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Spiritual Warfare/Battles

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2 Co. 10.3-5 “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)  Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”

Deut. 20.1-20: The law of warfare: be not afraid of thy enemies. Get the priest to speak unto the people, etc.

The law of warfare. Deuteronomy 20.1-20: “1 When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, be not afraid of them: for the LORD thy God is with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. 2 And it shall be, when ye are come nigh unto the battle, that the priest shall approach and speak unto the people, 3 And shall say unto them, Hear, O Israel, ye approach this day unto battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them; 4 For the LORD your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you. 5 And the officers shall speak unto the people, saying, What man is there that hath built a new house, and hath not dedicated it? let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man dedicate it. 6 And what man is he that hath planted a vineyard, and hath not yet eaten of it? let him also go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man eat of it. 7 And what man is there that hath betrothed a wife, and hath not taken her? let him go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man take her. 8 And the officers shall speak further unto the people, and they shall say, What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren’s heart faint as well as his heart. 9 And it shall be, when the officers have made an end of speaking unto the people, that they shall make captains of the armies to lead the people. 10 When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it. 11 And it shall be, if it make thee answer of peace, and open unto thee, then it shall be, that all the people that is found therein shall be tributaries unto thee, and they shall serve thee. 12 And if it will make no peace with thee, but will make war against thee, then thou shalt besiege it: 13 And when the LORD thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword: 14 But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the LORD thy God hath given thee. 15 Thus shalt thou do unto all the cities which are very far off from thee, which are not of the cities of these nations. 16 But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth: 17 But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee: 18 That they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods; so should ye sin against the LORD your God. 19 When thou shalt besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof by forcing an axe against them: for thou mayest eat of them, and thou shalt not cut them down (for the tree of the field is man’s life) to employ them in the siege: 20 Only the trees which thou knowest that they be not trees for meat, thou shalt destroy and cut them down; and thou shalt build bulwarks against the city that maketh war with thee, until it be subdued.”

N1 p265-66. The sin of Achan and its results teach the great truth of the oneness of the people of God. [Joshua 7 “11 Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff.”] The whole cause of Christ is injured by the sin, neglect, or unspirituality of one believer.” In this case, the sin of Achan injured all Israel, even though Israel knew nothing of it. I believe that the more prominent the sinner and the sin, the more devastating the results. Once Joshua learned of the problem, he immediately and completely addressed it. As a result, God gave Israel the victory over Ai. Then God gave the victory over many others. I have underlined in red phrases such as “God delivered * * *.”

The ultimate example of the correct manner of fighting spiritual battles is in Mt. 4.1-11; Mk. 1.12, 13; Lk. 4.1-13; cr. Gen. 3.6 dealing with the temptation of Christ. See N1 to Mt. 4.1-11 p997 (“* * * Satan’s one object in the threefold temptation was to induce Christ to act from Himself, in independency of His Father.  The first two temptations were a challenge to Christ from the God of this world to prove Himself indeed the Son of God (vs. 3, 6).  The third was the offer of the usurping prince of this world to divest himself of that which rightfully belonged to Christ as Son of man and Son of David, on the condition that He accept the scepter on Satan’s world-principles (cf. John 18.36; Rev. 13.8, note).  Christ defeated Satan by a means open to His humblest follower, the intelligent use of the word of God (vs. 4, 7).  In his second temptation Satan also used Scripture, but a promise available only to one in the path of obedience.  The scene gives emphasis to the vital importance of “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2.15.).

Zech. 4.6: “not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord.”

1 Cor. 1.26: “not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.”

“Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou has spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. * * *.” Exo. 4.10-17; see also, Judges 6.12-16; Jere. 1.4-10; 1 Thes. 5.24 (“Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.”), etc.See N3 p91 to Exo. 17.8 (the resources in a conflict of the man under law, as contrasted w/a believer under grace).

N1 to Joshua 6.5, p264 “And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.” (The central truth here is that spiritual victories are won by means and upon principles utterly foolish and inadequate in the view of human wisdom. 1 Co 1:17-29; 2 Co 10:3-5.). Good comments on this on pp 148-152, esp. 150-51 of McGee, Judges.

N1 to Joshua 7.11, p265 “Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff.” (The sin of Achan and its results teach the great truth of the oneness of the people of God, Jos 7:11. “Israel hath sinned.” See in illustration 1Co 5:1-7; 12:12-14,26. The whole cause of Christ is injured by the sin, neglect, or unspirituality of one believer.)

N3 p91 to Exodus 17.8-16 (Amalek, grandson of Esau, (Gen. 36.12), who was “born after the flesh” (Gal. 4.22-29) and the progenitor of the Amalekites, Israel’s persistent enemy, is a type of the flesh in the believer (Gal. 4.29). But the conflict with Amalek in chapter 17 sets forth the resources of the man under law, rather than those of the believer under grace.  The man under law could fight and pray (vs. 9-12). Under grace the Holy Spirit gains the victory over the flesh in the believer’s behalf (Rom. 8.2-4; Gal. 5. 16, 17); but this victory is only as the believer walks in the Spirit.  Acting in independency or disobedience, Amalek gains an easy victory (Num. 14.42-45). Like Saul we are prone to spare the flesh (1 Sam. 15.8, 9), forgetting Rom. 7.18.  See “Flesh,” John 1.13; Jude 23.). In Exodus 17.8-16, as long as Moses held up the rod in his hand, the Israelites prevailed. When they lowered the rod, the Amalekites prevailed.

Headnote to Judges. “…This book takes its name from the thirteen men raised up to deliver Israel in the declension and disunion which followed the death of Joshua. Through these men Jehovah continued His personal government of Israel. The key-verse to the condition of Israel is (Jg 17:6), “Every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Two facts stand out–the utter failure of Israel; the persistent grace of Jehovah. In the choice of the Judges is illustrated Zechariah’s great word (Zec 4:6), “not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord”; and Paul’s word (1Co 1:25), “not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.”…”

What did Paul say of himself? 1 Cor. 2 “1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and of power: 5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. 6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, that come to nought: 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even  the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”

N2 p289. (Not one of the chosen judges in the book of Judges had anything whereof to glory in the flesh.  Othniel was but the son of the younger brother of Caleb; Ehud was a lefthanded man and an assassin; Shamgar, a rustic with an ox-goad;  Deborah, a woman; Gideon of the obscure family in the smallest tribe, etc.  Each of the classes mentioned in 1 Cor. 1.27, 28 is illustrated among the judges.)

All these judges were “little men.” Judges, McGee, p125. There is not one big one in the lot.  Id.  These men were used by God because they were—and I have to say it—odd characters.  Id. Their very oddness caused God to use them. Id.  (see pp 125-127 for examples & explanation).  “The judges were little men, marked by mediocrity.  Each one was insignificant, insufficient, and inadequate.  Each one had some aberration in his life.  Each one of them had a glaring fault, and sometimes that fault was the very reason God chose them & used them.” Id. at 145.

What happened to Gideon between Judges 6.13 and 7?  See Psalms 44.5-7: “Through thee will we push down our enemies: through thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us.  For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me.  But thou hast saved us from our enemies, and hast put them to shame that hated us.” See the description of Gideon in Judges 6.15-16: “And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? Behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.  And the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.”  Why did the Lord use the weak?  So he would get the glory.  See Judges 7.2.  “Faith sees the invisible, is dead to doubt, blind to the impossibilities.”

1 Sam. 17.31-58: David’s victory over Goliath. “45 Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. 46 This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. 47 And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear; for the battle is  the LORD’S, and he will give you into our hands.”

2 Ki. 1.10-15: Elisha reproves the alliance of Jehoshaphat with Jehoram.

2 Chron. 16.7-9: Hires Ben-hadad to fight against Baasha for him (1 Ki. 15. 16-22 & 2 Chr. 16.1-6) & is rebuked by Hanani the prophet because he relied on the King of Syria when Baasha king of Israel came down against him. “* * * Herein thou has done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.” 2 Chr. 16.1-9. Asa imprisons Hanani for doing so. 2 Chr. 16.10-11

2 Chr. 19.2-3: Hanani the seer says to Jehoshaphat, “Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD. Nevertheless there are good things found in thee, in that thou hast taken away the groves out of the land, and hast prepared thine heart to seek God.”

2 Chron. 20.1-34: When the Moabites invade Judah, Jehoshaphat prays, proclaims a fast, asked help of the Lord, asks God to judge them. Jehovah answered through Jahaziel in vv 14-19: “Ye shall not need to fight in the battle: Set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you.” The invading armies were striken w/death and Judah has much spoil. vv 20-25. They return to Judah & Jerusalem w/joy. vv 26-34.

2 Chron. 20.35-37: Jehoshaphat rebuked for joining himself with Ahaziah to make ships to go to Tarshish. “And the ships were broken, that they were not able to go to Tarshish.”

II Chr. 25.5-16: Amaziah, king of Judah, hires men out of Israel to help in the war against Edom. Man of God warns him not to use the men of Israel in the war. Amaziah sent them back and God gave the victory. In verses 17-25, Amaziah, without consulting God goes against Israel, is defeated, and Joash, king of Israel, plunders Jerusalem.

2 Chron. 25.1-10: A man of God tells Amaziah not to take the army of Israel w/him to battle (Amaziah had paid them 100 talents to help him.). Amaziah sends the army of Israel home, but the army of Israel destroy cities bc they bc angry.

Isa. 30, 31: Judah again warned against the Egyptian alliance: Jehovah will defend Jerusalem. Hezekiah, note: Isaiah’s prophecies, concerning Sennacharig, etc. Isa. 30-37 (Judah is warned against making an Egyptian alliance: Jehovah will defend Jerusalem.) See also N1, 2 P740.

Isa. 30.1-14: Warnings against an alliance with Egypt against Sennacherib. Isa. 30. 15-33: Exhortation to turn to the LORD for help against Sennacherib: foreshadowing of kingdom blessing. Isa. 30 “1 Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin: 2 That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth; to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt!  3 Therefore shall the strength of Pharoah be your shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt your confusion.”.1-3 (Isa. 30.1-14 gives warnings against an alliance w/Egypt against Sennacherib and vv. 15-33 exhorts to turn to the LORD for help against Sennacherib.) “7 For the Egyptians shall help in vain, and to no purpose: therefore have I cried concerning this, Their strength is to sit still.  15 For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; IN returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not. 16 But ye said, No . . . .”  See N1 p740.

N1 to Isa. 30.27, p740. “Behold, the name of the LORD cometh from far, burning with his anger, and the burden thereof is heavy: his lips are full of indignation, and his tongue as a devouring fire:” (The imagery of Isa 30:27-28 is cumulative. Judah is making an alliance with Egypt when she might be in league with Him whose judgment upon the world-powers will be like a terrible thunder-tempest (v.27), turning streams into torrents neck-deep (v. 28, f.c.); who will sift the nations in their own sieve of vanity (or “destruction”), and put His bridle into the jaws of the peoples.)

Isa. 31: Judah warned against the Egyptian alliance: Jehovah will defend Jerusalem. Isa. 31.1-9: “1 Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD! * * * 3 Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses flesh, and not spirit.  When the LORD shall stretch out his hand, both he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is holpen shall fall down, and they all shall fall together. 4 * * * so shall the LORD of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion, and for the hill t hereof. 5 As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it. * * *.”

Isa. 33.22: “For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.”

Isa. 34. The day of the Lord: Armageddon. Isa. 34 “2 For the indignation of the LORD is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies: he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter.”

Is. 37. Hezekiah turns to the Lord for victory over Sennacharib. Vv. 21-35. Jehovah’s answer by Isaiah. Vv. 36-38. Destruction of the Assyrian host. (CF. Isa. 10.12.)

Isa. 44. The promises of the Spirit: The folly of idolatry.

Jer. 1.6-10: “Then said I, Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.  But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak..  Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD. * * *.”

Jer. 17.5-10 “5 Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. 6 For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. 7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. 8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. 9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? 10 I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”

2 Co. 10.3-5 “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)  Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Eph. 6.10-24. (4) The warfare of Spirit-filled believers.


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