Being discouraged seems to be the normal reaction of weak and sinful man, while living among and trying to teach his fellowman the truth of God's word. So many times, we have seen men become distraught, down and out and ready to quit the battle when things were going rough for them. And, just so many times, the Lord has shown His power to the people and it would give courage and renewed strength to the ones in the battle. Several good examples of this come to mind from the Old Testament as well as the New. The battles we as Christians are involved with are not carnal as those with the Israelites. But, the examples are still the same. God wants His people to obey His instructions in fighting the battle for truth. We have to lend our support to the Lord and be "present and accounted for," as the military services ask.
The prophet Elijah is a typical example, as recorded in 1 Kings 19. He was already down and out, hiding in a cave when the Lord asked him "what he was doing there." He had been fighting in battles and things looked bleak to him. The very people of God's choice, the Israelites, had broken covenant with the Lord and had slain the Lord's prophets with the sword and were trying to kill him. He told the Lord, "I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away." The Lord told him that there were seven thousand yet who had not bowed the knee to Baal, and to get up and continue the battle and see the results. Great victories were won when Elijah obeyed the Lord and demonstrated his trust in Him. And that faith and trust is very important to the Lord. He demonstrated His power to fight the battle through a few of his people in the story of Gideon in Judges 7. Instead of thousands which showed up for battle, only three hundred faithful and dedicated men were chosen, and the battle was won, because it was "of the Lord." Jonathan made a very important statement in this regard: "It may be that the Lord will work for us: for there is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few" (1 Samuel 14:6).
The young "shepherd boy" David, just before he killed the giant Goliath of the Philistines for defying the people of God, wanted all the world to know "that there is a God in Israel" and "that the Lord saveth not with the sword and spear, because the battle is of the Lord" (1 Samuel 17:46-47). This is the very thing which Christian people today need to learn. When we are on the Lord's side, having made that all- important decision of whom we will serve, we need to demonstrate that faith in Him to keep His word and let Him use us as His instruments. After all, He told Moses long before this "who made your mouth?" The battle for truth is done by individuals in the hand of the Lord, not only speaking for God, but, being the examples in the world, as "leaven in bread dough." It must be "active" to be of any value. Lukewarm Christians are still sickening to the Lord and He will vomit them out. If one is "too timid" or "afraid" to let the Lord use him, victories for the truth of God will be hindered, but not defeated. At one time, Jehoshaphat, king of Judah made this statement: "O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?" (2 Chronicles 20:6). Hosea makes it clear that the Lord has respect for His people who are faithful and will save them; but it will not be by bow, by sword or by fast horses and riders (Hosea 1).
As Elijah learned long ago, we too, need to have that deep faith in our Lord and keep the charge which we were given by our Lord Jesus: "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine"; "Preach the gospel to every creature." "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." "Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf"count it a blessing to suffer as a Christian. When the Lord is fighting the battle, we can't lose in the end.
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