Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Armor Up Part 2

The last 3 Sundays at our church here in Honduras, Impacto, the sermons have been from the book of Nehemiah.  I admit I haven't spent much time in the Old Testament, and knew nothing about this book.  After hearing these sermons I felt the Lord leading me to read and study Nehemiah to understand how it applies to our modern day walk and life. 

A couple posts back I wrote about the battle we are in, this spiritual battle that rages all around us.  Honduras is now the country at the top of the list for per capita murders and this past weekend was one of the bloodiest with 18 murders being reported in 36 hours here in Tegucigalpa.  There were so many bodies that the morgue couldn't handle the number of family members that were arriving to identify their dead.  Theories abound about the reasons for the dramatic rise in violent crime here, but the bottom line is that satan and his demons are alive and well and hell bent on destruction.  If we, the people of God, allow ourselves to become paralyzed by fear of the current situation, then we will be rendered ineffective and the battle will be lost.

We are, however, told repeatedly in scripture to "fear not"...Psalm 3:6; Psalm 27:3; Psalm 92:5; Isaiah 35:4; Isaiah 41:10; and Isaiah 41:13 are just a few that teach us to put our trust in the Lord and not to let fear rule our lives.  I'm not saying it's easy, there are times I get really freaked out!  Knowing that someone was killed every 2 hours this last weekend is a bit unnerving.  But I try to keep my eyes turned toward Jesus and keep putting one foot in front of the other doing the work He has given us to do.

So, back to Nehemiah.  Chapter 4 is amazing and is an incredible parallel of the fight we are in.  Sanballat and Tobiah were pretty rude to Nehemiah and the people rebuilding the wall.  They were furious, indignant, and mocking, saying that even a fox would be able to break whatever they built.  Nehemiah believed that any assault on the people of God was an assault directly against God, but instead of responding to their opponents he prayed that the Lord would bring judgement on them. 

The workers continued to build the wall which made their enemies even more angry and they began to plot against them.  Again, Nehemiah did not confront them, but organized the workers so that they would have a defense against their attackers and prayed for the Lord to protect them. 

The never ending attacks of their enemies begin to take a toll and some of the workers become discouraged.  Their adversaries began a "whispering campaign" amoung the jewish people to stop the building of the wall.  Using fear as a weapon they attempt to use Jewish people against themselves.  But Nehemiah divided workers, half of them building the wall, the other half (including the leaders) holding spears, shields, and bows, wearing armor to defend the house of Judah. 

Nehemiah spoke to the nobles, rulers, and the other people saying "the work is great and extensive, and we are separated far from one another on the wall."  He instituted an alarm system so that if a portion of the wall was attacked all of the workers would hear the trumpet, go to the area being attacked, and engage in the battle.  "Our God will fight for us!"

See the parallel?  All around us are those that mock and sneer, what can we possibly accomplish, this little ministry here in Barrio Buenos Aries?  When one of our boys that we've poured so much energy into, like Axel or Marvincito, leaves to go back to the streets, we are taunted by the enemy - "they're mine, you'll never win", "whatever you build will be knocked down by just a fox."  The newspapers are the whispering campaign that we should give up and run and hide, fearing for our lives.

But the wall we are building is made of lives transformed by the Holy Spirit, lives like Juan Carlos and Wilmer.  Our spears, shields, bows, and armor are the armor of God - the breastplate of righteousness,  shoes of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 

Christian workers are separated all over the world, but when we send out prayer requests via e-mail, websites, and blogs, it's a modern day blowing of the trumpet.  You hear the trumpet and faithfully run (in prayer) to the area being attacked and engage in the battle.   

Nehemiah knew, and we must remember that the battle is ultimately the Lord's.  We already know how the war ends...He wins.  We just need to have faith and courage to fight in this battle wherever and however He instructs us.  Get your marching orders, armor up, and get in the fight.

3 comments:

kscarlett said...

Great words of encouragement, Natasha. Oswald says 'Worry always ends in sin. We imagine a little anxiety and worry are an indication of how really wise we are; it is much more an indication of how really wicked we are. Worrying springs from a determination to get our own way. Have you been bolstering up that stupid soul of yours with the idea that your circumstances are too much for God? All our worry is caused by calculating without God.
much love x

Natasha said...

kscarlett,

I love Oswald. Beatifully put. He will protect us until our work is done. And He's big enough to do that.

Anonymous said...

I so appreciate your wisdom and insight. I am praying for you all to be shielded with the full armor of God, and to be protected of the schemes of the devil (mentally, spiritually and physically). Thank you for the reminder that Jesus wins

- Jess O'donel

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