Modeling, Christianity, God's Will, Bible, Scripture, Opponents, Devil, Enemies, Battles, Agreement, Allies, Allegiance

A SHIELD

NAHUM 2:3

“The shields of his warriors are dyed red, the warriors are dressed in scarlet, the chariots are fitted with flashing steel when he is prepared to march, and the juniper spears are brandished.”

I love to watch football (American football), especially college football. I love to watch the team working as one to achieve a goal – to score on their opponent or to prevent their opponent from scoring on them. A lot of this occurs on the line of scrimmage. Young men forming a line of defense have to work together as one.

The English translation above says “shields,” but the actual Hebrew word is singular – “shield.” That makes a difference. Nahum is saying that “the shield of His warriors” is one. They move as one. They attack as one. They are no longer fighting alone against their enemies. They have become a unified force under the banner of Jehovah.

APPLICATION

This should send a message to us, not about fighting, but about standing together. Christians are so divided today. We segregate ourselves between denominations. We divide our churches by race. We cannot fight our common enemy if we stay divided. We must become one.

So, what prevents that? Is it pride or arrogance? Is it our church traditions? Some of these divisions are over minor doctrinal disagreements that do not really have an effect on our salvation. Paul says in Romans 12:4-5 “4 For just as we have many parts in one body and all the body’s parts do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually parts of one another.”

What part are you? How can you help unify the body of Christ? The ministry I am serving in now, Every Man A Warrior (www.everymanawarrior.com), cuts across denominational lines. We have leaders in 58 countries and in all 50 states in the U.S. And guess what? We are all not Southern Baptists. Nor are we all Methodists. We are all believers in Christ who want to see our culture changed by changing the hearts of men. Will you join us in unifying the body of Christ worldwide?

Help me hold Your shield, Lord, as I face our enemies.

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VILE

NAHUM 1:14 

“The LORD has issued a command concerning you: ‘Your name will no longer be perpetuated. I will eliminate the carved image and the cast metal image from the house of your gods. I will prepare your grave, for you are contemptible.’” 

Psalm 101.3 says “I will not look on anything that is vile. I hate what faithless people do. I will have no part in it.” That should be our attitude towards anything that is vile. But what does that mean? It’s the last word used in today’s verse – contemptible. It means to be cursed or despised. If it is not godly, have no part in it. 

Nahum tells the Assyrians that their time was up. The Lord is going to wipe them away like crumbs from a table. “Your name will no longer be perpetuated…I will prepare your grave.” Those are pretty harsh words. God meant business. He had used them as His battering ram against Israel to judge them, but they had taken it too far. 

APPLICATION 

Today we are bombarded with the vile. All around us are worldly, ungodly things that try to lure us into a lifestyle that is abhorrent to God. Movies, television and commercials all attempt to point us toward a lifestyle that is anything but embracing a Christian viewpoint. 

So, what do we do? We cannot live outside this world – at least not yet. While we are here, we must insulate ourselves with the Word of God. Only His Word can give us the protection we need against the evil one. His flaming arrows are always trying to find their mark against us. 

I am thankful that God has given me the desire to memorize and meditate on His Word. I know my quiver is always full of His Word to defend myself. The Spirit within me is quick to point out those things that offend it. Rely on Him to guard your heart and mind in your daily battles. 

I dedicate my life to honoring You, O Father. You are worthy of my praise and allegiance. 

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GIVE IT YOUR ALL 

MICAH 7:16 

“Nations will see and be ashamed of all their might. They will put their hand on their mouth, their ears will be deaf.” 

I shall never forget football drills and the coach screaming at us, “I want 110% out of you men. Don’t slack off.” I gave it my all. I played hard. I knew when I was giving it my all and when I was not. The coach could tell, too. I would miss blocking assignments or a tackle.  

Micah is now addressing the people again after God has spoken. Here he is showing us that we will always face opposition. The enemies of Israel gave their all against them but failed. The word “all” means whole or complete. In other words, they were all in. But they found out their might was no match for the might of God.  

APPPLICATION 

Are you giving your all to Him today? I am not asking if you are working non-stop for Jesus without taking any breaths. No, I mean are you all in? Does Jesus have all of you? So many of us think we can just say a prayer and go about our business as if nothing has happened. That is not the case. 

I promise you that the enemies of the cross are all in after us. They are giving it their all to try to bring us down. But their “all” is no match for us if we are all in for Christ. It is His power that will defeat them, not our power. I can make you another promise. Christ is all in for you. 

Look at what He did for you. He died a horrible death on the cross for your salvation. You cannot get much more “all in” than that. His love for you cost Him everything. He gave His life to ransom your soul. He deserves your all. Give it to Him today. 

All to Jesus, I surrender. All to Him I freely give. 

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BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE 

MICAH 5:9 

“Your hand will be lifted up against your adversaries, and all your enemies will be eliminated.” 

The title today is a saying I have heard all my life. Do you recognize it? Picture a tight squeeze that will not let up. You feel pressed from all sides. There is no relief. You do not know how much longer you can go on. Your body is crying out for the pressure to ease up. 

That is the word used here today for “adversaries.” In the Hebrew it means a tight squeeze. In other words, that is the feeling you get when you face adversaries. Of course, Micah tells the people here that their hands will be raised up against those adversaries and they will eliminate or destroy them. Whew! Relief! 

APPLICATION 

I am reminded of 1 Peter 5:8. “Be of sober spirit, keep on the alert, for your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.” This adversary is relentless. He never gives up. He is relentless in his pursuit of us. He wants to destroy us. 

I was sharing with a dear brother recently that very fact. He was very aware of it and had been feeling the teeth of this ravaging spirit. Our defense? The Word of God, just like Jesus. We must answer the devil charge after charge with the Word. It is our Sword of the Spirit. 

Most days I am successful at warding off this adversary. I am prayed up and read up. But there are other days when I let my guard down for just a milli-second. In He swoops with fangs exposed going for my jugular. That Is why we all must be of sober spirit and on the alert. We do have victory over our adversaries when we are clinging to Jesus. 

O God, my Savior, I cling to You. I know only through You can I walk in victory each day. 

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UNDER SIEGE

MICAH 5:1

“Now muster yourselves in troops, daughter of troops; they have laid siege against us; with a rod they will strike the judge of Israel on the cheek.”

I recently read this great book by David Hosaflook about Marin Barleti’s first-hand account of the siege of Shkodra. It was a detailed description of the horrors of the siege. The assault on that city was a terrible loss of life and property. Reading about the way, however, the people of Shkodra fought was inspiring.

Now, the Lord tells the people that the siege is coming. They knew about sieges. They had faced them before. They could only imagine how bad it would get, but this was their own doing. They had dishonored their God and had to face the consequences.

APPLICATION

Sometimes in our lives we feel we are under siege. It seems the whole world has gathered its forces against us and is battering down the front door. Bills pile up. The car breaks down. Your child gets suspended from school. I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

In times like these, we must do as the Lord told the people – we must muster our troops. What does that mean? We look to our commander. No troops are effective without a leader. We have one in Jesus Christ. He knows the best defense. He knows the best offense. He will guide us through these hard times, if we will let Him.

I have gone through my share of hard times, some harder than others. I have not always looked to my commander. At times, I have tried to muster my own troops and lead myself. That usually ended with another defeat. But when I looked to Jesus and rested in Him, I got through that battle. You can too if you will just look to Him.

I am grateful for Your Son, Jesus, leading me in my hardest times. He is forever faithful.

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GOD’S TOOLS

MICAH 4:12

“‘But they do not know the thoughts of the LORD, and they do not understand His plan; for He has gathered them like sheaves to the threshing floor.’”

I am reminded of the illustration of how God can use anyone. There was an elderly widow who had a very mean and ungodly landlord. He would often ridicule her faith and spurred any witness the widow gave. One day he overheard her praying to the Lord for groceries, as she was short on food. He said to himself that he would go buy her groceries, put them at her door and when she found them and praised her God (as he knew she would), he would swoop in and tell her off.

Well, it happened that way. She opened her door, found the groceries and immediately started praising God. The landlord came from around the corner and said, “Hah, your God didn’t give you those, I did. Hah!” The widow looked at him with tears in her eyes and said, “Oh yes, He did. He just used the devil to do it.”

You see the pagan nations around Israel thought they were doing as they pleased against Israel. They did not realize they were only being used by God to execute judgment against them. God would (and did) judge them also for their pride and contempt against His people. The phase about the sheaves is interesting. You see, it does not matter the number of sheaves that must be harvested because in the end, they must all be cut down. So must the enemies of Israel.

APPLICATION

When we see the wicked triumph over good, just remember God’s principles have not changed. He will still judge the wicked. We may not live to see it done, but it will happen. They just think they are getting away with it now. One day, they will face Him and have to answer for their unbelief and wicked ways. It is not our place to judge them.

Now, to be honest, that is hard for me. When I see people live in such wicked, ungodly ways, I want to call them out. I must confess any wrong motives about that to the Lord. I do not have the right to judge anyone. I know that, but sometimes my spirit gets offended at their actions.

Instead, I need to act more like Jesus. He knew the actions of the Pharisees and Sadducees was abhorrent to His Father. He knew their motives and their very thoughts. Yet, He still came to die for them as well. He loved them as much as they let Him. We should do the same. Will you choose to love someone today who truly needs a Savior?

O Lord, it is hard to love some people. Help me love them with Your love.

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NO MORE WAR

MICAH 4:3

“And He will judge between many peoples and render decisions for mighty, distant nations. Then they will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation will not lift a sword against nation, and never again will they train for war.”

As I write this blog, war is still raging in Ukraine. When that will end is anyone’s guess. Through the ministry I am a part of, Trans World Radio (TWR), I know of believers on both sides of this war. Many have lost their homes and livelihoods and are struggling. It is heart-breaking to see the destruction of some beautiful cities and villages, not to mention the loss of life.

Micah prophesies, however, that one day there will be no more war. We have all heard this verse quoted over the years. Swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks. I love that last phrase – “nation will not lift a sword against nation, and never again will they train for war.” Just think of the billions of dollars that could be redirected towards healthcare, food and clean water. This will be an amazing sight to behold.

APPLICATION

You are probably thinking, Sure, that sounds great, Carl, but we will never see that in our lifetime. You never know. I believe the Lord’s return for His church is imminent. With that event, the end-time clock speeds up – rapture, tribulation years (yes, I am a pre-trib guy), thousand-year reign and then the second coming of Christ.

How do we play a part in this? How about not making war with your neighbors? How about not looking at someone as if they are beneath you? How about extending the olive branch of peace towards someone who has harmed you? We can all help with these things. Peace begins with us.

I am personally not at war with anyone. I do, however, show my prejudices at times, politics and sports, to name a couple. I have to make sure I am not showing myself to others. I need to be showing Jesus at all times. Only He can make the change happen in others.

Lord, we await the day when there will be no more war

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THE ENEMY APPROACHES

MICAH 1:15

“Moreover, I will bring on you the one who takes possession, you inhabitant of Mareshah. The glory of Israel will enter Adullam.”

In times of distress the enemy will attack. I just woke up to discover a dear brother in the ministry lost his sweet, precious wife last night. She died suddenly, leaving a gapping hole in my brother’s chest. We are praying for him, but most especially praying protection over him from the enemy’s attack. We know Satan loves to attack us when we are down.

Assyria was attacking Israel and Judah. “The one who takes possession” refers to the enemy invader. God was allowing the enemy to attack in order to judge His chosen people. He was striving to bring them back to Him, even if it meant severe judgment. But God had not broken His covenant with them. Israel (all 12 tribes) was still His child.

APPLICATION

Our spiritual enemy is powerful and very well armed. He loves to catch us unawares and unprotected. Sudden losses in our lives can shatter us emotionally. When we are in these places, the devil will whisper in our ears that God does not love us, that He does not care about us. Do not believe those lies.

That is why it is so important to cover yourself in God’s Word. Only His Word can get you through those times. This morning, the first passage that came to my mind was 2 Corinthians 1:3-5.

3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.”

My dear brother will be okay. He will get through this. Why? Because I know he loves Jesus and loves His Word which is filled with the promises of God. He knows the Father loves him dearly. He may not understand why He took his bride home now, but he will – eventually. Be on guard my brothers and sisters.

Lord, thank You for Your promises. I know they never fail.

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A LARGE PLACE

JONAH 3:3

“So Jonah got up and went to Nineveh according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk.”

I’ve been to some big cities – New York City, London, Nairobi, Minneapolis. I could go on. Fortunately, I did not have to walk to them. I had a car or another mode of transportation. But you know, I seldom thought about how big those cities were or too much about all the thousands of people in them who needed to hear about Jesus. I usually was on a mission to get something accomplished and didn’t want someone or something to slow me down. I repent of that. That was wrong.

Jonah was now going to Nineveh, that “exceedingly large city.” It was known for its greatness. Even though it was physically great, it was spiritually weak. The gods the Ninevites worshipped were not gods at all. We know that. Jonah knew that. And he was sent to tell them that.

APPLICATION

Now, let’s think about this for a second. Jonah was sent into enemy territory, to one of their greatest cities, and was told to tell them to repent. He probably expected laughter, at the very least. Jonah may have expected to be arrested and perhaps even killed. Why shouldn’t he expect that? No one likes to be told they are sinners.

But Jonah responded in the positive as fast as he had responded in the negative. He “got up and went” as compared to “got up to flee.” He was ready now to deliver God’s message no matter the cost. How about you? Are you willing to risk it all for Jesus? He may call on you to do just that.

I am finally at a point in my life where I really don’t care if people think I am a little crazy about Jesus. I have seen some amazing things in the past few years which have required me to reexamine how I see the Spirit moving. Living that out may put me at odds with some people. That’s okay, as long as I am true to my Savior’s calling. Will you do the same?

Father God, give me a Nineveh! Show me where you want me to be used.

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REVELRY

OBADIAH 16

“For just as you drank on My holy mountain, all the nations will drink continually. They will drink to the last drop and become as if they had never existed.”

Just recently the Kansas Jayhawks won the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship over the UNC Tarheels. Lawrence, Kansas is the home of the Jayhawks. That town went wild celebrating the win. You could describe their celebration as revelry, noisy partying and merrymaking.

This was the scene in Israel when they were overthrown. Their enemies, including Edom, drank and drank, celebrating Israel’s defeat. But God warns them in that last phrase that they too would cease to exist. He said they would, “become as if they had never existed.” All this was because they had sided against their brother.

APPLICATION

There is absolutely nothing wrong with celebrating, even partying, if it is not at someone else’s expense. Carl, I would never do that. Oh yeah? Let someone you don’t “care for” get caught doing something bad. Do you celebrate their punishment? Shouldn’t we instead want to try to help them?

This world is full of sinners. Some of them will seek to do us harm or take advantage of us. What would Jesus do if someone did Him wrong? Oh wait, they did. What did He do? He was humble and meek. He never sought to get even (and He could have). He saw their sin and hated it, but He loved the sinner.

Don’t be an Edomite. Don’t revel at someone else’s downfall. What a perfect time to witness to them. When someone is suffering, they are usually open to our comfort from the Lord. Use this opportunity to reach out to them and show them Jesus’ love. You just might see them respond in a way you never dreamed of.

Lord, I ask You to forgive me for reveling in my enemy’s downfall. Help me to reach out to them with the hands of Jesus.

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