Psalm 78:61 reads: “God gave up His strength to captivity, and His glory to the hand of the adversary.”
Not really! Not possible!
Absolutely possible. In fact, it has been done. Where is the Lord’s strength? It is in Christ, and as far as His life in us is concerned, we have held Him hostage at times.
That isn’t meant to be a dramatic, emotional trailer, but it is a sobering consideration, to say the least. He breaks through all the time, and every day, every hour, every time we stand and are found standing, His is the glory. Even so, when we subvert to our fears and the fickleness of our hearts, He doesn’t elbow us out of the way and demand His own tactics. He does not accomplish His will by force or clever tricks. He could break away, of course, but He came to stay, and He is not among us as either a tyrant or a dominating lover, so as He abides and waits, He remains our Friend, Counselor, the Lover of our Souls, and yet He is a Warrior, more than we usually know or realize. If we will fight, He will prevail. If we prefer our lethargies and addictions, if we slumber and sink down into the dust, how can the Lord be glorified in the earth, as far as it has to do with us?
For each one, for every one of us who will rise up and shake off the shackles with which we have been bound, if we will cry out to Him that we may no longer live entangled in destruction, the cords and snares of death confronting us, He will arise in His strength. (Psalm 18:13-5 and 16-19) We have been told, “Be strong in Him and in His mighty power.” (Ephesians 6:1) We have been told, time and again, “Fear not … do not be afraid!” It is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom, and as for Israel of old, it is our glory to take the land. If we will, we shall have the milk and the honey, and rest from our enemies.
It does have to do with us, the Lord’s work in the earth. To our great and surpassing privilege, He has given us a part, He has made us to be a part of His plans and advances. When God speaks, there is the power of the deed. We can do anything He tells us to do. If only we would be more aware of all the places where the strong man in us (our flesh) has armored itself against change, against holiness (with holy responsibility,) against battle readiness.
The Lord always looks for readiness. He makes clear that the servant left in charge had best not say, “Oh, the Master delays His coming,” and start drinking and beating the other servants. (Luke 12:45)
The sons of Ephraim were archers, skilled men, but they turned back on the day of battle. The Psalmist tells of a rebellious generation that “did not prepare their hearts, whose spirits were not faithful to God.” As with so many things in this life, there is that part that is God’s to accomplish, and there is that part which He accomplishes through His Word, alive in us, prompting and fulfilling our obedience.
We ought to know, to discern, that without the preparation of our hearts, so much of all that we do is mere religious posturing. When we read the Word of God, when we worship, all must be mixed with faith. By faith we love the unlovely, we seek God with our whole heart, we worship in spirit and in truth, and we loose the bands of wickedness, we let the oppressed go free, we break every yoke. (Isaiah 58:6) See! Even the Lord’s fast is toward deliverance; purity of heart is not an end in itself. With preparedness, we will nock an arrow to the bow, draw without target panic, we will shoot, and hit the mark, when our hearts are ready.
We must prepare them, these hearts that can remain steadfast and immovable, or melt like wax. The Lord, the Mighty Warrior, the Great Shepherd, the King of kings, the True Vine, and the Captain of the Lord’s Host, is strong and mighty in battle. He is also one with His people, and He honors that Oneness. We must wake up, and rise up!
We have seen in our day that many in the media cannot, do not, understand the mind or the heart of the true warrior. Newscasters determine that a fallen soldier is reason never to go to war, or that a mission fails if a soldier falls. That soldier, and if he has married and strengthened his wife and family in accordance with his own battle ready soul, knows why he fights, why his life is forfeit to the truth. For him, in America, the truth of liberty and justice are paramount.
There are women warriors, too, at the battle field and on the field of spiritual battle, making themselves ready, preparing for war. Were more of us fighting hard in the spiritual realm, we might prevail against loss to a very great degree. At times, not one has been lost. Jesus prayed that none of His own would be lost, that though they must be in the world, they were not of the world, and He asked the Father that they would be kept from the evil one. (John 17:15-17) As He safeguarded the apostles in the face of His own death, let us in life safeguard those given to us to love. We must prepare our hearts, we must fight to win, and we must persevere in faith, hope, and love. We can do that, for we have been commanded, and as faithful servants, we obey.
Shake yourself from the dust, rise up, O captive Jerusalem; Loose yourself from the chains around your neck, O captive daughter of Zion.
Isaiah 52:2 … rise up with all those who will obey
He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the Lord was my support.
He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.
Psalm 18:16-19 … and pray for those in bonds of darkness and death