Friday, November 23, 2007

“Why Can’t We Still Ask God to Destroy Our Enemies, Like King David Did?”

Shawn has people in his life that really want to see him fail. They actively talk about him negatively, and literally do what they can to see him lose at life. They even let him know in no uncertain terms, that they hate him! Jesus said that we were to love our enemies, but Shawn also reads in the Psalms, how King David asks God to eliminate his enemies. So what about it? Why can’t we call down some lightening? Jesus said:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:43

Back when the Israelites were receiving the Levitical law, Moses told folk what to do to those who wrong them:

“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”
Leviticus 19:18

We who believe know that God is Love. But we also know that there is a war going on. There has been this war going on in the heavenly realm since before mankind fell in the Garden of Eden. Heavenly things are not confined to time. And we know the ending of this war already. It is recorded in scripture. We needn’t worry, but we who belong to the Kingdom of Light are still expected to fight. There’s been no truce called by either side. And nice as you are, if you are a child of God, you have an enemy.

Since the fall, man has always had struggles. God has not changed from the time of David to now. He is immutable. And that is a good thing for us:

“I the Lord do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.”

Malachi 3:6

God has an enemy. Satan’s enmity with God and His children, was announced when Adam and Eve fell. What has changed is that unlike in King David’s time, followers of God now become born again; transformed into new creatures.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”
2 Corinthians 5:17-19

David was not born again, and indwelt by God’s Spirit. The Holy Spirit "came upon" David, to lead a kingdom of people who were set apart as God's own people: a nation where the world could see the amazing faithfulness and holiness of God. In those days, worshipers of God came from all over, to worship God in Jerusalem. Our battle plan changed when Christ rose victoriously from the dead.

Now since the resurrection of Christ, believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Instead of people coming to a Temple in Jerusalem to meet God, we who believe become mobilized Temples of God, being sent out by the church, "into all the world.” The war is still on, but the battle plan has changed due to Christ’s decided victory on the cross. Our mission now is to bring His message of reconciliation to those yet lost. It is a message of love. And that is hard to convey if we ourselves are not filled with God’s love.

David was not equipped to fight spiritual battles. He was not a "new creation." In Christ we have been so equipped. David’s foes were people who were against the kingdom of God on earth. Earthly battles were fought, and God was sought for strength and protection and to defeat David’s enemies. The smallest nation around, surrounded by enemies, was promised protection by God. Even today’s maps of the Middle East, show her surrounding nations as sworn enemies of Israel. Yet after thousands of years, she stands while her enemies gnash their teeth and raise fists and burn effigies.

David knew that it was God doing battle for Him. This hasn’t changed. In the Psalms, David didn’t boast of how he would defeat his enemies. He cried out to God while being pursued and attacked, for God to do as He had promised him.

“Give us aid against the enemy,
for the help of man is worthless.
With God we will gain the victory,
And He will trample down our enemies.”

Psalm 60:11,12

God had promised that He would deal with David’s enemies. David was fine in asking God according to God's promise to him. If you want to see God’s promise of protection, it makes wonderful reading. (See: 2 Samuel 7.)

David fought human enemies, but the battle lines have changed. Jesus came and brought about resurrection power for those to be born anew in Christ. God has not changed. He changes men and women into new creatures! The war is still on. But now followers of God are released to fight heavenly foes. No longer headquartered in Jerusalem’s Temple; only armed with truth, Jesus said that now God wants us to worship in Spirit and in truth. (See: John 4:21-24). As new creatures in Christ, we have been changed into spiritual soldiers.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Ephesians 6:12

Paul wrote to Timothy:

“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
1 Timothy 6:12

There is a battle that you entered the moment you confessed your faith in Christ. Paul must have sensed that his time on earth was ending when he later wrote to Timothy:

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
2 Timothy 4:7

People in Christ are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and so able to fight spiritual battles. Still, we cannot run about boasting as if we are doing anything of our own power. It is still God’s Spirit who enables us to battle. What is there to boast? The victory was decided before we were born!

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:38,39

In David’s time, Jerusalem was to be a beacon of God to all nations. Constantly under attack, men like David fought for Jerusalem, crying out to God to take care of their enemies. Since Christ’s victory, the believers’ role and our very nature has been changed. Equipped by His Spirit inside us, we are to “go into all the world.” And in order to show the world His reconciliation, we need to be a forgiving people. God hasn’t changed. God used the nation of Israel to show the world His ways. Jesus came, showing the world God Himself! Now the church is being used by God, to display to all of the beings in the heavenly realms, His amazing wisdom and glory and intentions.

“His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to His eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Ephesians 3:10,11

I guess that kind of makes us as instruments of God's object lessons to the heavenly rulers and authorities. We continue to do battle, keeping this faith, while bringing God’s message to the world. We trust God, that as we fight, and deliver His message to those yet lost, that He is using us also in the heavenly realm, to display His wisdom and purposes to these powerful beings we don’t see with our earthly eyes. To enter the battle today, we must forgive the flesh and blood which tries to oppose, going after their darkness with His love and light. We don't ask God to destroy our enemies, because our mission is to help rescue them from the spiritual darkness that enfolds them.

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”
Ephesians 6: 13-18

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