Nahum 1:15 – Stepping into battle

The title “Stepping into battle” may seems a little odd when referring to the first part of the fifteenth verse of the first chapter of Nahum, which reads “Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! O Judah.This verse speaks of the feet that brings good tidings and peace, then where is the question of battle and warfare? Before we delve into that, let us first recognize that this verse succeeds God’s assurance of comfort to the people of Judah from the Assyrians, for God promises to afflict them no more (Nahum 1:12). God’s comfort is possible only when the Comforter is present and the Holy Spirit of God is referred to as the Comforter by Jesus himself who will testify of Jesus (John 15:26) . True peace and good tidings comes only when Jesus comes into a person’s life. So this verse in essence is a messianic prophecy of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ as not just as God’s messenger of peace but as God’s message of peace and the God of peace (Philippians 4:9). Prophet Isaiah refers to the same analogy to describe to coming of the Lord Jesus Christ (Isaiah 40:9). When Jesus was born, the angelic host (army) sang, peace on earth and good will (tidings) to all men (Luke 2:14).

Ever wonder why an army, that to, an army of angels, sing about peace. To publish peace in a world that is sinful and under the bondage of the evil vile one (2 Corinthians 4:4) is not just a struggle but a battle and it would take an army of warriors. This is why the armor of God, which ought to be donned for victory in spiritual warfare, lists as one of its elements, the shoes of peace that comes from the Good News (gospel of Jesus Christ) (Ephesians 6:15 – NLT).

Points to ponder:
When we take the gospel of peace to people who have not yet believed in Jesus, we can take comfort, that we are being, God’s feet that brings good tidings and publishes peace (Nahum 1:15).
When we put on the shoes of peace to proclaim the gospel of peace to a world that is lost without Jesus, we are in essence stepping into battle, but we can take comfort in the fact, that by doing so, we are following Jesus’ footsteps. Jesus said, “Do not think I have come to send peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34) meaning that when we take the gospel of peace to the lost, it will pierce their inner core as a sword would penetrate the soul and spirit, joints and marrow (Hebrews 4:12) as we engage with spiritual warfare.

Nahum 1:15 (KJV)
15 Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off.

Isaiah 40:9 (KJV)
9 O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!

Luke 2:14 (KJV)
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Jesus Veteran – Been There, Done That

Been there, done that is an expression used to indicate someone who has personal experience of the topic at hand. On November 11th, 2012, America celebrated its Veteran’s day in honor and in remembrance of the many living soldiers who fought to defend the people of the country. In the context of war, a Veteran is a person who is not afraid of going behind enemy lines and has been there and done that.

In the context of spiritual warfare, the ultimate Veteran who has been behind enemy (satan or devil or adversary) and overcome is Jesus Christ. He died to destroy the power of the enemy which is death (Hebrews 2:14), in defense of the people of the world (John 3:16), who were under its bondage (Hebrews 2:15) and overcame death destroying it and the devil by being resurrected to life, by the Power of God (Romans 1:4). In like manner, we ought to be warriors of God, for God. We need to withstand and stand in the evil day, adorning the whole armor of God, against the temptations, of the enemy of our souls (Ephesians 6:13,16). We can learn from Jesus himself, who was tempted in every which way, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15). He is the ultimate Veteran, in dealing with temptation, and is able to succor us when we are tempted (Hebrews 2:18).

Points to ponder:
This Veteran’s day, while we wish our fellow veterans, gratitude for their service to their country, let us not forget to remember and express our heartfelt gratitude and sacrifice of praise to Jesus Christ – the Ultimate Veteran. He gave his life for you and me once and if he was asked to do it again, he would respond without hesitation, “Absolutely, Been There, Done That – I’ll do it gladly for you again.” The question is, would you and I be willing to gladly give our life to him, in response to his call of Love, expressed on the Cross. Do not continue to be subject under the bondage of sin and death. When our time on earth is due and the roll call in heaven is taken, can you and I say, when asked of our account in serving God as Jesus did, in being his servant and soldier, “Been There, Done That.” so he can say of each one of us, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of the Lord.”

Hebrews 2:13-18 (KJV)
13 And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.
14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.
17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

Lesser known characters :: Ahimelech

Ahimelech was the priest at Nob during the reign of Saul. When David fled from Saul to save his life, he comes to Ahimelech the priest. Upon being questioned by Ahimelech as to why David was alone and why no man was with him, David lies to him stating that king Saul had sent him on a secret mission and that is the reason as to why he was alone and had no one else with him.  Then David, in order to satisfy his hunger, asks Ahimelech for the loaves of bread that was in his place. Ahimelech, a priest and keeper of the law responds by saying that the bread that was in the house was sacred. He tells David that there was no common bread in the house and the sacred bread could be eaten by only the priests and their sons; by those who were sanctified and pure from carnal matters according to the Levitical law (Leviticus 24:5-9; 1 Samuel 21:4). David tells Ahimelech that he was carnally clean and so Ahimelech gives him the sacred bread. Later, Ahimelech also gives to David the sword of Goliath when David asked him for weapons (1 Samuel 21:1-9).

What can we learn from Ahimelech?
This act of Ahimelech giving David the sacred bread would be considered a direct contradiction to what the law prescribed. So how can a person who is supposed to uphold the law, be justified by breaking it? While on the surface, it may seem like a priest broke the very law that he was to uphold, which was to not give to anyone but to those who were priests, the sacred bread, under this act, is a hidden treasure that becomes evident upon deeper scrutiny. Jesus in fact, quoted this incident in the gospel according to Mark (Mark 2:25-28) to illustrate the understanding that Ahimelech had, which was that the law (sabbath) was made for life (man) and not life (man) for the law (sabbath). Ahimelech recognized that religious traditions and requirements were given to live a holy life, but when such requirements conflicted with the giving of life (symbolized by the bread – John 6:35), he must do that which was necessary to give life (Deuteronomy 15:7-8). Sometimes in our dedication to observe religious prescriptions, we often ignore the needy and those who need the bread of life (Jesus Christ) and this must not be the case. Additionally, we can also learn from this account that, that which was sacred was given to a common man. Jesus Christ, the sacred bread of life, is not only given to those who are religious and priestly but to the common man/woman; to the common thief, the adulterer, the murderer and to everyone.

Furthermore, in addition to giving to those in need (who are starving for being satisfied), the bread of life (Jesus Christ), we must also give them weapons (of warfare), as did Ahimelech give the sword with which David finalized the victory against Goliath.  this will help them to fight against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:10-18). We must give them the armor of God which includes the word of God, with which Jesus (referred in Ezekiel as the second David) won the victory against Satan, the goliath of all adversaries (during his temptation). The word is the Sword of the Spirit by which the victory over temptation and the devil’s schemes is won and finalized. “It is (thus) Written.”

1 Samuel 21:1-9 (KJV)
Then came David to Nob to Ahimelech the priest: and Ahimelech was afraid at the meeting of David, and said unto him, Why art thou alone, and no man with thee?
And David said unto Ahimelech the priest, The king hath commanded me a business, and hath said unto me, Let no man know any thing of the business whereabout I send thee, and what I have commanded thee: and I have appointed my servants to such and such a place.
Now therefore what is under thine hand? give me five loaves of bread in mine hand, or what there is present.
And the priest answered David, and said, There is no common bread under mine hand, but there is hallowed bread; if the young men have kept themselves at least from women.
And David answered the priest, and said unto him, Of a truth women have been kept from us about these three days, since I came out, and the vessels of the young men are holy, and the bread is in a manner common, yea, though it were sanctified this day in the vessel.
So the priest gave him hallowed bread: for there was no bread there but the shewbread, that was taken from before the LORD, to put hot bread in the day when it was taken away.
Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the LORD; and his name was Doeg, an Edomite, the chiefest of the herdmen that belonged to Saul.
And David said unto Ahimelech, And is there not here under thine hand spear or sword? for I have neither brought my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king’s business required haste.

9 And the priest said, The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom thou slewest in the valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod: if thou wilt take that, take it: for there is no other save that here. And David said, There is none like that; give it me.

Understand and stand up(right)

From Daniel 10, we learn that when Daniel was earnestly praying in humility for understanding, an answer to his request was sent, but the angel with the answer was delayed due to an invisible war that ensued in the spiritual dimension, between the forces of evil (prince of Persia and later the prince of Greece) and the forces of God (the angel with the answer and Michael, the archangel). When the angel with the answer, finally arrives after 21 days of warfare, Daniel is helped to his knees (Daniel 10:10) and asked to understand the words that he was spoken to and to stand upright (Daniel 10:11).

Daniel sought to understand and he was asked to understand God’s message. Daniel was also asked to stand upright. Ecclesiastes 7:29 informs us that God hath made man upright but they have sought out many inventions which means that God created man(kind)/people upright (in his own image) but man has chosen his own downward path (NLT) (from and since his rebellion and fall in the garden of Eden). God want us to be restored, to stand up and stand upright (faultless) before God. This is only possible if we understand the message that God has sent to us; the message of God’s inseparable love, in the form of His Only begotten Son, Jesus Christ (John 3:16). Jesus Christ is God’s message to mankind. He is the answer to the question – “How can man stand upright?” for it is only Jesus Christ, the only wise God and Savior, who can keep us from falling and present us faultless (upright) before the presence of God’s glory (Jude 1:23).There is no other way to righteousness, to standing upright.

Point(s) to ponder:
1. We must be on our knees (not feet) in order to stand before God!
2. We must believe in the Word of God (Jesus Christ), standing up on our knees in humility accepting His Lordship, so that He can make us stand up(right) before God.
In other words, We must Understand God’s Message to Stand Up(right)!

Ecclesiastes 7:29 (KJV)
29 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.

Daniel 10:10-12 (KJV)
10 And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands.
11 And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling.
12 Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.

Winning Wars :: Hold ‘Em Hands High

The book of Exodus in chapter 17 verses 8 to 13, records the war that the Israelites led by Joshua fought against Amalek. During the course of this war, Moses who had commanded Joshua to fight, goes on to the top a hill, along with his brother Aaron and Hur and he held his hand high [towards God in heaven] and as long as his hands were  held high, the Israelites prevailed and each time Moses let down his hands, the Amalekites prevailed. While this account may seems to be odd to some, there is a hidden treasure that we can learn from the gesture that is mentioned.

Holding up ones hands for a prolonged period of time is not a easy undertaking by any chance. The force of gravity will pull our hands down. You can try this yourself, hold both your hands high over your shoulders as if they are stretched out to touch the ceiling and count as to how long you can hold them high before gravity pulls them down.

For the Spiritual war to be won in our lives, we are to hold our hands high in praises of and in petition to the Almighty God and Creator. By doing so we demonstrate that we persevere against the elements that pull us down. Only when we let the forces of life pull our hands from adoring and appealing to God, the enemy can have victory over us. To win in the Spiritual warfare that we are engaged, we must lift up our hands  in appeal and adoration of the very one who made our hands.

Exodus 17:8-13 (KJV)
Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim.
And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand.
So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.
And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.
But Moses hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.
And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.

Biblical Oxymoron :: Enemy Friend

The well known Arabian proverb  “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” is used to conceptualize that when two parties have a common enemy, then one can use the other to advance their goals. We see that this was essentially the case during the time of Jesus. The Pharisees and the Herodians who hated each other united to try to entangle the very Son of God, Jesus Christ (Matthew 22:15-16). We also see that a Roman (Pilate) and a Jew (Herod) who were usually at loggerheads became friends, when trying Jesus for no crime that He had committed (Luke 23:12). Sadly in both of the referenced cases, weak men of the world banded together against a powerful God. Now think of the situation as to how powerful we would be in advancing the apostleship granted to each one of us, if Jesus and us had a common enemy. We do. It is called the world.

Jesus himself said, that the world was his enemy, that it hated him when He exclaimed, “The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.” (John 7:7). He also said that we will be hated of all men for His name’s sake (Luke 21:17) and when He prays for His disciples, He tells God, the Father that the world hates us (John 17:14). All of these verses affirm that the world hated/hates Jesus and the world hates/will hate us, Jesus’ true followers. This means that the world is at enmity with God and at enmity with us. In fact, we are to marvel not (or be surprised) that the world hates us (1 John 3:13). We can be assured of God’s promise that if the world hates us, they are not really in enmity with us, but in enmity with God and God will be the enemy of those who are our enemies and the adversary of those who are our adversaries (Exodus 23:22).

An identical proverb to the Arabian proverb, but of Chinese origin is “it is good to strike the serpent’s head with your enemy’s hand.” We are to strike the Satan’s (serpent’s) head with the hand of the world (our enemy), i.e., not fall prey to evil in the world. Satan uses the world and its lusts to lure us away from God. When we devalue the world and its offerings, we give him no power, symbolically striking a blow to his head. If our allegiance is with the world over that of with the Word of God that became flesh and tabernacled among and in us, then we cannot be in spiritual battle with Satan (which means adversary) or his forces in heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:10-18).

To oxymoronic aspect here is this:
To be a friend of this world is to an enemy with God;
To be an enemy of the world is to be the Friend of God

With the world (and its evil) as our common enemy, we can work hand in hand with God and advance the goals of apostleship that He has entrusted to us, being assured that He will be the enemy of our enemy (the world), meaning that He will be our friend. What a friend we have in Jesus!

John 17:14 (KJV)
I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

James 4:4 (KJV)
4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

The art of fighting without fighting

Growing up learning martial arts, it was not hard to be appealed by karate or kung fu movies and one of my favorite action movies is Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon. In that movie, there is a quote by Bruce Lee that got etched in my mind. Bruce Lee is asked for his style (of martial arts) by a bully and he responds by saying that his style is the “art of fighting without fighting” and as the scene progresses you see that he teaches the bully a lesson without fighting with brawl but with his brains.

When questioned by Pontius Pilate, Jesus responded that His Kingdom was not of this world. He then adds on to say that if His Kingdom was of this world, then His servants would fight from Him; that He would not be delivered to the Jews; that His Kingdom is not from here (this world) (John 18:36). Note how Jesus expressed that His servants would NOT fight for Him because His Kingdom was not of this world. In other words, Jesus was saying that His style of engaging in spiritual battle was the art of fighting (Spiritually) without fighting (physically).

Although we are engaged in Spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:11-12) we are not expected to engage in physical warfare. Many who were persecuted for the sake of Jesus Christ, chose not to retaliate in any form, because they recognized, learned and applied the art of fighting without fighting in their lives, many unto death.Their Master had taught them well. We are to be the same. We are easily angered when Christians are persecuted and I am guilty of such emotion. The Kandhamal riots against Christians or the burning of Graham Staines and his two sons in Orissa, India, makes me angry and a part of me wants not just justice, but revenge. The Scripture  now teaches me to understand that Jesus’ Kingdom is not of this world and His style is the art of fighting without fighting. This means that instead of trying to restore justice through physical means, we must be fighting on our knees (in prayer), enamored with the Armor of God, standing firm with the belt of TRUTH, the breastplate of RIGHTEOUSNESS, the feet fitted with readiness for that which comes from the gospel of PEACE (not war), the shield of FAITH, the helmet of SALVATION and the sword of the SPIRIT which is the word of God.

The litmus test would be, when I am persecuted for the sake of Jesus Christ, will I be a true follower of my Master? Will I know the art of fighting without fighting? My prayer is that I will and do. Will you?

John 18:36 (KJV)
36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.

A call for warriors, not just workers

It is the eight anniversary of the infamous and heinous attacks by kamikaze terrorist groups commonly referred to as the September 11 attacks or the 911 attacks. Although superficially it may seem as if the attacks were orchestrated against the American public, when America had to surrender its innocence of the nation’s invincibility, on deeper thought, it was an attack against all those whom the terrorists deemed as ‘infidels’; those who did not belong to their faith. It came with the slaughter of many innocents and eight years later, we remember the fallen.

But in our remembrance, let us NOT just remember those fallen on the day of the 911 attacks, but let us also remember those who are under the bondage on THE fallen (Satan and his angels).

In the wake of the 911 attacks, the then President of the United States, George W. Bush Jr., said the following words in his Radio address to the nation – “This will be a different kind of conflict against a different kind of enemy. This is a conflict without battlefields or beachheads, a conflict with opponents who believe they are invisible”. While President Bush eluded this reference to the physicality of the war at that time, it is nonetheless accurate of a war that began centuries ago, when God cursed the fallen one (Satan) in the garden of Eden who had tricked God’s priceless of creation to fall from their relationship with God (Genesis 3:15).

We are in a conflict (at WAR) in spiritual realms with an enemy that is invisible to the human natural eye. But this INVISIBLE enemy is NOT INVINCIBLE as God has equipped us with an armor (Ephesians 6:10-18) and endowed us with weapons of warfare(2 Corinthians 10:4).

We are all called to work for God and sadly many of us stop at being just workers for God. We are not to be mere workers but warriors as well, engaged full time in spiritual battle, snatching those under the clutches of the fallen one so that they no longer are fallen. We are asked to beat our plowshares (workman’s items) into swords (warrior item) and our pruninghooks (fisherman’s item) into spears (warrior item) and let those who are weak proclaim that they are strong (Joel 3:10). Those who were commissioned to work and rebuild the Temple of God under the leadership of Nehemiah, held in one hand the materials for the building and in the other hand a weapon (Nehemiah 4:17). We are called not to be just workers but warriors as well.

Equipping ourselves with the armor of God, let us affirm to engage in spiritual battle this day, and when we win this day, the 11th of September will no longer be known as an American memorial day, but as the day all followers of Christ Jesus declared in one voice: “We will not go quietly into the night (darkness)! We will not vanish without a fight! We’re going to live on (abundantly)! We’re going to survive (death has no power over us)! Today we celebrate our Independence Day (by no longer staying fallen or under the bondage of the fallen one)!”

Points to ponder:
Are we engaged for spiritual warfare? Are we equipped with the Armor of God? Let not just work, but fight as well.

Joel 3:10 (KJV)
Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong.

2 Corinthians 10:4 (KJV)
4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

For your viewing pleasure, our 3 year old son telling us the Armor of God. Note how he ends it with, “the word of God, the Bible” 🙂