As we continue our study of the men who followed David, another characteristic was their ability to war.They learned how to battle with both the right hand and the left hand for hurling stones. If you have ever thrown a ball, you know that you can aim effectively with your dominant hand — but try it with the opposite hand — it's far more difficult to throw accurately. But the men that followed David learned to throw with both arms effectively! It must have taken months of training to develop such skill.
When David was a fugitive from Saul, the men who followed him recognized his rightful place as King of Israel, and they developed a deep loyalty to him, this little band. As we read yesterday, these men were transformed from distress, debt, and discontentment [1 Sam. 22:1-2] into becoming mighty men of war. Having joined David, they quickly realized that they were joining a conflict.
When David was anointed king over Israel, he didn’t take his place at the throne immediately. He had to wait, and bide his time, until Saul was removed from power, before arriving at his destined place as King. Like His father David, Yeshua (Jesus) was received as Israel's king/messiah at the triumphal entry, (often called "Palm Sunday"), and then, "anointed" King of the Jews, ironically receiving His true title from the Romans, while hanging on a cross. But He is still waiting to reveal His identity as King on earth, during the Millenial reign when His kingdom will replace the kingdoms of this world at His second advent. [Rev. 11:15].
The Hebrew expression in this verse from Isaiah is rich with meaning. The root "nus" (from the expression "raise up a standard") is related to or sounds like numerous words which mean "sign", "miracle", "to drive away", "to flee", "cause to disappear", "a waving flag". This abundance of meanings in Isaiah's poetic style reveals the multiple dimensions of God's revelation; in this case, the way he deals with evil. The assertion in this word is that the Spirit of YHVH will be powerfully activated when evil comes.
Matthew 18:19-20 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of [...]
In 1917, the Ottoman Empire controlled the city of Aqaba which seemed impregnable to any attack. Behind the city in every direction was a vast desert, and overlooking the city's harbor were huge naval guns protecting it against any enemy attack from the sea.
As most of you know, we've been on a speaking tour throughout the United States during the past month, and have been preaching throughout the country in the midst of flu season. This past weekend the flu finally broke down my immunity and seriously knocked me out. But after a few days of battling, I'm starting to feel better. Influenza is a nasty virus that has the ability to replicate extremely quickly and once it establishes a foothold, rapidly gains a stronghold within the body. You may guess where I'm going with this personal illustration.
After the Civil War, Robert E. Lee visited a Kentucky lady who took him to the remains of a once beautiful old tree in front of her house. There she bitterly cried that its limbs and trunk had been destroyed by Federal artillery fire. She looked to Lee for a word condemning the North or at least sympathizing with her loss. After a brief silence, Lee said, "Cut it down, my dear Madam, and forget it."
Have you ever heard of the Valley of Elah? It's the valley near Bet Shemesh where David defeated Goliath, yet this historic battlefield is virtually untouched in Israel. During the rainy season a brook runs through the midst of the valley, however it dries up during the summer. This brook is very likely the one from which David chose his five smooth stones – one of which was used to kill Goliath. Yet, this historic place has no landmarks, no churches – people drive past it all the time unaware of it's biblical or historic significance.
Growing up, one of my favorite Saturday activities was watching ABC Sports. I can still remember the opening line — “The thrill of victory or the agony of defeat!” One of the greatest prophets of the Bible, Elijah, experienced his share of victories — but he also knew that sudden feeling of defeat.
Carl Armerding wrote a funny story in Moody Monthly, about his experience at the zoo. "As I stood there," he said, "an attendant entered the cage through a door on the opposite side. He had nothing in his hands but a broom.
Toward the end of 1941, as the second world war was raging in Europe, the Japanese ambassador was sent to Washington D.C. apparently seeking peace; however back in Japan, the emperor was planning the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Japanese empire sent their ambassador to D.C. as a distraction, so the sudden attack on Pearl Harbor took the United States completely by surprise.
Have you ever thought about how much power God releasing in our midst right now? Is it 20%… 50%… 100% of His great power?? I would venture to say that God is not even releasing a fraction of 1% of His power today. That might sound crazy to you, but think about it. If He were to release all His power on this earth, don't you think that sin would be completely destroyed and righteousness and holiness would abound?
It ought to be obvious to all of us believers that we are in a spiritual war that is taking place all over the earth — and that we are called to fight in this battle. In the world's armies, soldiers are not sent into battle before receiving many months of serious training. They need to get physically in shape first and then to learn how to handle different wartime situations and tactics of the enemy.
Throughout the history of the modern state of Israel, there have been accounts of angelic interventions protecting Israeli soldiers in the midst of intense warfare. One instance recounted by an Israeli military historian after the 1973 Yom Kippur war, describes an Israeli soldier in the Sinai taking captive an entire Egyptian column and leading them to where the Israeli troops were. The Egyptian commander was asked why he and his men gave themselves up to the lone Israeli soldier. He responded with surprise, "One soldier? There were thousands of them."
As most of you know, this past week the conflict in Israel has escalated. The IDF has termed Israel’s military operation, “amood anan”, which in literal Hebrew, means, “pillar of cloud”. In English it has been rendered, “pillar of defense”. The term is a direct reference from the Exodus of Israel from Egypt when they were led out of slavery and protected by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.[Exodus 13:21]. The pillar both led (directed and guided) and protected the children of Israel from the Egyptian army…providing both leadership and protection.
We've been encouraged by numerous phone calls and emails over the past few days, telling us that people are praying and fasting for Israel and believers in the land — and we so appreciate it, more than words could ever express!
For a season I worked in Washington D.C. for one of the largest Christian political organizations in America. Sometimes I saw how politics could get ugly and, more often than not, how it changed people — not for the better…but often for the worse! As the elections are heating up in the United States, there have recently been some outrageous attacks. And sadly, I feel pretty sure these attacks will only intensify in the days ahead. Nevertheless, I'm encouraged! Why? Because, often, the enemy's destructive intentions and attacks become God's means for testimony and victorious proclamation!
Nature provides us with an illustration that closely parallels the insidious tactics employed by our adversary. According to scientists, Arctic polar bears feed almost entirely on seals. To enjoy such a meal, they sometimes resort to a cunning bit of trickery. If the hole through which the seal gets his food is near the edge of the ice, the polar bear will take a deep breath and swim under water to its exact location. Remaining below the surface, he will then make a tiny scratching sound, imitating a fish. When the charmed seal hears this, he dives in for a quick supper, only to find himself suddenly entrapped in the huge, hungry embrace of his predator.
When Joseph was thrown into prison, his life was thought to be over. How could anyone escape an Egyptian prison? But then, in one day, according to God's perfect timing, he was instantly promoted to reign over all Egypt with only the Pharoah, ("god on earth") as his Lord…