This month, our meditation has been excerpted from the book entitled, Bound to Be Free compiled by Jan Pit. In the following short quotation from the Antonio Garrido (from Cuba, Antonio Garrido writes using a pseudonym), there is fodder for reflection and perhaps application:
And the Israelites enquired of the Lord. (In those days, the ark of the covenant of God was there, with Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, ministering before it.) They asked, "Shall we go up again to battle with Benjamin our brother, or not?" The Lord responded, "Go, for tomorrow I will give them into your hands." (Judges 20:27-28)
The story of Judges 20 is not that well known. The Benjaminites had committed a crime and the Israelites had to take revenge. Three times they asked God if they should punish the Benjaminites. Three times the Lord told them to do so.
Yet, the first two times they suffered defeat at the hands of the Benjaminites. After praying and fasting they tried a third time and this time they prevailed.
We Christians in Cuba, are not going to take revenge on those who have persecuted us and treated us so badly. Our suffering is spiritual, not carnal. But we too, often fell defeated, despite all God's promises.
The story of Judges teaches us a spiritual lesson. For the children of God there will always be new opportunities to defeat the enemy--Satan--when we keep trusting our Lord. We too often have been defeated, but it does not mean definite loss. For the children of God it will never be too late. There will always be new, spiritual opportunities to destroy the work of darkness.
Let us claim, take and declare God's final victory, despite all setbacks.
A moment of introspection: CLAIM - In our mind and our heart, we Christians know the Truth that has set us free; we know the joy of faithfulness to God through troubles; and we know His presence in both the quiet moment of prayer and meditation, and the awesome panorama of His creation. As believers, we know the certainty of other things as well. All things in God are certainties. As believers, who have rooted our loves and our beliefs in the Triune God, we have the joy of knowing, deep down, the sovereignty of God in all occurrences and all spiritual successes. But let us inwardly claim the victory for God, too, in our setbacks; He will ultimately prevail and we can trust Him to work all things for our good (Romans 8:28). His plan will succeed in His timing, through His perfect will, and to His glory.
TAKE - What part does God's final victory play in our day-to-day lives? We go here and there, we do this or that, we experience life in myriads of ways. Yet final victory may elude our grasp. As Christians, we know we have an enemy who opposes our spiritual growth, our Christian works, our love of God Himself. Antonio Garrido rightly observes that "there will always be new opportunities to defeat the enemy...when we keep trusting our Lord." Our defeats in this battle need not spell out for us a definite loss. We can actively take God's final victory with us in our strivings--to lend perspective to the battle, to our suffering, to the persecution we may come to face. God's final victory can encourage and bolster our resolve as we hold it and let it lead us as a banner. It is true vision indeed, that sees God's final victory as some great thing to rally around and behind. Take hold of it, grasp it tightly; God will have His victory. We can trust in Him to lead us through to that glorious event (Psalm 60:12). With God, we will gain the final victory.
DECLARE - Perhaps in our own strength we have strived and succeeded and therein gained confidence. But in our seeming failures, having set our goal before God's throne through prayer, have we ever met with defeat or setbacks or potent opposition? As brother Antonio relates, we Christians fight a spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:12), not a carnal one. When we face spiritual obstacles and challenges, let us declare with boldness that God has won, that God is winning, and that God will defeat His foes to the right and to the left. We declare this victory for it is fact to us believers. We tell our foe of this divine final triumph, and then face both advances and setbacks with purpose, with assurance, and with certainty. For, with the apostle Paul, we declare that we are not ashamed of the gospel (Romans 1:16). And just as assuredly, with gentleness, we declare to non-believers this ultimate dominion of God, that they also may know what they face in their unbelief. In God's Word, we are instructed to always be prepared to tell others the reason for our hope we have. (1 Peter 3:15-16) This hope is firmly invested in God's final victory!
So, inwardly, actively, and verbally/outwardly, let us move forward--claiming and taking and declaring God's final victory, despite all setbacks!