Monday, June 26, 2006

489: The How's and Why's of the Battle

I started through Job a few days ago. Brent Gambrell was the first preacher that pointed out an interesting feature of the book to me: God set Job up. Satan shows up in Heaven, and God's the one who mentions Job. It wasn't Satan's idea to have Job undergo trials, it was God's. Being in Dr. Lawless's Spiritual Warfare class merely confirmed this truth: God is soverign over the battle. He determines its perameters, and in this fact is the good of His people. Satan cannot get to us outside of God's direction and allowance. The Accuser of our Brethren absolutely cannot win, because, he needs God's permission for anything. Genesis 50:20 states that God plans things for good, even things as bad as being sold into slavery.

I saw this in action today. I couldn't get to sleep until late last night, slightly after midnight, by my estimation. As I slept, I had a frightening and grotesque dream, a dream that I blame partly on my poor choice to play a zombie shoot-em-up game at the mall the other day. Anyway, when I awoke, or, as I was in the process of waking, I heard a growling noise, growling like a fierce dog about to attack. Again, I don't know if this was in the dream or if this was in my room, but in my mind (a clue to me that it might have been in the dream) I began calling out for Jesus to save me. After a few moments of calling for His aid, I was fully awake and the sound gone. Even more remarkably, I wasn't afraid. Concerned maybe, but far from terrified. It was about 12:27. I hadn't been asleep for long.

This evening I returned to the Muslim Club for badminton (in which I put the "bad"), dinner, and another English session. The last item never occured because we ran out of time for it, but as dinner was ending, my friend "Travis" turned to me and said that the conversation that was currently taking place amongst the Thais was about ghosts. "Sherry" said that as she slept, she felt a ghost come and sit on her. Another student said that his roommate claims to see ghosts in their room. "Travis" explained to me the Islamic doctrine of Satan.

As he talked, I prayed to God for guidance about what to say. My experience of the night beforee came to mind, so I told the story. I told Travis how Jesus power saved me, calmed my fears. I related to him how the Bible tells many stories of how Jesus drove out demons, and I told Travis that I did not think a mere man could do that. I said that I believed Jesus could do that because He was the Son of God.

He seemed to like the story, and I hope he understood it. As I left just over an hour ago, I thought about how God's allowance of the battle last night had been used that very day to (hopefully) testify to the greatness of His glory.

Spiritual warfare is part of out struggle as Christians. Dr. Lawless defines spiritual warfare as "to love Christ and to live and speak for Him in such a way that God is glorified and an already defeated Satan is threatened." If this is indeed spiritual warfare, may the battle rage, for that is indeed all it is, a battle.

This is no war, because the war has been won from eternity past. I was thinking the other day about the concept of military rebellions. Take the Irish Republican Army, for example. The IRA did a grand job of making life hell in Northern Ireland, but what they could not do is change the fact that they were fighting in Northern Island. The ground was contested, yes, but the ground was still in the British Empire. They could not change the fact that the soverign was still Queen Elizabeth. So it is with Satan and his demons. No matter what part of the cosmos they run too, no matter what hell they occupy, they are still where they have always been: right under the thumb of God, absolutely restricted by His greatness. Satan is no god; he is finite created being.

Enough theological musings for tonight, which it is in Thailand. I need to head back to my apartment for what I hope is a much better night's sleep. (Jesus did say to pray that we be delivered from evil.) I think that in closing though, for those who wish to be encouraged, I will leave with the English words of Martin Luther's great hymn, "A Might Fortress is Our God," a song in which I have received much strength over the weeks here. May you all be encouraged as well, or as Ephesians 6:10 says, "Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength."

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing.
Our helper He admist the flood, of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe, doth seek to work us woe.
His craft and power are great, and armed with cruel hate.
On earth is not his equal.

Should we in our own stength confide, our striving would be losing.
Were not the right Man on our side, the man of God's own choosing.
Doth ask who that may be? Christ Jesus it is He!
Lord Sabboath His name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world with devils filled, should threaten to undue us,
We will not fear for God hath willed, His truth to triumph through us.
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him.
His rage we can endure, for lo his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them abideth.
The Spirit and the gifts our ours, through Him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindreds go, this mortal life also,
The body they may kill, God's truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever!

Soli Deo Gloria.


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