Imagine your enemy forming battle lines in front of you.
You position yourself for a head on collision. You observe him.
Where is he strong? Where is he not? Where is the weakness in the armor?
You take a deep breath, you engage all of your wits to the strategy of war.
You look for the route to victory.
Then you hear a rustling from behind...some quick movement catches your peripheral, and your heart shudders for just a tick of time, pumping with adrenaline.
As you wheel about, your eyes behold the horror of what your mind has already concluded, because there he is also...
You enemy has formed a plan.
To deceive you.
To catch you off-guard.
To intimidate you and throw you into a panic, and ultimately,
To bring your ruin and wipe your name from the face of this Earth.
What now, brown cow?
Here's where your faith either has feet to stand, or wings to take flight.
Here is where you must remember:
You can never run...out of courage! You can never lose....hope, or love, or strength...but you can forget....where to go find more!
We nod our heads in agreement. But do we hold that truth in the moments of terror? Do we remember where to fill up? Let me first ask, have you had any moments of terror this week, this month, this year? Or is today's biggest argument going to be over who does the dishes? You were designed, created, imagined, by the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth! Do you think He made you to squabble? To dilly-dally? To flounder? To lie down, or to rise?
Faced with the daunting task of __________ (fill in the blank) do we panic and tuck our tails, forgetting everything ever poured out upon us by the Lamb of God, or do we never allow the option of defeat to seep in? Are we defeated, deflated, before even the first blow, or do we charge and surge forward, wading in with pure resolve? As the Haitians say, "Kouraje!" I've said it before, it sounds very much like the Marine Corps OO-rah!
In 2 Samuel 10, we get this picture, painted for us in all of the living color of the Bible, and I thank my God in Heaven for making it so alive, that even this boy can understand:
'Joab saw that there were battle lines in front of him and behind him; so he selected some of the best troops in Israel and deployed them against the Arameans. He put the rest of the men under the command of Abishai his brother and deployed them against the Ammonites.
Joab said, “If the Arameans are too strong for me, then you are to come to my rescue; but if the Ammonites are too strong for you, then I will come to rescue you. Be strong and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. The Lord will do what is good in His sight.”
Then Joab and the troops with him advanced to fight the Arameans, and they fled before him. When the Ammonites saw that the Arameans were fleeing, they fled before Abishai and went inside the city. '
Don't you just love it! It fills my sails! It heaves my chest with the wind in my lungs and makes me want to stand up and shout! Yes! Yes! Yes!
It's the most epic reversal, what has to be one of the greatest battle speeches of all history! Not even a hint of a fleeting thought of defeat. Only victory occupies his mind.
Here was Joab's perfect chance to fail, to cower, to run and disgrace all Israel. Enemies in front and behind! They were probably howling and mocking, doing all they could to rouse that fleeting fear, thinking they would take the field, filled with pride at their wittiness......but then.....what's this?.....WHAT'S THIS?!
I can hear that tired, old enemy shaking in his boots, thousands of years later...
'Are they chanting? Is that Joab splitting the army?! Did he just throw his sword up in the air....like...like he's already won!? How is this army we've surrounded...beating their shields with their swords?! Did they just ROAR, all together as if they were one man?! No. That was no man. That didn't even sound human! Does it not sound like we've just made the deadly mistake of caging the most vicious, giant beast in all the world? Oh NO! They've given us over.... TO THEIR GOD! RRRUUUUUNNNNNN!!!!'
And off they go!
I once picked up a granola bar that had been dropped on the ground here in Haiti. It was festering, writhing with hundreds of hungry fire ants, getting their fill of sugar. Soon as I picked it up, they saw me. And what a sight I must have been! All of them bolted, in any direction possible to escape my wrath. None continued to gorge themselves on that wonderful American energy bar. They no longer had the stomach for it!
That's the picture that our enemy sees in the face of God. Perfect fear. You know why? Because the Bible says that perfect Love drives out fear. Like the demons that Jesus cast out into the pigs that then ran over the cliff, it has to go somewhere. Darkness must flee from the light. It has no choice.
Because that's all he can do, when you realize that you cannot lose. Jesus Christ has already won!
Even if you or I go down. If we go in the name of Christ, we win. You cannot run out of life, so long as you are leaning on the Everlasting Arms.
Take courage today, Christian. Go out and find the front lines of the battle, and dig in with your heels. Take the battle to your enemy today. Not with back-biting, gossip, revenge or anger. You don't fight with the same weapons. Take to them love. Bring peace. Give them your King. How's that for an unforeseen battle strategy? Yes! Give them your King! Do you know why? You don't own Him. He doesn't belong to just you.
What did Jesus say when He came back from the Cross?
Stay, Hide. Don't tell anyone. Shhh. Keep quiet! No!!
He said, Go. Make disciples. Baptize them. Teach them. and I'll be with you always, all the way to the end!
He can fight his own battles if you let Him, and you can watch as your enemy flees in confusion.