Now these are the nations that the Lord left, to test Israel by them, that is, all in Israel who had not experienced all the wars in Canaan. 2 It was only in order that the generations of the people of Israel might know war, to teach war to those who had not known it before.
God, it’s so easy for me to get caught up in the battle that rages all around me. I guess that makes sense. It’s a big battle raging all around me! Hard to ignore! But I keep forgetting that the war is won. The spiritual carnage all around me can be so oppressive. It creeps up on me with complacency, discouragement, worldly delights, a critical spirit, and with shame. Instead of looking at the victory, I look at the battle.
Thank you, God, that You’re not content to leave me that way. Gently but firmly, You take me in Your hands and walk me through the destruction. You place my feet on the conquests of Your own shed blood. You teach me the ways of war. Your train me diligently. You personally dress me in Your own armor, the armor of Jesus, and You carry me forward as a wrecking ball of Your majesty.
Blessed be the LORD, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle;
Why does my heart grow weary? Why do I stumble? Why do I struggle? Why do I doubt?
The victory is mine to inherit. You’ve told me so! It is already won. But You will continue to teach me. It’s not my power that brings victory, it’s Yours. I’m sorry for trying to take responsibility for defeating an enemy that has already been made a footstool beneath Your feet by the power of the blood of the Lamb.
The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”
The enemy will continue to fight until You put a final end to his reign of terror. And until then I must be in the midst of the chaos. Help me remember that You bring order from chaos. You are teaching me with each battle how to claim my victory! You are teaching me how to lead others. You are teaching me to keep my eyes on You and my faith in Your power and not my own.
You’ve let the enemy keep fighting for a little while so that I can participate in the victory as well as the spoils. I will know war and be taught by trial how to fight, just so You can look at me with a big grin on Your face and say, “We did it!” I marvel at Your love and desire to let me partner with You. But partnering in battle means partnering in the suffering as well as the victory. Thank You for counting me worthy to suffer for Your name.
27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. 29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, 30 engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.
I know it’s only going to get worse. The more I learn to fight, the harder the barrage against me becomes. But with my eyes trained on You, trained with the experience of battle, I can trust You deeper. I will have the victory. Let’s give them that “clear sign of their destruction” one more time.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
So, let’s eat! The war is won.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord