Posts Tagged ‘battles’

The Lord Can Save By Many – Or By Few…

October 21, 2018

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In my current daily Bible readings the Lord has spoken to me three times about a certain serious situation that I am praying about. The first reading was in Judges 7v7 where I read: “And the Lord said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Mid-i-a-nites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place.” We have here the well know story of how Gideon’s army was whittled down and how they fought against the vast armies of the Mid-i-a-nites and the A-mal-ek-ites, “like grasshoppers for multitude.” But the Lord was with Gideon and his army and so they won the day.

Days later I had moved on to 1Samuel 14v6 where Jonathan says: “it may be that the Lord will work for us; for there is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few.” In this account Jonathan (without telling his father Saul) decides to attack the garrison of the Philistines, with his young armour bearer. In this chapter I am very aware of Jonathan’s courage and faith – and the fact that Saul lacks faith and is harsh with his people, denying them sustenance as they go into battle. But ultimately, because of only the young man Jonathan setting out in faith we learn that “the Lord saved Israel that day.” (1Samuel 14v23) This was a miracle given that in those days “there was no smith found throughout all the land of Israel: for the Philistines said, Lest the Hebrews make them swords or spears: But all the Israelites went down to the Philistines, to sharpen every man his share, and his coulter, and his axe, and his mattock.” (1Samuel 13v19&20) Therefore, we see the crazy situation where Israel is depending on the enemy for proper weapons… but the Lord overruled for He was with Jonathan and his young armour bearer.

A short time later I am reading the words of David to Goliath, the giant Philistine in 1Samuel 17v47: “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.” We learn that “when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled.” (1Samuel 17v51) Again, against seemingly impossible odds, a young boy wins the day because the Lord is with him.

Throughout scriptures we see that the Lord will choose the few, the humble, the youngest, the least, the smallest… to triumph in battles and conflicts, for He wants men not to glory in men – but to give God the glory. This can be seen in our personal lives too, in the days in which we live. Imagine a situation where someone who has been diagnosed with something which requires aggressive treatment discovers that he or she is reacting badly to every treatment given… so much so that the medical professionals involved, puzzled, cannot continue with the treatment plan. To believe that the Lord can overrule in this situation – and save by the least or the minimum is easier said than done…. Yet we walk each day by faith in the knowledge that He, our loving Creator, has known it all from the beginning to the end, long before we ever walked this earth.

David the shepherd, warrior, psalmist, musician and king later declared: “the righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.” (Psalm 34v17)

Today we can be assured as we face our own “giants,” that if the Lord of Gideon, Jonathan, Samuel and David is our Lord, then He is with us in our battles. And when He is with us, all things will work together for our good for us.  “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye,” He says. (Psalm 32v8)

“But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee,” (Psalm 43v1&2)

Praise God… “The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Se-lah.” (Psalm 46v11)

On the 1000th Anniversary of the Battle of Clontarf… and Spiritual Warfare

May 9, 2014

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Some weeks ago on a sunny spring day, we had the opportunity to see the re-enactment of the Battle of Clontarf in the lovely location of St. Anne’s Park, Raheny in Dublin. Hundreds of ‘soldiers’ had arrived over from many parts of Scandinavia and even Russia for the event, while many of the stall holders were from all over Europe and even some from the U.S.A.

I found it a most fascinating event, showing many of the old arts and crafts, costumes and materials, ways of cooking and way of life in general from one thousand years ago, being demonstrated in the large area devoted to the occasion.

In the Battle of Clontarf, which took place on 23rd April, 1014 in Clontarf on the east coast of Ireland, Brian Boru (High King of Ireland) was fighting against a Viking-Irish alliance which consisted of Sigtrygg Silkbeard, king of Dublin, Mάel Mόrda mac Murchada, king of Leinster, and the Vikings Sigurd of Orkney and Brodir of Mann. That battle lasted from dawn to dusk; between 7000 and 10,000 men were killed and Brian Boru’s forces were victorious but unfortunately he was killed, as was his son and grandson.

As I thought about this significant battle in Irish history just recently, I also thought about the spiritual battle that the children of God face throughout life…

From the moment we take that stand, that first step of faith which declares that ‘we are on the Lord’s side’ we can be sure that we have a most deadly enemy. He knows our vulnerabilities, both physical and emotional and will viciously attack if he suspects that our defences are down. We can never over-estimate the deep hatred and deviousness that the evil one has towards the Lord’s people and how he will create misunderstandings and cause trouble, even between fellow Christians, given the right (or should I say ‘wrong’) conditions.

I believe that it is true to say that we face spiritual warfare every day (like the Battle of Clontarf – from dawn to dusk)… and yet I know that the battle has already been won for us by the Lord Jesus Christ. It is only in His strength that we can overcome – not by using the manmade defences and words of this world.

There are many hymns devoted to this spiritual warfare: “Forward Soldiers,” “Marching On,” “A Call to Arms,” “Am I a Soldier of the Cross?” “We Shall Win!” “Who Would True Valour See,” “Soldiers of Christ,” “Victory for Me,” “Stand up Stand up for Jesus,” “Overcomers,” “Onward Christian Soldiers…”

Day and night we stand accused by the evil one; is he not the accuser of the brethren? (Rev. 12v10)

Yet the words of the Lord to His people in 2Chronicles 20v15 are indeed for His people today: “Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.”

“Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord…” (Verse 17)

We are commanded to “Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” (Ephesians 6v10-18)

And some wonderful day for those who are victorious in Him “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Rev. 21v4)

Interestingly the Battle of Clontarf was fought on Good Friday (23rd April 1014)… but surely the battle that outshadows all battles in the history of this world was won over a thousand years previously! On this glorious day the victory was won over sin and death and hell for all mankind, ‘the whosoever will,’ by the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary.

“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. 15v55-57)

Surely, if God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8v31)

 

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