Battle Within

Judges 20:12-20

12 The tribes of Israel sent messengers throughout the tribe of Benjamin, saying, “What about this awful crime that was committed among you? 13Now turn those wicked men of Gibeah over to us so that we may put them to death and purge the evil from Israel.” But the Benjamites would not listen to their fellow Israelites. 14From their towns they came together at Gibeah to fight against the Israelites. 15At once the Benjamites mobilized 26,000 swordsmen from their towns, in addition to 700 able young men from those living in Gibeah. 16Among all these soldiers there were 700 select troops who were left-handed, each of whom could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.

17Israel, apart from Benjamin, mustered 400,000 swordsmen, all of them fit for battle. 18The Israelites went up to Bethel and inquired of God. They said, “Who of us is to go up first to fight against the Benjamites?” The Lord replied, “Judah shall go first.” 19The next morning the Israelites got up and pitched camp near Gibeah. 20The Israelites went out to fight the Benjamites and took up battle positions against them at Gibeah.

Doctor’s Prescription

A man had medical check-up and the doctor gave pills to lower his blood pressure and he took just as it was prescribed. The next day, the man returned to see the doctor but surprised to know that his blood pressure went up higher than yesterday. He thought that it was caused by the pressure to finish his project.

He told the doctor that he did not have much sleep time because he had to finish his project until late night. The doctor advised him to continue taking the pills. The following day, the doctor checked his blood pressure again. It was lower and normal. The man slept well after finishing his project. The doctor may have thought that the pill was effective but the man did not take any pill.

Have you ever defied your doctor’s prescription yet?

The Lord declared in Exodus 15:26, 26If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.

Christ’s teachings are prescription for life to its fullness. Do you believe that the Lord is the Ultimate Healer? Yet, when it comes to His prescription we defy Him. By faith, we trust that Christ knows solutions to our problem/sickness.

We should trust Christ’s prescription for us, yet most often, we disregard.

Apostle Paul testifies in Romans 7:18-20, 18I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

There’s battle within us. We desire to obey the Lord but we do otherwise.

The battle within the Israelite community was a practical illustration of the spiritual battle in our life as believers. The Israelites wanted to purge the evil from Israel but the Benjamites didn’t want to cooperate. They resisted and fought.

1. Resistance

12 The tribes of Israel sent messengers throughout the tribe of Benjamin, saying, “What about this awful crime that was committed among you? 13Now turn those wicked men of Gibeah over to us so that we may put them to death and purge the evil from Israel.” But the Benjamites would not listen to their fellow Israelites. 14From their towns they came together at Gibeah to fight against the Israelites. 15At once the Benjamites mobilized 26,000 swordsmen from their towns, in addition to 700 able young men from those living in Gibeah. 

16Among all these soldiers there were 700 select troops who were left-handed, each of whom could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.

The Benjamites had the best swordsmen in Israel. The term “at once” implies that they were always prepared and ready for battle all the time. Some of them were also sharpshooters like snipers. Imagine that they can hit their target as small as hair. That’s even smaller than ‘bullseye’ at the firing range. Meaning, before enemies can get near, they would be badly hurt.

The Banjamites trusted their expertise so much to assume that they were invulnerable. They thought that they will defeat 400,000 Israelites swordsmen. Sad to say that such kind of mindset has infected not just a few believers.

It declares in James 4:1-3, 1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

You may have heard some reasons when asked why more people attend bigger churches. They are attracted to high-tech praise and worship, modern facilities. They prefer such and such kind of ministry. They have a mindset of consumerism choosing pleasure over spirituality. There’s no desire to get involved in the ministry. Not concerned about being parts of the body of Christ.

How do you determine if a church attendee is part of the body of Christ?

It says in 1 Corinthians 12:27-30, 27Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?

Believers who practically exhibit spiritual growth prefer to participate in the ministry and readily respond to the call of Christ who is the head of the church.

2. Response

17Israel, apart from Benjamin, mustered 400,000 swordsmen, all of them fit for battle. 18The Israelites went up to Bethel and inquired of God. They said, “Who of us is to go up first to fight against the Benjamites?” The Lord replied, “Judah shall go first.” 19The next morning the Israelites got up and pitched camp near Gibeah. 20The Israelites went out to fight the Benjamites and took up battle positions against them at Gibeah. 

The Israelites were united as one when they responded to the call to confront the Benjamites. No individual person was named as leader or initiator when they assembled. They just decided and moved as if they were one body.

They appointed messengers to tell the Benjamites to surrender the wicked men of Gibeah who murdered the concubine of the Levite but the Benjamites responded by preparing for war. Such is a picture of church attendees when they feel offended by sermons that may rebuke their lifestyle.

Was it the Lord who moved in the hearts of the Israelites for them to be united as one to confront the wicked men of Gibeah? Did God move in the hearts of the 400,000 swordsmen for them to respond and get involved?

Can we accept that the battle within the Israelite community represents the spiritual battle happening within Christian communities? If so, how should we respond when God’s word exposes or rebukes unbiblical lifestyle?

King David

The Israelites have high regard and respect for David as their king. It was not only because of his readiness to defend them from enemies attack but also because of his readiness to accept his fault. When the Lord sent Prophet Nathan to confront King David’s murderous and adulterous acts, he repented.

It says in 2 Samuel 12:13-15, 13Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. 14But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the Lord, the son born to you will die.” 15After Nathan had gone home, the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and he became ill.

There are undesirable consequences of our sins. However, if the Lord rebukes us and we repent of our sins, the Lord is faithful and just to forgive us.

The Israelites required that only the men of Gibeah would be punished but in response, the Benjamites mobilized their expert warriors to resist their fellow Israelites. The battles within the Israelite community exposed spiritual deterioration and disobedience to the Lord’s commands.

Similarly, battle within believers’ community throughout history exposes spiritual deterioration. No matter how eloquent we may explain the gospel, it would be rejected because they already have rejected the Lord.

The Lord Jesus has already declared in Luke 10:16, 16“Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

It can be frustrating when the gospel is rejected. Nonetheless, it’s also an opportunity to evaluate ourselves if we are relying upon the Lord or relying upon our expertise and trainings. When the Lord is in control of our life, performs His Lordship over us, we will certainly sense the fruit of the His Spirit, no matter how others may respond, positively or negatively, we’ve got joy and peace.

May Christ be glorified in us, now and forever more!

><((‘> … ><(((‘> …tmec\2019 <‘)))>< … <‘))><

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.