I've heard it said that army generals have studied the book of Joshua to glean from the battle tactics that helped the nation of Israel chase out its enemies in record time. Well I live in an army town and I watch Army Wives on Lifetime every Sunday evening, but I've never heard of a Joshua Course or a Joshua Manual. So I don't know if the U.S. Army follows the patterns of Joshua or not.
But as I've read from the pages of Joshua over the last few days, I've discovered some principles of battle that are certainly worth taking note of on a personal basis. Now I'm not talking about employing these tactics in a fight with your husband, a skirmish with your teenager over curfew or a spat with your sister. No, these maneuvers should be applied at higher level--in our spiritual battles. For you and I do not battle against flesh and blood (though sometimes it may seem that way), but we battle against the spiritual forces of this world.
In fact, the first tactic I found in Joshua is to know who your enemy is. How can you know? You let God name them, as He did for Joshua. And He names our enemies in the pages of His Word:
Put on the full armor of God,
that you may be able to stand firm
against the schemes of the devil.
For our struggle is not against
flesh and blood,
but against the rulers,
against the powers,
against the world forces of this darkness,
against the spiritual forces of wickedness
in the heavenly places.
That means that while people may sometimes lend themselves to Satan's ploys--and it's a sad day when they do--the enemy always remains the same: it's Satan and his evil forces.
People are never the enemy. Repeat that with me. People are never the enemy.
On the other hand, God will deal justly with people who repeatedly enlist in Satan's army. But we'll let Him deal with that.
On to what I'll call our Joshua Maneuvers! Here's what I've learned so far from
studying reading through Joshua (and I'm not actually very far into the book yet!). Remember these are maneuvers we can apply to our spiritual battles, which are, needless to say, best fought with spiritual armor found in Ephesians 6.
- Know who your enemy is. Allow God to identify the enemy for you and call it what it is. He knows what Satan is up to in your life and often we don't. If God tells you to get rid of a TV show, romance novel, relationship, radio channel, or IPod entry, do it. He's pointed out the enemy to you and He expects you to treat the enemy like an enemy and not like a bosom friend.
- Be courageous. Having courage doesn't mean you aren't in a predicament that causes you to fear. It means that, while your initial reaction is knee-trembling, boot-shaking, palm-sweating fear, you choose to be courageous and step out in faith anyhow. Courage means putting one foot in front of another in a difficult situation. It means getting out of bed in the morning and facing life. It means getting dressed and going out of your house. It means having that difficult conversation even though everything within you doesn't want to.
- Completely get rid of your enemies. God told Joshua to completely annihilate or chase out Israel's enemies. They were not to allow a few of them to stay, take in a few as pets, or let a few of them be. They were to get them completely out of the way. Why? Because enemies have a sneaky way of growing in number and festering in power, especially when we allow them to take up residence in our lives. Is there something that you know is of the enemy in your life that you have tolerated or "let be"? A relationship, a habit, a form of media or entertainment, a choice word or two, a root of bitterness, a grudge? Chase it out!
- Seek God's guidance in every battle, not just the seemingly difficult ones. That's where we tend to get in big trouble.
- Be careful who you link up with. Read Joshua 9 where the Gibeonites pretend to be visitors from far away, but are actually evil neighbors of the Israelites. Without consulting God, Israel finds itself in a permanent and binding covenant with these sneaky snakes. Use wisdom and discernment when linking yourself up with others in spiritual battle.
There's a lot more I've learned from Joshua and I'm continuing in its pages over the next week or so. If you are facing a daunting enemy, you might want to read through Joshua too. And take courage, dear friend. The battle is the Lord's.
- Remember, the battle is the Lord's. And quite honestly, He's already won it. What does that mean for me? It means I simply need to cooperate with Him by following His orders to a T (they can be found in the pages of His Word) and sticking close to Him (through prayer). I do not need to fear or be intimidated or lose heart or switch sides or run away from the battle. I can trust Him to defeat the foe. I just need to stand strong and do as He says.
Labels: Walk Through the Bible