Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Worship an Implement of Destruction

All week I have considered portions of my pastor’s sermon from last Sunday. For some reason, my thoughts about that sermon rolled through my thinking like stratocumulus clouds. Some white in various forms, not necessarily connected, but most assuredly passing through to some distant mountain range to deposit their moisture. One thought finally came to rest like the wheel on Wheel of Fortune. The pointer was directed towards an experience that I recently endured. That experience involved fear. I have not found myself fearful or aware of my fear for some time.  But several months ago, I made a decision that just plain stunk! It is within that decision process that I as a pastor jettisoned wisdom, worship, discipline, and prayer. I raised my moistened finger to the wind to determine which way the winds of society were blowing. Oh, I had prayed, sought counsel, and still I felt the cool breeze on the wrong side of truth. Instead of singing a “Song of Battle” that brought His eminence and authority to bear against my fear, I did my own thing! Something that may have long term effects on my family. If only I had remembered Joshua and the battle of Ai and Jericho, Gideon, and most importantly, Josephat and the battle against Moab and the Ammonites (2 Chron. 20). All battles that would be won by the Lord and not by men. In the story of Josephat we hear five songs of battle; (1) The song of dependence, “…we will stand before this house and before you—for your name is in this house—and cry out to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save.” (Verse 9 ESV); (2) A song of defense, “The Lord says to you, ‘Do not be afraid.  Do not lose hope because of this huge army.  The battle is not yours.  It is God’s.” (3.) The battle song of praise and worship: “They praised the Lord, the God of Israel.  They praised him with very loud voices.” He wanted them to praise the Lord because of his glory and holiness. They marched out in front of the army (singing) “Give thanks to the Lord. His faithful love continues forever.” (2 Chron. 20:21 NIRV); (4) The battle song of vicoory, “Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, and Jehoshaphat at their head, returning to Jerusalem with joy, for the Lord had made them rejoice over their enemies. They came to Jerusalem with harps and lyres and trumpets, to the house of the Lord.” (2 Chron. 20:27-28) If only my pastor had shared the sermon just a bit earliger…ugh!

Not all the battles that Israel and God’s  people fought ended in victory.  It was only when they obeyed the Lord and trusted in God did they emerge victorious.  In our own lives, we face battles daily.  Not on a field with swords and spears, but in our hearts and minds.  We are instructed in 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 to raise God above our fears, circumstances, and situations… “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.  We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ…” Something, I must remember to adhere to in my future battles against t the dragon of fear.

--Pastor Mike Valdez

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