Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”
We’ve read countless times in the Bible, more in the Old Testament, of the battles won by the Israelites with God's leading. They were messy and they were fought with weapons of warfare. Even David defeated Goliath with the simple weapon of a slingshot and a stone. Typically, when there is a battle, there are weapons involved.
Today, we still use weapons in war in battles. They are more advanced than swords as we now have all sorts of guns and machines of war. But still, the idea is still the same, a battle is won by he who wields the weapon the best.
So, what do you say when God calls you to battle but tells you no weapon is required. Oh, and yeah, you'll come out the victor. Huh, how? There are some stories I've enjoyed in the Bible where that has been the case. The best part? Most of them were won by the ‘best’ weapon of choice, a trumpet and voices praising God.
Let's begin with one of my favorites. I've used this story in other illustrations but, like I said, it's a favorite. Joshua had now become leader of the Israelites and now he was in charge of leading them to the promised land. After getting the bad news about the obstacles they would face, when it was time to defeat Jericho, Joshua became discouraged. The biggest obstacle was going to be a wall that surrounded the city. How was his army going to get past that barrier. God had promised this land to them, and He had a plan, no weapons required.
March around the city quietly for six days and on the seventh day march around the city quietly six times and then on the seventh let the priests blow the trumpets while the Israelites shout praises to God.
I'm sure Joshua’s army thought he was crazy. How would marching around a wall that much bring down the walls? There had to be a better plan where they could use weapons. Yet, Joshua remained firm to the word of the Lord and His promise.
I'm sure the Israelites thought him a little crazy and probably felt silly just quietly walking around a walled city for six days. But they had to trust the Lord, their lack of trust already lost them the promised land for 40 years. So, they walked. They might have murmured as they walked. I'm thinking the guards standing on the wall thought this group of people were nuts and probably teased and jeered them the entire time.
This is where the story gets great. On the seventh day the Israelites did as God asked and on their seventh time around those trumpets blew and the people shouted and, yup, we know the story. The walls came a tumbling down. Of course, the weapons came out at that time. But that one giant obstacle needed to enter Jericho, was taken away no weapons required. Faith and trust in God was all that was needed.
Another story I've come to enjoy, is when God calls Gideon to lead a charge that would defeat the enemy at hand. Gideon was skeptical at first, and it took a couple of times of him questioning God, but when he finally was on board, he was ready. Especially when he saw the many willing men that came to help fight the enemy. What he wasn't prepared for was God dwindling his army of over 32,000 men to just 300. How were 300 men supposed to defeat an army of over 135,000 men. To top it off, God didn't want them to use weapons, just pots, torches, and trumpets. Again, with the trumpets?
Yes, I believe Gideon’s men thought he was off his rocker too, but they trusted God and they were fighting for the Lord. If you read the story, you will learn that the enemy’s army was pretty sure of themselves and didn't worry about defeat. Yet, God was with His people and did what He does best. He went ahead of His army and through a dream, allowed fear to set into the minds of the enemies. When Gideon heard of the fear of defeat one soldier had, he knew that was God's cue for the 300 men to fight, without weapons. On cue, the men began banging their pots and blowing the trumpets and since they were strategically placed around the entire camp, the enemy thought they were surrounded and fled for their lives. Defeat for God's people, no weapons required.
Sometimes it's not even a battle needing to be fought and God will defeat the enemy with no weapons needed. I'm reminded of a story of a prophet. He was up against some powerful priests who followed false gods and were pulling many people away from the true God. It was time for the showdown, Elijah against the prophets of Baal. A showdown at an altar, on a hill, with the crowd all watching. Would their god accept their offerings proving all should worship false gods or would the true God of creation accept Elijah’s offering, showing the nation who the one and only God is.
This is how it went. On Mount Carmel, Elijah said to the people of Israel, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; But if Baal is God, follow him” -1 Kings 18:21. The people remained noncommittal at that point. Elijah then challenged the prophets of Baal to prepare a bull as an offering for their God and he would do the same with one catch: they could light no fire on their altar. The God who answered with fire from the sky would be considered the true God- v, 22-25.
It began at daybreak, the people watched on as Baals prophets built their altar and then began worshipping around it with chants. “The pagan prophets cried out and danced around their altar from morning till noon with no answer from Baal. Elijah began to mock them, saying, “Shout louder!… Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is in deep thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened”- 1 Kings 18:27.
When that didn't work, the pagans began to cut themselves and chant even louder. Still no fire came from heaven. By evening the people were getting restless and began to not care anymore.
This is when Elijah stepped in. He put a stop to their insanity. Now it was God's turn. Elijah had the altar rebuilt. He used 12 stones and dug a trench around the altar. He then placed wood on the altar and laid the cut pieces of a bull on it. Elijah then had the people douse the altar with 12 large jars of water. The water soaked the sacrifice and the wood and filled the trench.
This is where the story gets really good. Once the sacrifice was ready, Elijah prayed, “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God of Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, our God, and that you are turning their hearts back again”- 1 Kings 18:36-37. Then God did what Baal could never do: the fire of the Lord fell from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the woodpile and the stones and the dust, “and also licked up the water in the trench”- v. 38. The people of Israel bowed down and declared the Lord as God- v. 39.
No weapons required and God is victorious. Simply trust, faith, and prayerful praise. The miraculous event of the fire from heaven was an answer to the prayer of Elijah. God was seeking to turn the hearts of his people back to Himself. He used a time of drought to get their attention and then, through His prophet, performed a dramatic miracle right before their eyes. No one who witnessed that event ever doubted that the Lord was God, and that Baal was a powerless wanna be.
There's a chapter in the Bible found in Ephesians 6 where we are told to suit up and put on armor for battle. You may think, while this requires weapons to defeat the enemy. We need the sword to go into battle. When you study this, you can learn that this is not a physical battle with satan, it's a spiritual battle in our hearts and lives. The sword is a weapon, but when it becomes the Sword of Truth it is a weapon greater than any other weapon and has a way to defeat the enemy that no other way, can. The Sword of Truth is God's Word, the Bible. Jesus used it to defeat the devil in the desert, and it has been used many times over to defeat satan, by countless people. The Bible tells us it's sharper than any sword and satan knows his demise lies in its promises. No weapon required, believe in God's promises and speak the truth of His word.
I could find more stories in the Bible where God and His people were victorious but it's a good study for you to continue on your own. There is though one more story I want to share. An event where there will be no weapons required. An event that we will get to be part of when we put our trust and faith in the Lord.
For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an Archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. - 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
The Lord has promised to come back again to take His saved people, His family, to Heaven, and the enemy, the devil, will be defeated. But look how He comes. No weapons, the Lord comes with a shout and the trumpets will blow, calling God's people home. Those who are against God won't even fight back, they will be looking for places to hide and crying for the rocks to fall on them. Praise the Lord for the promise of salvation and by His love and mercy we will have a home with Him in Heaven, while satan will be defeated, no weapons required.
There will be times when we will have to take up actual weapons and fight. But there are times we simply have to trust God even when He tells us to lay down our weapons and do it His way. With something as simple as a trumpet or voices praising God, what seems an impossible battle can be won. It's a matter of:
Believing in God- knowing who God is, knowing God's heart and intentions for you, surrendering your control over the outcome, and having patience.
Trusting in God- to have confidence in the reliability, ability, strength in God. It's putting your security in the Lord knowing He will take care of you despite your emotions.
Having faith in God- relying on God for everything, knowing that even when we don't understand all things, God does.
Knowing that when we go into battle, our weapon of choice is the Lord and when we praise Him and follow His commands we will come out the victor! That's an awesome reason to celebrate. No matter what we're going through God is with us leading the charge. Praise the Lord! But, we still have to do our part. In order to use His Word we must KNOW His Word, right? That's is why I like to have extra Bible studies that take us through the Bible. Not only can we learn how to navigate through life, we can build our relationship with Jesus too. In the pages the Lord is speaking to each of us and when we are searching He is answering. Let's continue our study Connecting with God with lesson 2, Focus on God. Have a blessed day!
Lesson 2, Focus on God- https://1drv.ms/w/s!As3FwvP417NegZExv9SLnwHWlzvF7w?e=XHSzSq
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