“Now Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel. So David said to Joab and to the leaders of the people, “Go, number Israel from Beersheba to Dan, and bring the number of them to me that I may know it.” And Joab answered, “May the Lord make His people a hundred times more than they are. But, my Lord the king, are they not all my Lord’s servants? Why then does my Lord require this thing? Why should he be a cause of guilt in Israel?” Nevertheless the king’s word prevailed against Joab. Therefore Joab departed and went throughout all Israel and came to Jerusalem.”
I Chronicles 21:1-4 NKJV
The life of the believer in Jesus Christ is one filled with opposition, oppression from our enemy, the devil. Because we belong to the Lord and are sealed by the Holy Spirit, there is a limit to what the evil one can do to us.
God protects us from a direct assault, but He will allow indirect attacks on us, as He ordains as part of His plan. Even during the onslaught, we are never out of His hand.
In the time of testing, it is common to find oneself reacting to the oppression in fleshly ways, not consulting with the Lord.
As I work my way through I Chronicles chapter 21, I read about David’s great sin, when he numbered Israel. He was responding to oppression of the evil one, as a spirit of fear arose in Him, causing him to doubt the faithfulness of God.
The Lord had been with David through many battles. He had directed victory after victory, and would do it again. In that moment of doubt, planted by Satan, he sought to count up the number of fighting men, thus relying on his fleshly resources and not the power of God.
I can relate to this, as I have found myself made fearful, only to attempt to seek a remedy of my own. Rather than waiting and praying, I tried to figure it out myself, and usually made matters worse.
God has taught me to wait on the Lord, reminding me that He is sovereign over all things. I sit quietly, ignore the efforts of the enemy. Often I cease to pray for those in opposition at the direction of the Lord. I have witnessed God dealing with those who oppose me, often in frightening ways. God hates those who go after His people.
“Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.”
Romans 12:17-19 NKJV
Sadly, I have seen families demolished due to a lack of repentance.
Due to David’s sin, His people suffered, as the angel of the Lord, the reincarnate Christ, began destroying Jerusalem. By His grace, and according to His word, God’s relented from completely destroying the city.
When we, of the New Testament age, fail to remember to take God at His word, we don’t merely endanger cities, but we endanger the souls of those that Jesus came to save.
How we react is a witness to those who do not know the Lord.
We forget that God is sovereign, and ultimately in control. We forget all things, good and bad, are ordained by God, and have a purpose.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
Romans 8:28 NKJV
We find ourselves focused on the face of the opposition and having a knee jerk reaction that does not glorify God. Often the efforts of those in opposition are designed to expose chinks in the spiritual armor of the believer.
The devil knows that weapons made of flesh and blood are far more effective than any weapon made of steel. We humans know where the weaknesses are, which buttons to push.
In those moments of opposition, we must always remember that we are dealing with people, often lost souls needing Jesus.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
Ephesians 6:12 NKJV
How do we cope?
We shore up the armor that the Lord has given us. He has given us everything we need. All too often we neglect to put it on, or we misapply it, leaving gaps that the evil one can exploit.
“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 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, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—”
Ephesians 6:13-18 NKJV
By arming ourselves in the Spirit, we can avoid those knee jerk reactions that can cause us to sin against God and inhibit the spreading of the saving message of the Gospel.
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