As the time of Christ’s return draws near, the devil is going to open up the floodgates of hell against God’s people. We see this happening already within the walls of the church, as Satan has infiltrated God’s house with subtle lies and false doctrines. Multitudes of deceptions and heresies are swirling through the church, and undiscerning Christians are swallowing it all.
How will believers be able to stand in such times? The Lord answers this question by promising to take on the problems himself. “You must not fear them, for the Lord your God Himself fights for you” (Deuteronomy 3:22). Our Father assures us, “Don’t be afraid! I’m going to take this matter into my own hands and I will empower you against every onslaught of the enemy.”
We can learn how to do battle with the enemy by going to the Old Testament and witnessing the lessons of godliness recorded there. One of the first lessons we draw from the Old Testament is just how safe a child of God is when he trusts in the blood. On the night of Passover, not a single Israelite was in danger from the death angel who swept through Egypt. Every man, woman and child of God rested safely and securely under the blood covering that was spread on the doorposts of their homes. “Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt” (Exodus 12:13).
This picture of safety in the Old Testament represents the protective power of our Lord’s blood over his children today. As Christians, we are to be a believing, trusting people who have the blood of Christ sprinkled on the doorposts of our hearts.
Even though we have been saved and secured by Christ’s blood, we are still engaged in a battle with overwhelming principalities, satanic powers and demonic strongholds. We are to claim the power that is available to us through God’s New Covenant — but that power comes only by faith!
Some believers — even ministers — believe the Old Testament is not relevant to our times so there’s no need to study it anymore. How wrong they are! The Old Testament explains the New Testament in clear, simple terms. Its stories are full of types and shadows of eternal truths, played out in the practical lives of real people.
A perfect example can be found in Israel, a type of Christian, while Egypt represents the world. Israel’s journey through the wilderness represents our spiritual walk as Christians. The tree that healed the bitter waters at Marah is a type of the cross of Christ (see Exodus 15:23-25) and the rock that produced water in the desert (see Numbers 20:11) is a type of our Savior, who was smitten on the cross.
Indeed, Scripture makes it clear that all of Israel’s physical battles mirror our spiritual battles today: “All these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Corinthians 10:11). Even the tabernacle and its furniture are examples of heavenly things: “Who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, ‘See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain’” (Hebrews 8:5).
Whenever you don’t understand a truth in the New Testament, you can turn to the Old Testament to find it illustrated in some way. For example, let’s say you wanted to learn how to bring down any spiritual walls the devil may have built up in your life. You could turn to the story of Joshua to see how the walls of Jericho were brought down (read the account in Joshua 6). Likewise, if you wanted to learn more about prevailing in prayer, read the story of Jacob wrestling with the the Lord in Genesis 32:24-29.
All these Old Testament examples are meant to keep us from falling into unbelief, as Israel did. The author of Hebrews writes, “Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience” (4:11). In other words, “Study the Old Testament and learn from Israel’s example. Don’t make the same mistakes they did!”
The apostle Paul accomplished incredible things for the cause of Christ. He oversaw churches throughout Asia and some parts of Europe while also serving as an evangelist and apologist. A true scholar, he made the case for Christ before courts and kings.
Paul was determined to take the gospel of Christ to the very epicenter of the world — Rome — and in Acts 27 we read about his journey to Italy. In this journey, he and his shipmates met severe resistance: “The winds were against us” (Acts 27:4). This was an obstacle of nature, but Paul might easily have seen it as a spiritual roadblock.
Paul’s ship eventually crashed onto the rocks, shattering into pieces, but he barely blinked when disaster came. He encouraged his men, “There will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul’ … Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me’” (Acts 27:22-24).
Paul had endured many tribulations to that point, and he was able to endure it all because his mind was always set on his mission: living, preaching and serving Christ. Every Christian is called to proclaim the grace of God to a fallen, sinful world. We are to minister to the poor, to love one another, and to worship together in true gospel community. In short, we are called to deliver God’s love to others through our words and actions so that the world might be changed. In doing all these things we bring the light of Christ to a world in darkness.
Christians who choose to sit on the sidelines of faith — going to church for comfort only — won’t get much resistance from the enemy. But if you are a believer who is determined to live for Jesus and you have a gospel vision for the lost and hurting, you will have Satan’s arsenal unleashed on you.
Paul never took his eyes off his calling, which was Christ. That’s why he was so calm throughout the storm. Be encouraged to follow the voice of the Master! He is in control and will never steer you in the wrong direction.
Jesus once said, “The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but I have come that you might have life and that you might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
A conflict is raging, a war in the heavenlies, and people who live in godlessness unwittingly become pawns of it. Their hearts are opened to darkness and they begin to move their hand against what they know is dearest to the heart of God.
In the book of Esther, a man called Haman worked his way up in government to second in authority. He wanted everybody to bow to his view of what society should look like. However, a certain people group refused to bend to ungodliness. This group was represented by one man at the gate named Mordecai, a devout follower of God. Haman became inflamed against Mordecai and all the Jews he represented, and he persuaded the king to pass laws with the ultimate goal of eradicating these people from the society.
In other words, Haman did what leaders right back to the devil himself have always tried to do — pass laws to threaten, harm, and marginalize the people of God in their day; to say, “We as a society with our new order are better off without these people.”
So what is God’s response to this? The apostle Paul said in the book of Corinthians that God takes the weak, and the foolish, and the things that are not to bring to nothing the things that stand in their own wisdom and strength (see 1 Corinthians 1:26-28).
In this case, God providentially placed a young Jewish girl named Esther in the king’s palace. When God called her to go in and make intercession for her people, Esther was unsure of her position with the king since he had not called her into his presence for thirty days. But despite her misgivings, she knew that she was still the bride of the king! She determined that no matter what it cost her, she would use whatever influence she had in order to save her people. God gave her favor and what the enemy meant for harm, God turned around for good.
Just as Esther, you have more power than you realize. You are not just a sideline player in a society that is plunging into darkness. You are the Bride of the King — the ultimate authority. Hallelujah!
Carter Conlon joined the pastoral staff of Times Square Church in 1994 at the invitation of the founding pastor, David Wilkerson, and was appointed Senior Pastor in 2001.
God speaks to his people by his Spirit and he makes his voice clear to us: “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’ Whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left” (Isaiah 30:21).
Some people ask, “How can I hear his voice?” The voice of God’s Spirit comes to us primarily through scriptures. But before we can hear his voice of direction, God requires something of us. We must stand still and wait upon him to act. This is not a suggestion, but a commandment. And it is the secret to our total victory and deliverance. On many occasions the Lord commanded his people to stand still.
After Samuel anointed Saul as king, at one point he said to him, “Stand still here awhile, that I may announce to you the word of God” (1 Samuel 9:27). Samuel was saying, “Saul, I’ve just anointed you and already your mind is racing. You’re thinking, ‘What is God doing? How can I know his voice, his will?’ Stop striving, Saul. Do you want to hear from God and get his direction? Then stand still and listen.”
We see another instance of waiting on the Lord for direction in King Jehoshaphat. Judah was being invaded by a coalition of mighty armies and Scripture says, “Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah” (2 Chronicles 20:3). The people began to cry out to God. There is nothing wrong with being afraid; in fact, God is longsuffering toward us and does not hold our fear against us.
“Then the Spirit of the Lord came … in the midst of the assembly” (20:14). Here is what the Spirit commanded: “Do not be afraid nor dismayed … for the battle is not yours, but God’s … You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you” (20:15-17).
We may fail in our discernment, our hearing, our decisions. But we can rejoice in our God, who is our strength! He will make us to walk in the right way. It is all his work. And we must simply yield, stand still and see his salvation!