I Samuel 14: Braveheart
The Philistines had strongholds in the midst of Israel. Their forces outnumbered the Israelite army. There were no blacksmiths in Israel, for the Philistines said, “Lest the Hebrews make swords or spears.” The Israelites had to go down to the Philistines to sharpen each man’s plowshare, his ax or sickle. So it came about on the day of battle, there was neither sword, nor spear found in the hand of any of the people who were with Saul or Jonathan.” (They used slingshots, bow and arrows, axes, & goads for weapons.)
It appeared the Israelite army was: outnumbered, had inferior weapons and the enemy had numerous strongholds in the land from which to launch raids and attacks with superior weaponry. From a military viewpoint, these were dire circumstances, designed by the enemy to cower us and make us fearful, anxious and with an attitude of defeat. ‘We’re never going to get out of this- type attitude.
Today we see the church’s numbers dwindling. We see the enemy has strongholds in every community. We see our spiritual weapons in need of sharpening. We are in a battle, we are surrounded. The enemy has created an environment and culture of confusion, chaos, and fear.
However, the Lord has told us: “No weapon formed against you shall prosper.” (Isaiah 54: 17) Paul told Timothy – God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of love and power and a sound mind.
But in reality- there is at present a spirit of oppression among Christians. The culture wants us to ‘go along – to get along.’ Everywhere we turn it seems we are being pressed to conform to the new normal of today’s society where there is no king and everyone wants to do what is right in their own eyes. We are being marginalized in every area: our public schools, the work place, the public arena of debate, and the Word of God is not to be allowed in any of those places. The Word of God is the Sword of the Spirit. The Word of God is our weapon for it is the Truth, the absolute truth- yet is being slandered by the enemy as hate speech. In other words, the enemy knows the boundaries provided by God’s word were not to enslave us but to keep us free. When we moved those boundaries, we crossed God’s line and entered into sin, which is the beginning of bondage. All bondage begins with sin. This is why Jesus told us if we continue in His word, we shall know the Truth and the Truth shall set us free.
God has not allowed us, His People to be oppressed to be defeated, but so we would cry out for help, realizing without Him we have no defense against the enemy. But greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world. As long as we think we can handle the situation with our finite earthly weapons, the enemy has us right where he wants us.
Do you see the similarity between what had happened in Israel and what is happening today in our country?
THE STORY OF JONATHAN AND HIS ARMOR BEARER
Jonathan is the son of King Saul. And he could not be more unlike his father. He is a godly man. He is a man of extraordinary courage, conviction and faith.
Watch now how God worked in the life of Jonathan and his armor bearer.
“ Now it happened one day that Jonathan the son of Saul said to the young man who bore his armor, “ Come let us go over to the Philistine’s garrison that is on the other side.” We sometimes forget God knows precisely what we will face each day.
An armor bearer was to bear arms for his master. He was to go into battle with him. He carried the weapons needed to pull down the strongholds of the enemy. Now we know the Israelites do not have the strength and powerful weapons the enemy does.
Jonathan and the armies of Israel faced a real enemy on the battlefield. So do we. But we must recognize where the battlefield is- the battlefield is the mind. This is where the enemy sets up strongholds. This where the enemy launches attacks on us.
Remember God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind. What good is it to have knowledge of God but not think it worthwhile to retain it? How do we keep our minds steadfast?
“You (God) will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26; 3)
Remember we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against spiritual wickedness in high places. We must understand the schemes of the enemy and how to use our armor and the weapons we have which are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. (2 Cor. 10) If you do not take your wrong thoughts captive, they will take you captive.
So let us analyze the spiritual armor which Jonathan and his armor bearer carried and more importantly how they used it.
Notice Johnathan knows where the enemy is and says to the armor bearer: “Come let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the Lord will work for us. For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few.”
Remember what Jonathan and the Israelites have – God’s Word, the first five books given to them by God through Moses on the mount when they came out of captivity. In Deuteronomy 28: 7 God said: “The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face: they shall come out against you one way and flee seven ways.” In Leviticus 26, we read: “You will chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you. Five of you shall chase a hundred and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight; your enemies shall fall by the sword before you.”
Jonathan had meditated on God’s promises of victory- have you? It is obvious Jonathan went out this day armed with the promises of victory from Almighty God. “Nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few.” Nothing is impossible for God.
“YOU WILL KEEP IN PERFECT PEACE HIM WHOSE MIND IS STEADFAST BECAUSE HE TRUSTS IN YOU.” (Isaiah 26: 3)
“FOR THOUGH WE WALK IN THE FLESH, WE DO NOT WAR ACCORDING TO THE FLESH. FOR THE WEAPONS OF OUR WARFARE ARE NOT CARNAL BUT MIGHTY IN GOD FOR PULLING DOWN STRONGHOLDS, CASTING DOWN ARGUMENTS AND EVERY HIGH THING THAT EXALTS ITSELF AGAINST THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD, BRINGING EVERY THOUGHT INTO CAPTIVITY OT THE OBEDIENCE OF CHRIST.” (2 Cor. 10: 3-5)
In Ephesians 6, we are told to put on the full, whole armor of God that we might stand against the schemes of the devil. Are you aware of his schemes? He tempts by the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.
When you read the pieces of the whole armor of God you realize it is all about the Word of God. It starts with the belt of truth- the Word of God is the first and foundational piece. Satan does not want you to have this belt on -so he has questioned its truthfulness since the Garden of Eden; “has God really said?”
Next is the breastplate of righteousness which comes from faith. Paul tells us Abraham was counted righteous by faith. Then our feet are shod with the Gospel of Peace. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to all who believe. A soldier must have good footing so he will not slip in battle. The shield of faith which is the largest piece of armor and protects us from the flaming arrows of temptation, doubt and fear from the enemy. And where does faith come from? Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. The enemy wants to steal the word of God the seed, before it takes hold. He wants to crowd it out with the things and cares of the world. Then there is the helmet of salvation for our minds must be transformed by the Word of God so we will not be conformed by the culture around us. And then we take the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. And after putting on the full armor we are to stand and pray.
YOU WILL KEEP- God is our watchman. We need a watchman on the wall of our minds. And God is the perfect watchman. He protects us. He neither sleeps nor slumbers. He stands watch and alerts us to approaching danger. He is the perfect watchman because he knows our thoughts before we think them and sets off the alarm there is an opening in the wall- a doorway of wrong thoughts in which the enemy wants to creep in.
PERFECT PEACE- peace is between two parties. The two parties here are God and us, (you and me) We were not at peace with God before we were saved. But when we got saved, we were justified through faith and we have peace with God. But we also have the peace of God, for Jesus said, “My peace I give unto you, not as of the world gives. Let not your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14: 27) Perfect peace is peace with God and the peace of God.
HIM WHOSE MIND IS STEADFAST- the mind is where decisions are made. Our minds frame our view of the world, the news, the temptations, and every circumstance which comes into our life. The steadfast mind of the believer chooses to believe there is no weapon formed against them which will prosper and that the Sovereign God of the universe is in charge and nothing can happen without his approval, knowledge or decree.
Overwhelming circumstances? Think what Jonathan faced: inferior weapons, a more powerful enemy, more numerous and better equipped to fight. The enemy has always wanted you to look at what you DON’T HAVE INSTEAD OF WHAT YOU DO HAVE. Whatever is making you anxious, worried and fearful seems to be a problem without solution and all you can see is defeat. If those are our thoughts, you need to cast them down using the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.
BECAUSE HE TRUSTS IN YOU- God wants you to trust Him like you trusted your parents when you were a child. This is why He has taken the role of Father.
THE DIVINE POWER TO DEMOLISH STRONGHOLDS
Satanic strongholds require divine demolition Not by your power or might, but by the Spirit. Satan’s power comes from his ability to bluff. Bluff is defined and described as ‘to try and trick someone into believing something in order to get an advantage over that person.’ This is why the enemy goes about like a roaring lion.
We are to demolish those arguments and every pretension. See bluffing is pretending to have something the person bluffing does not have. His arguments appeal to rationalization and thus to get our minds to accept this is the way it is- this is truth. But it is not- it is based on a lie, sometimes mixed with half-truths. The rationalizations are for allowing this truth to exist. Some excuses are: it is not harming me or anyone else; I cannot help the way I feel; – and the list of excuses are endless.
Now we know this about Lucifer, he wanted to be worshipped like God was worshipped. If he cannot get someone to worship him directly he knows he can accomplish the same goal by getting them to worship something besides God. This is why he appeals to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. God wants to take the yoke of the sin away from us because He knows how destructive it is. He wants us to be yoked with Him. For His yoke is easy and His burden is light. There will find rest for our souls.
These thoughts set themselves up against the knowledge of God. Set is an interesting word, especially when used in nautical terms- in sailing. It is the set of the sail that determines the direction in which we go. Satan wants to hoist up a sail to lift our eyes on the things of the world, his lie is these things will make your life more enjoyable. This is the abundant life- God is withholding from you.
Knowing the truth is the key to recognizing the lies and deceptions of the enemy- the counterfeit is recognized by knowing the genuine, the absolute truth of God’s word. This is how we determine right from wrong. You cannot recognize the lie without the truth.
Taking every thought captive is a discipline and Paul tells us what to think on and about in Philippians 4. He tells us to put our minds on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy, think about those things. You demolish those wrong thoughts by thinking and putting your mind on things Paul describes here. Your thoughts influence your behavior. When you allow those wrong thoughts to occupy your mind, they will sooner or later result in behavior for every sin first starts as a thought. Thought replacement is based on replacing those wrong thoughts with the word of God.
Victorious lives come from victorious thinking for a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.
Now understand these wrong thoughts which are destructive are thoughts which you dwell on and if not dealt with, cast down, they will result in sin. Captivating thoughts can become controlling thoughts.
God wants us and has enabled us to have the mind of Christ. Do you desire, more than anything to have the mind of Christ?
Let me re-mind you- isn’t that an interesting word? It is a verb, therefore an action which is defined as:
“To make someone think of something they have forgotten or might have forgotten.”
In Lamentations 3, Jeremiah describes his feelings, his depression in the most vivid words: walking in darkness; God has turned His hand against me; He has aged my flesh and my skin and broken my bones, and besieged me with bitterness and woe; made my chain heavy; made me desolate; turned me aside and tore me to pieces; filled me with bitterness….’ It is depressing just to read his expression of hopelessness in such dark, dreadful thoughts.
Then the light of God’s Word breaks through:
“This I RECALL TO MY MIND, therefore I have hope. Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul (mind, will and emotions) therefore I hope in Him.
This story of Jonathan and the armor bearer started out with this phrase: “Now it happened one day…”
We must remember the Lord neither sleeps nor slumbers and His grace is always sufficient and His strength is made perfect in weakness.
We must also remember when we awake in the morning- this is the day the Lord has made and we will rejoice and be glad in it.
What is going to happen this day? I do not know, but God knows.
How will I start this day? By remembering through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed because His compassions fail not, they are new every morning.
You just woke up to a day which the Lord has made. It comes with a new, fresh supply of compassion, mercy and grace which He promised us would be sufficient for any and all task we face.
I have clothed myself in His whole armor which reminds me it may be the Lord will work for us and through us, today for nothing restrains the Lord from saving the many by the few.
NOW IT HAPPENED ONE DAY…