Tuesday, August 1, 2023

 God’s Timing and Purposes – Ecc. 3:1-8

Part 19

Pastor Vicky Moots
Kingman, Kansas

Ecc. 3:8c: “…a time of war…”  No one likes the idea of war, but if you are under attack, you must be prepared to fight back.  We are spiritually under attack, as declared by Peter in I Pet. 5:8: “Be sober, be vigilant [alert and watchful]; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith…” So how do we resist him? We must be watchful and aware of his tactics and be skillful in the use of our weapon of defense.

In the natural, soldiers are put through rigorous Basic Training (boot camp) in order to prepare them for all elements of service, both physical and mental.  They must learn discipline and are taught to obey orders without hesitation or question. They are also strengthened physically through hardships and given weapons training, as well as being taught how to recognize the enemy and his tactics.

Spiritually we also need similar training and preparation for battle.  Our trials help to strengthen us for warfare, as Paul tells Timothy in II Tim. 2:3-4: “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.  No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”

Satan, our enemy, tries to cause us to take our eyes off of the Lord and to become entangled (trapped) with earthly affairs and the problems of this world.  This is not pleasing to the Lord, for we have not been called to fight this world’s battles, or to try to solve its problems.  This is spiritual warfare; we are not fighting people.

If the enemy you are fighting has a pulse, you are fighting the wrong enemy.  Paul declares to us in Eph. 6:12 who the real enemy is: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of the world, against spiritual wickedness in high [heavenly] places.”

Paul is referring to Satan and all his evil forces, demonic powers and principalities, not to world leaders, for this is not an earthly battle, as Paul makes clear to us in II Cor. 10:3: “For though we walk in the flesh [the natural body], we do not war after the flesh.”  We do not fight flesh and blood.

Therefore, Paul further instructs us in verses 4-5 that for spiritual warfare we must submit ourselves to the authority of our spiritual Commander-In-Chief and use spiritual, not natural weapons: “(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal [fleshly], but mighty through God to the pulling down [total demolition] of strong holds;) Casting down [smashing down] imaginations [reasonings], and every high [prideful] thing that exhalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”

We must take our own thoughts and reasonings captive, as prisoners of war, to be under the control of Christ.  Too often we try to fight Satan with our own words, but they are ineffective weapons and have no power against him. We must fight this war with an approved weapon that has already been put to the test.

The only weapon that has been issued to us for spiritual warfare is “the sword of Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Eph. 6:17).  Jesus Himself was able to overcome Satan with that same weapon when He was tempted by him in the wilderness.  We read of this in Matt. 4:1-11.  Satan attacked Jesus when He was in a weakened state from fasting, and tempted Him in three separate areas.  Each time, Jesus responded, “It is written,” and quoted a scripture in counter attack, thus using the sword of the Spirit. Verse 11 then reveals to us the victor of this battle: “Then the devil leaveth him…”

Our tactic for victory is the same: “Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). After first submitting ourselves to God’s authority, we are then commanded to resist the devil.  We can only do that by wielding the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, just as Jesus did. Heb. 4:12 declares that there is no greater weapon, no sharper sword, than that: “For the word of God is quick [living], and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword…”

In addition to our weapon, we have been issued our protective gear called the armor of God, complete with helmet and combat boots. This is described in detail by Paul in Eph. 6:13-17, and we are expected to suit up with it every day upon arising: “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Eph. 6:11).

We are currently on active combat duty for it is “a time of war.” Are you ready for action? Be sure to clean and polish your weapon every day and become familiar with its use, and “…take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Eph. 6:13).