Monday, April 15, 2013

The Only Way Satan can Win

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Sunday, April 14, 2013:  Joshua 9:3-10:43

14 Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions; but they did not ask counsel of the Lord. 15 So Joshua made peace with them, and made a covenant with them to let them live; and the rulers of the congregation swore to them.  Joshua 9:14-15 (NKJV)

Israel had been commanded to make no covenant with the inhabitants of Canaan.  They were told to take the entire land, driving out the inhabitants, not allowing any to remain (Exodus 23:31-33).  Under the leadership of Joshua they set out taking one city after another.

This entire story is a reflection of our walk with God.  Just as the children of Israel were delivered from slavery in Egypt, so we were set free of the bondage of sin.  Just as Israel traveled toward their destiny in Canaan, so we enter a journey of obedience, testing, and faith.  Israel was promised a certain geographic territory which we call the Promised Land.  So, we too are called by God to enter  and possess the fulness of His plans for our lives and families.  Canaan is not symbolic of heaven.  It is symbolic of God's good plan for your life -- your territory.

In that sense, there are battles you must fight.  These are not battles for SURVIVAL, but for POSSESSION -- for territory that belongs to you.  There are parts of your life that remain unsubmitted to the Lordship of Jesus.  Satan still wants to attack you and harass you.  He wants to keep you out of the full territory Jesus has purchased for you.

In Joshua Chapter 9, we get glimpses at two strategies Satan uses against you.  The first is FRONTAL ATTACK.  The second is CRAFTY DECEPTION.

In Joshua 9:1-2, we read that six tribes (Hittite, Amorite, Canaanite, Perizzite, Hivite, and Jebusite) formed a coalition to fight Israel.  Here's what the Bible says about this alliance: "they gathered together to fight with Joshua and Israel with one accord" (Josh. 9:2).  At times is seems that the enemy tries to gang up on you.  There is a false kind of unity that takes place when groups that otherwise would be at each other's throats suddenly come together because they have a common enemy.  But this is A COALITION THAT CANNOT WIN.  The Bible says, "He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world" (I John 4:4).  It is not the FRONTAL ATTACK that usually defeats us.

A seventh tribe called the Gibeonites used a different strategy.  They are symbolic of the kind of attack that is the REAL WAR that many of us fight every day.  The Gibeonites knew that they had no future.  They had studied their Bibles enough to know that Israel was destined to win, but could not make a treaty with the inhabitants of the Land (Ex. 23:31-33).  Israel could only offer peace to "nearby cities" that were outside Canaan (Dt. 20:10-12).

The Gibeonites used cratiness and trickery.  They disguised themselves as strangers who had traveled a long way.  They even roughed up their clothes, carried moldy bread, and generally made themselves look like vagrants. 

Satan uses deceptive tactics in order to get you hooked.  Satan wants legal ground to stay put on YOUR TERRITORY.  He seeks to deceive you into making some kind of deal with him.  Satan knows that this is the only way he can win against us.  That is exactly what happened in the Garden of Eden, and it's what happened with Joshua and Israel.  It continues to happen today.  Satan comes as an angel of light (II Co. 11:14) appearing as one thing when all along he is really another.  Satan is a deceiver.

Why did Joshua and Israel fall for it?  Joshua 9:14 gives us the two reasons.  "Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions; but they did not ask counsel of the Lord."  First, they looked only at the outward appearance of things.  They took it all at face value.  Joshua trusted what he was told by the Gibeonites.  Second, and even more importantly, Joshua "did not ask counsel of the Lord."  He didn't pray about it.  He didn't stop long enough to hear what God might say about the arrangement.

I find this to be a pattern that happens far too often.  We are able to stand against Satan when it is a full frontal challenge.  We are at our best when it is "us against them."  But when Satan comes with his crafty deceptive strategies, even the best of people can make stupid decision, and get themselves into a mess that takes years to overcome.

Few people set out with the objective of living a COMPROMISED LIFE.  It is important for each of us to pray for DISCERNMENT to be able to see Satan's traps -- the deceptive ways he seeks to snare.  By the power of the Holy Spirit, we can see through the lies of the enemy, and go on to the advance of Christ's Kingdom in our lives.

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