Evading the Enemy

“No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declares the Lord.” Isaiah 45:17

I think sometimes we forget that God permits the enemy to form his weapons.

He promises victory over our enemy. He doesn’t promise the enemy won’t attack. In fact, he will attack—perpetually—strategically forming weapons to pinpoint our weaknesses and destroy us.

Covid-19 is one of his weapons. Fear is another. Opposition. We’re facing an onslaught of enemy weapons right now.

Yet, we as believers carry a glorious promise. Even when the enemy fashions a weapon against us, our union with Christ won’t allow it to succeed. You and I need to learn how to step into the graces of that truth.

Jesus’ life shows us how.

His story isn’t a string of joyous, wonderful events unfolding to lead Him into ministry. Instead, we see weapons forming against Him at every turn to literally snuff out His life.

The first two chapters of Matthew recount Jesus’ birth and early childhood. This morning, God opened that story to me and gave me a fresh perspective. I was struck by the phrase, “This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet…” (Matthew 2:15) recurring throughout the text.

And I realized something.

God saw the weapons the enemy would form against His Son and spoke in advance what would need to happen to avoid them. His prophetic word revealed the way of rescue, the path that would lead Jesus to safety.

…For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Revelation 19:10

We find salvation in the Word of the Lord, beloved. Not merely the written text of the law, but the present Rhema word that God is speaking to align us with the plans He has established for us—our own pathway to defeat the weapons formed against us by our enemy. Jeremiah 29:11 promises that He has already foreseen and established His plan to prosper us. Now, His Spirit wants to lead us on that path into salvation.

When King Herod learned of Jesus’ existence from the wise men who came to worship Him, the enemy fashioned him into a weapon to destroy Jesus, manipulating him through fear and jealousy. God foresaw that this would happen and spoke His deliverance through the prophets in advance.

Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.” Matthew 2:13-15

God foretold in advance that Jesus would have to go to Egypt. It wasn’t until the time came to fulfill that prophecy that we learned why. The enemy set Herod’s heart against Jesus to destroy Him, and God established the means to thwart his plans so they wouldn’t succeed. But in order to evade that weapon, those living in the appointed time for that the prophecy had to discern and trust the present Word of the Lord to make it safely through.

The angel of the Lord spoke to Joseph to send his family to Egypt. If Joseph hadn’t trusted God’s instructions, the enemy’s weapon would have prospered.

We see it again when Herod’s death prompted Joseph to return to Israel with his family. Once again, the angel of the Lord commanded his timing, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead” (verse 20).

Joseph would’ve naturally returned to his home in Judah if God hadn’t spoken again.

…and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. 23 And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene.Verses 22-23

Do you see it, dear one? The plan to prosper Jesus’ life, spoken over Him by His Father from the very beginning, included the means to evade the enemy’s plans to destroy Him.

Only intimacy with God will render the enemy’s weapons useless.

We need to hear from heaven and align our hearts to trust what we hear. Then we express that trust through our obedience.

Proverbs 3:5-6 rings true, beloved.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Weapons have been formed, dear one. So has the strategy to defeat them. Your safety is found in God’s hands and heart. Draw near. Discern what He’s speaking. And align yourself with what you hear.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. Psalm 34:19

Thank you, Jesus.

Spirit empowered

The Gift You Don’t Know You Have

“Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” Numbers 11:29

The words in our opening scripture came from the mouth of Moses. He said them in response to concern that men in the camp were found prophesying in the Spirit. Up to that moment, that job had belonged to Moses alone. He served as the mouthpiece between God and man.

But a problem arose. The people had started grumbling. Again. They were tired of the manna God had provided. They wanted meat—meat they expected Moses to provide.

So Moses approached God with this complaint.

Moses said to the Lord, “Why have you dealt ill with your servant? And why have I not found favor in your sight, that you lay the burden of all this people on me? Did I conceive all this people? Did I give them birth, that you should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom, as a nurse carries a nursing child,’ to the land that you swore to give their fathers? Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they weep before me and say, ‘Give us meat, that we may eat.’ I am not able to carry all this people alone; the burden is too heavy for me.” Numbers 11:11-14

I wonder if you can relate. Have you ever set out in obedience to God only to find that the people He sent you to serve didn’t appreciate it?

Moses lived in that place. He gave up the palace in Egypt for them. Then he left his peaceful life and the home he’d made with his wife to deliver them from slavery. And he succeeded, with God’s help. God enabled those grumbling Israelites to pass through the Red Sea on dry ground.

The people had moments of gratitude. But mostly, they grumbled. And now they found themselves in the desert, the place between their deliverance and their blessing, and they weren’t happy. Moses found himself so tired of their ingratitude that he asked God to kill him.

“If you will treat me like this, kill me at once, if I find favor in your sight, that I may not see my wretchedness.” (verse 15)

But God didn’t kill him. Instead, He gave him help.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Gather for me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them, and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you. And I will come down and talk with you there. And I will take some of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you may not bear it yourself alone.” (verses 16-17)

I love the picture of God in these verses. He comes near to help us. And I will come down and talk with you there. God desires nothing less than intimacy with His people. And do you see what was needed to fulfill God’s purpose, beloved? God Himself.

We can’t fulfill the purpose of God apart from the work of the Spirit of God.

We can’t fulfill the purpose of God apart from the work of the Spirit of God. #LiveSpiritempowered Click To Tweet

So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord. And he gathered seventy men of the elders of the people and placed them around the tent. Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. And as soon as the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied. But they did not continue doing it. (verses 24-25)

Did you notice what took place when the Spirit of God rested on these men? They prophesied. They spoke the Word of God by the power of His Spirit.

But two men of the chosen seventy hadn’t joined the gathering at the tent of meeting. They remained in the camp. And when God poured His Spirit out on them, they also began to prophesy.

This is what brought the young man to Moses, concerned that others were doing what he could do. Even Moses’ aid Joshua, who would later lead the Israelites into their Promised Land, said, “My Lord, Moses, stop them” (verse 29).

Isn’t it funny how our human nature wants to control who does what. And we fear—even within our churches—that God moving through someone else somehow diminishes our own significance.

But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” (verse 29)

Moses understood that what he had with God couldn’t be diminished by someone else having it too. Each of us hold special priority in God’s sight. When we understand our significance to Him, we can applaud when someone else discovers the beauty of what we have.

“Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!”

Jesus answered that prayer through the cross, beloved. Now every one of us has been empowered to hear from God and boldly declare His Word.

Let’s walk in the power we’ve been given!