:4; 5:4-5; etc.) But whose battles will the Lord fight? Certainly not those of just anyone who says he is “on the Lord's side.” God’s help has always been CONDITIONAL.


When Israel shrank back before the prospect of doing battle against the inhabitants of Canaan, they were condemned for cowardice. (Deuteronomy 1:26-33; cf. Numbers 13:27-33 & 14:6-9) Forty years later, God promised to fight on behalf of Israel such that no enemy could stand before them. (Deuteronomy 7:17-21; cf. vv.16-26 Deuteronomy 20:1-4) But God would only do this if Israel remained faithful to Him. (Exodus 23:20-22; cf. Deuteronomy 28:1, 2, 7) In particular, the Lord’s defeat of Israel’s enemies depended on Israel not compromising itself with the enemy. (Exodus 34:10-17) Israel could not accommodate itself to the very enemy it was supposed to be fighting and still expect God to fight their battles. (Joshua 23:11-13; cf. 4-13)


Whatever the challenge may be in our personal lives as Christians, we need to be able to face it in the strength of God. (Philippians 4:13) Yet we often put ourselves at odds with God’s help by our worldliness. Two practical indicators of how dangerously far many of us have gone in accommodating ourselves to the world are: 1) How we dress; 2) How we entertain ourselves. The principles in 1 John concerning worldliness have never been more urgent than among the Lord's people now. (1 John 2:15-17; cf. 1:6; 2:3-4 & 3:4-9) We need to wake up to the danger posed to our salvation by Satan. (John 17:15 & Galatians 1:4) There is no hope of our victory over Satan if we do not “keep [ourselves] from idols.” (1 John 5:18-21)


As a congregation, we can forfeit the Lord’s help in our work by becoming like the world around us, or even by tolerating in our midst those who do so. (e.g. 1 Corinthians 5:6-8; cf. vv.1-13) Congregations like those in Pergamos (Revelation 2:12-17), Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-29), Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6), and Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22) can hardly expect the Lord to crown their efforts with victory — unless they repent! The entire nation of Israel was held back in defeat because of “sin in the camp.” (Joshua 7:10-13) May not a congregation be held back for the same reason? (Cf. Joshua 22:20)


Christ gave Himself to “redeem” us from sin: not only to forgive us, but to purify us. (Titus 2:11-14) We are “kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5; cf. vv.3-5) We have a choice to make regarding where our friendship will be and where our enmity will be. (James. 4:4) Our survival depends on our learning how to be “separate.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1)

We are commanded not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed into those who do the will of God. (Romans 12:1,2) If we are unwilling to do this, we need not expect the Lord’s help with our problems — it is impossible for us to receive the Lord’s help as long as we will not let go of sins that interfere with that help. (Cf. Isaiah 59:1-3)

We cannot defeat sin while dabbling with it. We can conquer evil or we can compromise with it — but we cannot do both at the same time. (Cf. Psalms 103:1-22)
The Lord will only fight the battles of those who have wholeheartedly consecrated themselves to Him. (cf. Ephesians 6:10-18)

Congregationally and individually, we need to “purge out the old leaven.” (1 Corinthians 5:7-8)
The protection God affords us from the evil one is ours only to the extent we allow ourselves to be sanctified by God’s truth. (John 17:14-17)

- Henry -

“With Thee by faith I walk in crowds - alone;
Making to Thee my wants and wishes known:

Drawing from Thee my daily strength in prayer;
Finding Thine arm sustains me everywhere;

While, thro’ the clouds of sins and woe, the light
Of coming glory shines more sweetly bright;

And this my daily boast - my aim - my end -
That my Redeemer is my God - my Friend!”

Author Unknown



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Joshua 11:1-22

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