I’m not much of a fan of blatant spiritual warfare. At least, not the “sound the trumpets, cast the nasties out IN THE NAME OF JESUS, do I hear an amen?” kind of thing. The last time anyone tried that near us, Rowan’s new t-shirt got covered in anointing oil and was ruined. He was quite annoyed that it didn’t come out in the wash. We think it was Mazola. But anyway…I’ve really always done my warfare by standing and resisting. It makes more sense to me. Yes, there are times when we have to be a bit more hands on and actively chase something away. But I find that most of the time, we are on far firmer ground by being quietly confident in our God, and indeed, in knowing exactly where we are standing, rather than trying to claim any more territory.
When the Moabites and Ammonites sent a vast army against him, King Jehoshophat did not jump, contrary to popular belief, nor did he wonder what he had done to anger a bunch of old fossils, but he enquired of the Lord. God spoke by his Spirit through a chap called Jahaziel:
“This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’” (2 Chronicles 20: 15-17 NIV)
And of course, he was.
This is a pattern that we see over and over again in the Old Testament, and perhaps unsurprisingly, brilliant bible scholar Paul is also fond of the instruction to stand firm and let God do the fighting. Ephesians 6:13 is one of the best examples, leading into the wonderful description we all know of the armour of God:
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”
There have been times in intercession, where I have felt led to stamp my feet hard on the ground as I’ve prayed, and I felt the power in this. It is always Spirit-led, and feels almost like a Maori Haka, the pre-battle dance that is more associated these days with international rugby. But in prayer at least, it is a taking of a stance, it says, “this is the line in the sand, and you will not cross it.” I know it might all sound a bit Gandalf (You shall not pass!) but it really does feel of the kingdom. We do not flee, the devil does that, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4: 7 partial NIV). We stand our ground. We know our footing. We have built our house on rock, and we are going nowhere.
Sometimes, in spiritual warfare, we do need to slip away quietly from our enemies, as Jesus did to keep God’s timing right, or we might need him to find us an escape route. But, more often than not, we do not run in, like Peter did just that once, with swords drawn, we simply hold the ground on which we stand, and are all the stronger for it.
Text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt, photo from Pixabay