Fights and Wars/Battles – Psalm 144

After writing about Attacks, Test, Storms and then revisiting Test and Storms I realized that I was not finished and that the attacks and storms part seemed lop-sided.  I guess when you are in them it seems one-sided and that you are always the one getting beat-up and there is little you can do about it.

We know that is not true but we still need to be reminded of the fact that part of the Christian life is battling against the works and deeds of Satan. Three verses that help me are:

1.  1 Samuel 30:6 But David found strength in the Lord his God. (NIV)

2.  Proverbs 21:30 + 31 The horse is made ready for the day of battle but victory rests with the Lord (see Lord). (NIV)

3. Psalms 144:1 Blessed be the Lord my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight. (KJV)

To just read one of David’s psalms is good but I like to put them into his story; read them in the context where they may have been written. (see The Writer)  I put Psalm 144 somewhere in 1 Samuel 21 & 22.  This is a very trying time for David (he is running from Saul, did not kill Doeg the Edomite, and is worried by the King of Gath) but he reminds himself and God that he has been trained to do battle.  He sees a big picture, which is hard when you are attacked, that God is his fortress and asks for help from God in verse 5 – 7.                     (see Storms Revisited)

The King James reads differently than the New International Version in that the words are war and fight and not war and battle.  Using my Strong’s Concordance I looked up these words.  War/battle is used over “three hundred times in the Old Testament, indicating how large a part military life was to an Israelite.”  And the word fight (used 149x) comes from a primary root word that means to feed or consume and the implication is to battle or destroy. There is a separation of the idea between battle, a single encounter, and war, a series of encounters. You can draw some interesting parallels from hands being matched to war/battle and fingers with fighting.  The hand is the larger/stronger part and yet the fingers are part of the hand.

Wars/battles can include storms, trials, and attacks and go on for a long time where battles are those single attacks or pesky trials that hit quick and are over.

But I have to remind myself (the three verses), we are to be attacking, trying, and storming the enemy’s work also.  God trains us for war, gives us tools and resources to confront evil and its work, and will even fight with/for us if the battle gets too big.

Test, Attacks and Storms – O My! Part 3

Attacks, test, and storms.  In this part, I am looking at spiritual attacks and trials.

A trial is like a test only it is not for your good. (See Part 1)  To me, a trial is something that just always seems to hang around causing problems.  It exposes a weak area and always seems to work on your nerves.

An attack, on the other hand, is just that an attack.  They come at you without warning they seem to serve no useful purpose and are frequently very costly.  The verse that sums up attacks is John 10:10 – the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy.

Let us use Paul the Apostle as an example.  His tests are in Acts 20:22+23, 21:10-14.  He knew God’s ways and voice so these test of people telling him that he was about to be jailed was something he needed to pass.  He could have run but he embraced (and passed) the test and went on to the next mission in his life.

The attack is seen in Acts21: 26-36 where the crowd tries to kill him and he was arrested.

The trial(s) (literally) started in Acts 23:23 and continues through Acts 26.  The jail, dishonest officials and continued lies were meant to wear him down but he overcame them to testify to rulers and kings.

His storm started in Acts 27:13.  He knew it was coming and Jesus showed him how it would end.  And as with most storms in the New Testament, it was followed by miracles (on Malta) to validate the victory he had in Jesus.  And it opened bigger doors of ministry to him. (see Fight)

Test, Attacks and Storms – O My! Part 2

Storms, attacks, and tests.  We have all been through them and the great news is we are still here.  In continuing the series this week we will look at storms (See part 1). In the New Testament, the word storm can mean anything from winds to rain or the violent storms that would sweep down from the mountains and plague the Sea of Galilee that could be compared to earthquakes.  By the way, I hope that you never get in an argument about what you are in – a storm, a test, or an attack!

Hurricanes by the coast, a tornado in the central part of the country, and threats of floods with every passing front have raised our consciousness of storms.  The Weather Channel, weather apps, local TV, radio programs, and websites now can give some advance warning of approaching storms.  Even in Jesus’ day, they could read the signs of approaching weather (Matthew 16:2).  Many natural storms may give us a warning that they are coming; sometimes they may not because they form right on top of you.

I think spiritual storms also can give us advance warning that they are coming.  Not always, but sometimes, we can see what is coming and prepare for it, or we can always be at some level of preparedness.  Storms can be very violent and many times you cannot see that in the advance forecast but storms are only going to last for a given period of time.  After a storm, there may be a lot of things that may need to be repaired and fixed but like tests, they are not going to continue “forever.”  Maybe you are going through a windstorm where things are knocked down all around you.  Maybe it is a rainstorm where things are being covered with water and washed away from your life.  Or it could be a very violent storm equal to a tornado or hurricane where you make it through but everything in your life is changed or gone.

I find it important to realize that wind and rain are symbols of the Holy Spirit but the devil will come against us with violent forms of the symbols to cause grief and destruction.

No matter what it is you are going through storms, attacks, or tests, Jesus is and wants to be your shelter in the storm.

Test, Attacks and Storms – O My! Part 1

Test, attacks, and storms have you ever heard a sermon on any of these things?  Well, I have found myself going through them in the last couple of weeks so I thought it would be a good time to look at them.   I seldom do this but for this study, I am not looking in the Old Testament for word meanings.  And for the number of sermons that are generated on these topics you would think that there must be a lot of references in Scriptures on them, no, well not in the New Testament.  Now I will use Old Testament examples to some of these but not necessarily the “words.”  In looking up the New Testament words none of them had any real difference than what we think of them today except one word for a storm that also referred to earthquakes.  Then there was a comment in the Zondervan NIV Exhaustive Concordance about test and trials.

Test, as a teacher I give these all the time and whether I like it or not I am always preparing my students for a standardized test and right now I am studying about research and part of that is “test.”  Tests are things that are planned; they cover something that we have learned and they are to show what you know or how far we have come in that subject.  The Concordance added this comment about test and trails that I thought was excellent.  The difference between the two is the intent of the tester’s motives.  God tests us to determine our character and not to make us fail whereas the devil’s intent is to make us fail in that area.

Spiritual tests are not something we should fear because we have the knowledge or ability to pass them; since we know that God as the Master Teacher is trying to promote us to a higher level.  Trials I will put under attacks and cover them later.

The one test that I want to highlight was for the Prophet Samuel when he went to anoint David as king.  Everyone always focuses on David in this story.  Samuel, the Man of God, for that moment is sent on a mission by God.  Now he is told where to go and what to do why not just tell him the name “David” and be done with it.  Samuel had to go through the test of looking at the other sons and to know that they were not the “one.”