Did you start a project, enter a relationship, or embark on a mission upon God direct instructions and vivid directives, only to count losses and multiply casualties day after day?
Have you ever heard God so Loud and Clear to embark on a quest, begin a journey, and fight a battle in His name, yet your experience on the journey is as though God was never involved at all, you are all alone, and it seems you are in constant defeat?
Were you so sure about a vision, a cause, a business, and a mandate from the Lord, but your present circumstances, and spin of events around you is making you to think it was all a Spiritual SCAM or an ERROR of Judgment?
Before you quit, WAIT!
Lately, I was in this shambles of bewilderment for months, while torrents of despair engulf my soul, and my spirit was greatly tormented. Until, my eyes of understanding was enlightened, and wisdom penetrated my soul through the WORD of the Lord.
God said, Son, “STOP losing my battles”.
Not often, but every once in a while, God brings us to a major boiling and turning point— a great crossroads in our life. From that point we either go toward a more and more slow, lazy, and useless Christian life, or we become more and more on fire, giving our utmost for His highest— our best for His glory.
God, through the Holy Spirit expressed clearly to me that, realising victory He already decided for me in every battle, depends on me, not God. That is to say, it is not just enough to have Divine advantages and privileges, to win every battle of life experientially, there are obligations precedence to such victory which MUST not be neglected, otherwise, the grace and the power of God becomes of no effect, and casualties and losses are multiplied; of which you shall be responsible, but not God
Let us illustrate together the account and experiences of the Israelite in Judges 20:1-48, as they marched out into battle against the Benjamites as INSTRUCTED and COMMANDED by the Lord. Please TAKE TIME to read this interesting story. It is written for us as a treasure of wisdom.
Also, please it is critical to pay close attention to this thread at this point as we breakdown their experience into divine wisdom for victory in our own experiences.
It is noteworthy that the Israelites were wired for victory as they marched out into the Lord’s battle, but on the contrary, their immediate experiences were that of losses and serial defeats, in spite of their position of advantage.
A quick highlights of the Israelites advantages over the enemy:
- The Israelite took the first crucial step by seeking the will of the Lord concerning the battle, and went out into the battle upon God instructions. They were not presumptuous, but they ensured to secure Divine approval and support
“…they inquired of the Lord. They said, “Shall we go up again to fight against the Benjamites, our fellow Israelites?” The Lord answered, “Go up against them.” Judges 20:24
- The Israelite prepared adequately for the battle, and selected choice and valiant men to fight, and excessively outnumbered the enemy. They did not only have Divine advantage, they also had physical and psychological advantage. They outnumber the enemy 14 -1.
“At once the Benjamites mobilized twenty-six thousand swordsmen from their towns, in addition to seven hundred able young men from those living in Gibeah. Israel, apart from Benjamin, mustered four hundred thousand swordsmen, all of them fit for battle.”
- The presence of the Lord was with the Israelites boldly and bodily. They had God on their side, the ark and the priests were present; together with a divine marching order. GO!
“(In those days the ark of the covenant of God was there, with Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, ministering before it.)”
- Lastly, they had the capacity for discernment, privileges of divine guidance, aptitude and the access to divine strategies. This was apparent in their frequent dash into the Lord’s presence each time they ran into trouble.
Brethren, REGARDLESS of all these advantages and great strengths, the enemy, two times inflicted great casualties on the people of God, the ones fighting on the Lord’s side, the people backed by God and graced with divine presence boldly and bodily. The first day, the Benjamites came out and cut down twenty-two thousand (22,000) Israelites on the battlefield that day, v21. The second day, the Benjamites cut down another eighteen thousand (18,000) Israelites, all of them armed with swords, v 24
It was a rude shock to me, just as it was to the Israelites that the enemy, though insignificant in size and strength ravaged the Lord’s Army and inflicted so a great casualty and losses, so much so that the entire assembly were in great tears and many weeping relentlessly.
Just like you, and even me, you made sure you sought the Lord’s will, and did not launch out before you heard from him. You made sure you prepared, laboured, left your comforts behind, gave up rights and privileges and enlisted to fight the Lord’s battle and follow his will for your life. Yet, you are currently being inflicted and apparently counting losses.
“ But the Israelites encouraged one another and again took up their positions where they had stationed themselves the first day. The Israelites went up and wept before the Lord until evening, and they inquired of the Lord. They said, “Shall we go up again to fight against the Benjamites, our fellow Israelites?” The Lord answered, “Go up against them.”” V 23
Notably, each time they go back to God in tears and weeping, God kept saying to them Go again and again. This is startling and shocking. God kept saying the same thing, they kept having the same results of failure.
Something definitely is not right about their approach, I mused.
What then maybe wrong?
- STOP asking RHETORICAL Questions
God does not respond to rhetorical questions, especially questions of doubts and faithlessness triggered by lack of understanding. The bible says “God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God” Psalm 62:11
Whenever God as spoken on a matter, He will keep responding with the same answer each time you ask Him questions over the same issue. The Israelites should have engaged God further on His instructions to get understanding, instead of asking God over again if they should Go or not.
Wisdom [knowing what to do] is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding [knowing how to do it].
Apparently, their groaning was devoid of understanding, and their tears a flow of sentiment. Tears block the every sense of reason, and blinds the eyes of understanding.
I found it disturbing to know that God will not give you answers beyond what you ask Him and can comprehend per time, despite the fact that there is more He can tell you or he may want to say.
Maybe, you too, have been weeping before the Lord all day, groaning, and asking God rhetorical questions. Stop, Weep no further, but rather begin to engage God on His instructions to you until you secure understanding, techniques, and further details of your engagement.
Our battles are first won or lost in the secret places of our will in God’s presence, never in full view of the world. The Spirit of God seizes me and I am compelled to get alone with God and fight the battle before Him. Until I do this, I will lose every time.
DO NOT wait until you get into difficult circumstances before you make a dash into the presence of God for help. It is not just enough to rush to the presence of God only when we have issues or have need of specific instructions. Trying to do that will not work.
You must first get the issue settled between God and yourself in the secret places of the soul, where no one else can interfere. Then you can go ahead, knowing with certainty that the battle is won. Lose it there, and calamity, disaster, and defeat before the world are as sure as the laws of God.
- STOP offering God UNREASONABLE Service!
As we continue the gleanings of wisdom for effective spiritual warfare from the narrative of the Israelites in battle against God’s enemy recorded in Judges 20, let us point out that, many of God’s children today render reckless, unpleasant, and unreasonable services to God to their own detriment.
As we shall discover subsequently, the children of Israel invested so much time, efforts and resources in the battle in the Lord’s name but were faced with many losses because they neglected the fundamental principle of faith and the pillar of their relationship with God.
Great numbers of believers invest so much time, and sacrifice great energy and resources in the name of the Lord, but rather than being rewarded by God for such sacrifices, they are out rightly rejected God as offerings of negligence and recklessness; yet many do not know it.
Notably, it wasn’t until the Israelites sat down objectively before the Lord, and not in mere emotional outburst nor further reckless adventure, that they could see things differently.
“Then all the Israelites, the whole army, went up to Bethel, and there they SAT weeping before the Lord. They fasted that day until evening and presented burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to the Lord”
At first, they were not broken by their initial losses and casualties. The bible says instead of being sober, they urged and encouraged themselves on thoughtlessly, and “went up” to emotionally challenge God with accusation of their losses by weeping. They sought to blackmail God with tears while being blinded to their errors. Judges 20:22
God CANNOT be blackmailed!
In spiritual warfare, God operates by principles of faith and obedience, and not moved by emotions or consequences caused by negligence or disobedience.
God will NEVER sacrifice His principles on the altar of our emotions, regardless of how much our outburst and tears; even in the days of trouble.
The Israelite continued to allow the enemy to multiply their casualties as a result of negligence and unconscious disobedience. They became victims of negligence, and got ensnared by vital kingdom principles that they have overlooked.
Their eyes became open to the pathway to experiencing victory, when they wiped away their tears, sat before the Lord in sobriety and in fasting, and began to observe the principles of their faith in God.
They saw their omissions and took corrective actions; the presentation of STATUTORY offerings for constant victory – burnt offerings and fellowship offerings – unto the Lord.
At this point, they gained understanding and were able to unlock divine strategies that brought the enemy into permanent destruction. As they launched out the following day, taking the same positions, they won landslide.
Now, what’s the trigger for their ultimate victory?
- Burnt Offering: (Leviticus 1) Amongst all the sacrifices commanded to be offered by God in the Old Testament, Burnt Offering is a PECULIAR and MANDATORY legislative offering required to activating the fire of Divine presence among God’s children.
I wonder how the Israelites would have defeated the enemy without the Fire Power that flows from a sustained presence of God. Yes, God said Go, but they ran into battle without the fire of His presence, and yet He is the consuming fire. How reckless? Little wonder their casualties were of no small measure.
Burnt offering is your complete expression of Worship and demonstration of total Dedication to the Lord, which must be offered every day; morning and evening. The differential factor of this offering was that it was WHOLLY consumed on the altar, unlike others which only the fat portions were burned.
Apostle Paul, called it your ONLY Reasonable Worship – Romans 12:1
Burnt offering was a MANDATORY sacrifice of the Israelites in proper covenant relationship with God and was the only sacrifice regularly appointed for the sanctuary service. That is, you are not qualified, or expected to render any form of service to the Lord if your burnt offering is not burning on the altar of Worship regularly. Rendering services to God without this statutory requirement is jeopardy; an unauthorised duty. Such triggers judgment. Nadab and Abihu, the two sons of Aaron became casualties of such recklessness, and consequently the Israelites suffered greatly for neglecting this Divine ordinance in our narratives.
Your SERVICE becomes an ABOMINATION to God, and a SETUP for CALAMITY if you DO NOT maintain a regular altar of worship upon which your life is Burnt daily unto God.
Is your life burning before God?
- Fellowship Offering:Relationship provides and establishes a doorway to fellowship. Therefore, sustaining your relationship with God through daily commitment to Christ – presenting your life to Him as a daily burnt offering – is the only foundation for fellowship.
Fellowship Offering (Leviticus 3, in the KJV the “peace offering”) is offered by those who were at peace with God, to express gratitude and obligation to God, and communion with Him. It is not mandatory or legislative in nature, and can be presented spontaneously as the feelings of the worshiper prompted (Lev 19:5), but it is a necessity to reap and enjoy the blessings and goodness of God.
In other words, Relationship is not just enough, and to unlock divine grace and privileges requires Fellowship.
It was practically impossible for the Israelites to unravel the strategies with which they defeated the enemy until they invested further in fellowship offerings; before then, God was speaking to them in riddles and monotones – Go, Yes, ok etc
From our narratives, when the Israelites offered unto God a burnt offering, thereby fulfilling their statutory responsibility for victory in the battle, and they inquired of the Lord, The Lord responded, “Go, for tomorrow I will give them into your hands” – God became very specific. Judges 20:28. But we later read from verse 29, about a twist of Strategy, “they set an ambush around Gibeah”, alongside their previous conventional positions.
Apparently, God became certain to the Israelites about the day of Victory because of the Burnt offering offered unto, and the Israelites were able to pull the ambush strategy off God as a result of the Fellowship offering as well.
In a state of peace, in the place of fellowship, and in that quiet disposition, God can communicate to us Divine Strategies, and reveal unto us mysteries. It will require a Sacrifice of fellowship to dig deeper into God’s mind.
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”
Investing further in a relationship engenders Fellowship i.e. intimacy, friendship and communion. God will not reveal His strategies to you and confide in you, if you are not a “fellow” in His “Ship” of purpose. i.e. if you do not share common interest.
“I no longer call you servants…instead I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my father I have made known to you.”
Insights and grace naturally flow from fellowship. No wonder God emphasized…..ABIDE IN ME…..for WITHOUT ME YE CAN DO NOTHING! John 15:5
In conclusion, the Israelites need to have added just two things to their zeal and readiness for the Lord. Which are a consecrated life, and insights on how to go into the battle for the Lord. Just as Paul wrote about the “For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge.” Romans 10:2
I and You can avoid further casualties in our services to God, if we learn from their mistakes, and by taking the recommendation of Scriptures in Romans 12:11 “Never be lacking in ZEAL, Fervent in Spirit, Serving the Lord”