Conflict; November 8, 2019


Isaiah 54:17 “No weapon forged against you will prevail,
and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
and this is their vindication from me,”
declares the Lord.

There are places in the Bible that seem to promise us lack of conflict, but I think there are linguistic issues with most of those. I’m no Hebrew scholar, but Japanese uses different words for “inner peace” and “lack of war.” From John 16:33 and many other passages, I feel God offers us inner peace even in the middle of all-out battle. However, as with so many of God’s promises, we have to receive it by faith, and that isn’t easy at times. This particular passage is for just such moments. We need to remember that regardless of our physical circumstances, we are secure in the love of God. (Romans 8:35-39) Whether the attacks are physical or spiritual, regardless of the short-term outcome, those attacks will utterly fail on the eternal scale against the child of God. That doesn’t mean we aren’t to be on our guard. Peter described the devil as a roaring lion, (1 Peter 5:8) and in Ephesians 6 Paul went into length in describing the armor and weapons that God has provided for us. We are indeed in a pitched battle, but we need to remember who ultimately wins. That is indeed the message of the Revelation to John. About 40 years ago there was a chorus that said, “We win, we win. Hallelujah, we win! I read the back of the book, and we win!” Peter and Paul were both martyred, but they were still glorious winners in Christ. We need to rest in the assurance that God is as powerful for us as He was for them.

I have had, and still have, conflicts of various sorts, but God has shown, and continues to show, Himself to be totally faithful and reliable. I’ve not been on a military battlefield (even though I was in the Army in 1970-72) but all sorts of weapons have been formed against me in many different ways. I have been shaken and wounded, but the ultimate outcome has been good. As a pastor I find that essentially everyone around me is in a battle of some sort. The most dangerous thing is when they don’t realize it, or when they’ve already given up. My job is to speak God’s truth to them in love, coming alongside them to listen and hold them up, extending my shield their direction to deflect some of what comes at them. I can’t protect them from everything, nor would it be good if I could. They need to learn to stand in Christ themselves, taking on His armor and wielding the Word and prayer as He intends, and I am to be their “drill instructor” to that end. I well remember my drill instructors in the Army, who had been through hell in Vietnam and sought to teach us how to survive under such circumstances. I am to proclaim God’s victory, and at the same time teach His people how to fight. I don’t have the wisdom to do that, but He does, and He can do it through me.

Father, thank You for this powerful reminder. This is another message I want to communicate to the believers! Help me know what You want said this coming Sunday so that I will be focused and not scattered, allowing Your Word to flow through me to accomplish that for which You send it, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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