Sword drawn

Joshua 5:13: When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” (ESV)

ninja-153355_640Standing with sword drawn, is a posture showing readiness for action. We all need to live emotionally, mentally and spiritually at alert.

In the focus verse, it was an angel who was with a sword drawn at the beginning of the conquest of the land of Canaan gives a lot of confidence to the earthly captain of the host, Joshua (Joshua 1). With that revelation, it was the icing on the cake of the words that he has heard from God that he should not be afraid in his new assignment.

But naturally-speaking, he had every reason to be afraid. Moses, the “backbone of Israel” the man of signs and wonders, the man with unalloyed communication with God, with the amazing track record of the supernatural was now off the scene.

It was a new season for the children of Israel and Joshua, the new leader of Israel, who had experience with Moses (being his minister, servant) of how difficult the children of Israel can be, felt that he really had his plate full. Added to that is fact that the Israelites were largely inexperienced in battle. And there they were, about to take on entrenched and well developed nations.

He needed all the help he could get to successfully carry out the mind of God. And just as he was going to have to take the initiative to take over Canaan land, he was encouraged by the revelation of the angel with a sword drawn, ready to help in the battle.

To keep the sword sheathed in the time of battle is to commit a crime, and to risk God’s rejection. It means you do not want to move at God’s command.

That was what happened a few decades before Joshua became leader in Israel. Then when God wanted the children of Israel to move on the land of Canaan to battle the people for their land, the majority of the people were more fearful of their lives than they were of not disobeying God (Numbers 13-14). And they experienced the wrath of God, wondering for years in the wilderness, till that generation wasted away.

When God calls us to the battle front in any area, in any context, we should obey, prepare and take prompt action. We cannot afford not to be ready when God is ready, when God is on the move and we are also on the move, we take delivery of his abundant grace.

Otherwise we would be rebels. When Jesus called a man to follow him and he said that he wants to first bury his father, he was told to let the dead bury their dead but that he needed to follow immediately (Luke 9:59-60).

Prompt action when God gives instruction should be the norm (Genesis 22:1-3). That is what it means to walk with God. Anyone in a relationship with God is called to walk with him, to line up with his word, with his dictates.

When we do that we become God’s agents of change just as Joshua was when he led the Israelites to conquer of the land of Israel. Realise that you are serving a king Jesus who have been promised the ends of the earth for his possession (Psalm 2). In this age, the church does not conquer by the use of arms, but spiritually and by knowledge. By being the light we vanquish darkness (John 1:1-5).

The bible is a book of battles. There was a spiritual battle in the Garden of Eden, but Eve did not have “her sword” drawn and was conquered by the enemy (Genesis 3). Fast forward to the wilderness where Jesus was in a temptation battle with the devil just as Eve was (Matthew 4:1-11).

Jesus, equipped with the word of God, the sword of the spirit (Ephesians 6:17), came out victorious. At the end, Jesus told the devil, depart from me. He put the devil in his place, not giving him any inch of space, or influence in his life because he had his sword drawn.

The first law of combat is to recognise who the enemy is. If the enemy can successfully disguise himself, or if he can get us to focus on the wrong enemy, then defeat is almost sure.

Paul informed that we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers and all other wicked forces (Ephesians 6:10-18) arrayed against the knowledge of Christ, arrayed against us (2Corinthians 10:1-4). He said: I fought with beasts in Ephesus (1Corinthians 15:32), adding that if we are ignorant of the devices of the enemy he might deal a deadly blow to us (2Corinthians 2:11).

We need to live with our sword drawn, with our spiritual sensitivity heightened, to gain divine direction and to defeat satanic opposition.

Sword drawn means you are ready to take more territories for God. The bible says that we need to have our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. God told Joshua: everywhere the sole of your feet touches, I have given to you. In another place we read: the God of peace will soon trample underfoot the enemy (Romans 16:20).

As mentioned earlier, the bible says that the word of God is the sword of the Spirit. So while I quote the scriptures, what may be seen coming out from my mouth in the spirit is a sword. Jesus was depicted in the book of revelation as having sword in his mouth (Revelation 19:15). So the victory is through the mouth.

How did Jesus send demons oppressing people packing while he was on earth? It was not by being silent, but by issuing words of command. We bear that same authority as we have been given power to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the powers of the enemy (Luke 10:19), through the words of our mouth (Mark 16:15-18).

Jesus said that all powers have been given to him, as he sends us forth to preach the gospel to all creatures. Paul said that it pleased God to save some through the preaching of the gospel (1Corinthians 1:21). Those people so saved are like territories taken from the enemy.

How are they saved? Through the preaching of the word, which is the sword of the spirit which cuts away at the web of lies that the enemy had them in, and free them to come into the light from the darkness.

Light is a weapon to fight darkness. The sword of the word of God is a sword of light, sword of truth, because what the devil has are lies, darkness. Jesus called him the father of lies whose very nature is lies (John 8:44). The battle with fight is with truth (Psalm 45:1-6), through which we get the people to submit to Christ as they are saved.

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