There is Only One
Today I want to talk about a subject that many of you will either relate to, or will hope to never have to relate to. Today’s message explores how to deal recognize enemies. Now before you get lost in reviewing the list of enemies that you have had to fight off throughout your life, please consider this: There is really only one enemy. Yup… that’s right, there is only one true enemy. Now please do not take this the wrong way, I am not trying to invalidate the encounters that you have had with maleficent personalities, or workers of iniquity who have worked tirelessly towards your downfall and demise. I am not even talking about those who have betrayed your trust, taken advantage of your kindness, or muddied you reputation through gossip and character assassination. Yes those are terrible situations, involving nefarious schemes, but can you really say that those people are true enemies? Could there be misinformation, darkened perspectives, and unhealed wounds motivating the unscrupulous actions of those who seem to be formed against you? Sometimes it is a personal attack, and the situations are unfair, but is your total destruction really the expected outcome from the people that are coming against you?
OK, so I just introduced all of these deep questions that you may want to reflect on in your times of devotion and prayer. And to those questions I will remind you of 1 Corinthians 6 – That we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against…..
Okay, as promised the main topic of this message today is recognizing the true enemy. Now there are many ways that the enemy of our souls, satan, can engage in warfare against us. However, this message is not to glorify him or put you on edge concerning his tactics. This is meant to sharpen your discernment to be able to recognize what is happening in a situation when evil is rising up against you. Our case study today is David and Goliath. Yes, I know it’s a familiar text, however I truly believe that fresh revelation is still flowing from this text and that there is something in this message that is going to encourage, equip, and empower you for any battle ahead. So let’s all turn in our Bibles to 1 Samuel 17.
Now I will say this, King David, in this story even before he was official king, was a very unique and special individual. He loved a good fight! He was courageous however not because of lust for power, or influence, not he was an inherent protector. He took his job seriously as a shepherd. It was a lowly but vital job to his family and to his community. David learned what he was made of while he was doing his job as a shepherd. Instead of cowering when a lion or bear attacked one of his sheep, he fought the wild animal off and killed it if necessary to ensure the safety of his sheep, and more importantly to make sure that his family and those entrusting their sheep to him did not incur any financial loss. One thing that I learned in preparation for this message today is that the sheep that shepherds like David watched and cared for were not always only property of their own family. Sometimes, the elders or other people in the community would hire out shepherds to tend their flocks, if for example the person who was originally tasked with that job was too old, ill, or had moved on to a different job. So it really speaks to David’s’ integrity that he would fight off a wild animal for a lamb or sheep, putting his safety at risk to protect the investment of another.
At the time of this battle between David and Goliath, the text says that David was a young man, some bible scholars say that he may have been as young as 16 years old, for in Jewish culture a boy has his Bar Mitzvah at age 12 or 13. The significance of this fact of his youth is that he wasn’t a trained soldier, he wasn’t a seasoned warrior, he really had no expertise in military operations, and in fact we find from the text that he was not able to even function under the weight of the armor that was offered to him by King Saul. So basically, in all measurements for what a courageous warrior would appear to be David missed the mark.
What I like about David is that he was a critical thinker. He walked into Israel’s army base and pretty much, assessed the situation, realized what the problem was, and then took action. There was no hesitation to implementing the solution, even once again, to the point of personal risk. So let’s just stop here and repent for a minute. How many opportunities to mhelp, to provide a solution, or to protect/defend someone, especially in the nae and honor of our God have we missed or failed to execute? How many times have we said no to a challenge or fight because the risk of loss was too great? There is no condemnation for this, but let’s be honest, there is no point in recognizing the enemy in a situation if we are not going to be prepared to fight. Not saying that we have to fight every manifestation of the evil one, but really what good is it to call out an enemy and do nothing? When there are people who consistently do that, I have to wonder what their true motive is. Could it be that they are waiting on someone else to fight for them? Could it be that the true enemy that they should be calling out is their own fear? Could it be that the urgency to attack this perceived foe is a cover for revenge or other malicious plots? David did not waste time pointing out who he perceived to be the enemy in the situation. And it grieved him that everyone else was fearful and not willing to fight.
As courageous David was in this account of how he defeated Goliath in 1 Samuel 17, let’s flip over to Psalm 3 and see what King David had to say there. In verse one, he is crying out something like, “Oh how my enemies have multiplied against me!” Does this sound like a confident, courageous king to you? Hey even the best of warrior kings have moments of despair and weakness when assessing the enemy against them. It’s a human mechanism in all of us triggered by fear that helps us to know when danger is imminent. However, we are not to rely solely on our senses, but as Christians we should be depending on God! It is ok that King David is crying out, because he is crying out to God, the One he know will deliver him out of the enemy’s hand. Whatever he was going through at the time was serious, not only was there and enemy against him, they were surrounding him on every side.
Have you ever felt like you were surrounded by enemies and regardless of what direction you turned to you could find no help?
Have you ever felt like maybe this time you are actually outnumbered and over powered by the enemy and his forces?
Or better yet, have you ever been in a situation where blame and accusations are being brought against you to stir up other people to hate and conspire to destroy you?
Well if you can identify with any of those scenarios you are not alone. Let’s look at Psalms 3:1-2 again: King David cries: “O Lord, how my enemies have increased!
Many are rising up against me. Many are saying of me,
“There is no help [no salvation] for him in God.”
In the times that you feel overwhelmed and outnumbered, the enemy will always try to plant the thought in your mind that it’s over for you, there is no help for you, and it’s so bad that God won’t even help you. If you have ever felt that way, learn to shut down that lie from the pit of hell! If you keep reading Psalm 3, you will find that not only does God deliver David from the hand of his enemies, but he is able to rest and find comfort while God is working it out!
In Psalm 27 the psalmist confidently sings, “Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.”
This is the attitude that we should aim for in the midst of conflict or when an enemy rises up against us. It’s not always easy to get there, especially when you have been fighting or struggling for a long time. It is a lot easier to say, “Lord just get me out of this situation!” or “Lord just help me survive this!” It is perfectly human and OK to feel that way, but what activates faith in a situation to invite God in to move in the situation is our confidence in Him. Now it is not always easy to get there. I personally can say sometimes it rather difficult, because what you see, hear, and perceive can be bombarded by the enemy. Even our “feelings” can betray us at times. This is why it is important to consistently study and meditate on the Word daily, to have daily times of praise and worship, and to pray in all situations. This will help you to recognize when a thought, perception, or feeling is not lining up with faith and victory. It takes practice, and even the best of us sometimes get over whelmed, but look at the psalmist’s strategy: “Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.” This psalmist is setting the expectation that when trouble comes, my response will be not to fear but to be confident in the Lord! If you are one of those people who feel like if anything can go wrong it will, guess what? You can add to that mindset that when trouble comes I will NOT fear and even if the enemy attacks me I WILL be confident in the Lord for victory!
So guess what? If the enemy is hot on your trail and trying to hem you in, you are in great company! Being an anointed, favored, and blessed child of the King of Kings sometimes draws out the haters.
King David of course is a great example that even anointed warrior kings get weary from the onslaught of the enemy sometimes. Throughout the Bible we see the servants of God being closed in on by the enemy all to no avail! Joseph was thrown in a pit by his envious brothers and put in jail because of an accusation against him. Daniel was conspired against by his coworkers because he liked to pray to the One True God and was thrown in the Lions’ den. Nehemiah was heckled and mocked, then accused by Sanballat and Tobiah of conspiring to start a war when he went back to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown in the fiery furnace for refusing to worship and bow to the king’s image bearing statue. Even Jesus had to skip going to certain towns because the Pharisees were waiting for Him there seeking to kill him. He was accused, mocked, humiliated, beat violently, and suffered abuse from His tormentors thus taking our place for the punishment we deserve for our sins and empowering us to overcome the wiles of the enemy.
Because of the sacrifice of Jesus’ life on the cross at Calvary, the Apostle Paul has a different testimony. The Apostle Paul throughout his ministry had been in enough dangerous and painful situations. He was taken outside of the city of Lystria to be stoned to death (Acts 14:19), a riot broke out and he was thrown in jail for turning people away from idolatry and to accept Jesus Christ (Acts 19:29), he faced shipwreck (Acts 27:9-26) and being bitten by a poisonous snake (Acts 28:3-6). Plus on top of all of that the motives of his heart was constantly on trial: The Christians did not trust him because he used to be a Christian persecutor, the Pharisees and Sadducees did not trust him – they considered him a traitor and heretic, and the Roman government did not trust him – they thought that he was planning to lead an insurrection against the emperor.
What did Paul know that helped him to get through all of that? Well of course he was well acquainted with Jesus as Lord and Savior, and he was filled with the Holy Spirit, but that is only part of it. Apostle Paul knew that his enemy was not flesh and blood. He knew that regardless of the attacks that came against him through human beings or spiritual beings that there was truly on one enemy. He used his authority accordingly, even when gossip and slanderous accusations came against him through current or former followers he never used his influence to personally attack those who were against him. He just admonished the people to put away childish things and to handle their conflicts in brotherly love. Because of his love for and relationship with Jesus Christ, he was able to face a challenge knowing that the enemy that was coming against him was already defeated.
The Apostle Paul did great and mighty works to build the Kingdom. Despite his initial criticism and persecution of the church, as mentioned earlier, he went through many hard times and perilous situations that would make anyone want to quit. His situation was different from King David’s because Paul knew that the real enemy against him was not in flesh and blood. The Apostle knew that the hardships, difficult situations, disappointments, also the physical and spiritual attacks that were coming at him were not caused by people. People may have been participating in it, but they were not the true source of the underlying evil. Because he knew that there was ultimately only one defeated foe, when he was literally surrounded by people who intended to kill him by stoning him to death, it did not cause him to become bitter. In the times that he was being accused of being a false teacher or having impure motives, none of that pushed him to give up his ministry. Even through all of this he endured a “thorn in the flesh” whereby he was being harassed and bothered by evil spirits, but he never complained about it.
How was he able to do it? How could he take the discomfort and pain of all of those awful situations without losing faith and giving up on God? Some of you may be facing the greatest battles of your life and need to know that if God brought Apostle Paul through, that He will bring you through as well. God is no respecter of persons! The secret to Apostle Paul’s endurance wasn’t just faith or relying on the word. Yes all of that is essential to Christian living anyway, but Apostle Paul knew that there was only 1 + 1. One defeated enemy and one victorious Savior! One accuser and one Acquitter, there is only one adversary and one Advocate! One who was trying to steal his soul and one who died on a Cross at Calvary to save his soul!’
This is not to say or suggest that Jesus and Satan are equal by any measure. Regardless of how the enemy rears his head it is written, established, and cannot be revoked that he is defeated and doomed to a lake of fire for eternity. Jesus, on the other hand, is at the right hand of His Father, triumphantly awaiting the time of His return to earth to reign and rule in the “new Jerusalem” forever! Hallelujah! There is only One who eternally watching for your soul and His name is Jesus!
Now if you are going through a hard trial, the most intense pressure and stress that you have ever faced before, let me give you and insider tip: there is One who says “cast your care on me for I care for you!” He says “Come to me and I will provide you rest!” He’s saying “Turn your problems over to Me for my yoke is easy and my burdens are light!” If you have tried to handle it on your own, but need a divine solution from the All Knowing One, the true Answer, won’t you join us in prayer below? We are here to pray and stand with you during this season of tests and trials.
Maybe you have never actually accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior and want to enter into relationship with Him today, if that is you, won’t you invite Him into our life to day. Say these words to the Lord:
If you feel like you are far away from God because you stepped out of His will and need to get back on track, make today the day to get back in alignment. God is a forgiving God, gracious, merciful, and kind, but He will not force you to be committed to Him. He only wants sincere love, and if you are struggling in any area He will, and by the grace of God we will also help you. Rededicate your live to Him today! Don’t put it off, don’t wait for a more opportune time, make today the day!
Blessings Always ♥♥♥,
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