Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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February 6 – In The Face Of Great Threats

“And the king of Israel answered, ‘Tell him: Let not him who straps on his armor boast himself as he who takes it off.’  When Ben-hadad heard this message as he was drinking with the kings in the booths, he said to his men, ‘Take your positions.’ And they took their positions against the city.  And behold, a prophet came near to Ahab king of Israel and said, ‘Thus says the LORD, Have you seen all this great multitude? Behold, I will give it into your hand this day, and you shall know that I am the LORD.'” 1 Kings 20:11-13

Devotional Thought For The Day

There are many times when it appears that we are outnumbered and overpowered.  With God on our side, however, this is always an illusion, a distorted perception presented to us by the enemy. The enemy presents an impressive display for the human eye to see – while God’s power remains invisible until He enters the fray on our side.  We have two choices:  submit to the enemy and cede the battlefield, or put faith and trust in God and leave our fate in His hands.  The first choice is to embrace defeat; the second leaves victory in the hands of God.  People of God have faced these dilemmas for the entirety of human history; it should not surprise us that we are privileged to participate in the same drama.  This dynamic continues so we also come to “know that I am the LORD.”

King Ahab’s response to the threats of Ben-hadad, the Syrian king, was rather remarkable, especially considering that Ahab was not exactly a paragon of faith and obedience:  “Tell him: Let not him who straps on his armor boast himself as he who takes it off.”  I’m not sure where he was able to muster such moxie from, but this is a statement of faith, not a threat or an idle boast, but a simple assertion that he was willing to place himself in God’s hands, and that God would determine the outcome, not Ben-hadad’s superior military force.  This is precisely the kind of faith that is pleasing to God, that God calls us to place in Him – and the kind of assertion that God wills for us to make in the face of threats and intimidation on the part of the enemy.  It is no different for people of God living today than it has ever been, and we too are called to exercise our faith and trust in God in much the same way.  The threats may not be of a “military” nature, but they are threats nonetheless:  of legal action, of financial loss, of rejection and loss of social stature, and perhaps even of violence.  We are called to the same faith and trust in God, to leave all things in His hands, and to humbly and gently stand up to the blasphemous threats of the evil one.

In view of Ahab’s resurgent faith, God affirms His promise to protect and preserve His people, and assures Ahab, through His prophet, that He would grant victory.  We have the same promises of God today, that He will build His church, and even the gates of hell shall not prevail against it – against the church. [Matt. 16:18] This does not mean that we will win every skirmish, or that every congregation shall prevail and achieve great success.  It does mean that the number of believers will increase, and our faith will grow stronger, and that we are part of the winning side, that ultimately, when we take the armor off, we will be celebrating God’s victory in the kingdom of heaven.  Though weak in faith at times, God’s gracious forgiveness and mercy cover the multitude of our sins, and we are ultimately strengthened to take our place in the battle, refusing to merely concede defeat.  This angers the evil one, who at times foolishly rushes into the battle, believing his own foolish lies.  But ultimately he must be routed, for “greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world” [1 John 4:4], and when we resist the devil “he will flee from you.” [James 4:7]

So let us exercise our faith, and get some moxie, so that humbly and confidently we also place ourselves in God’s hands, not conceding defeat but asserting that the outcome will be determined by God – and that ultimately it will always turn out well for those who side with God, those of faith.  The devil will always try to make things look bleak for the church – the reality is always quite different, for God is on our side and will fight for us.

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus, how hard it is to maintain our confidence in Your victory when the forces of evil seem to be gaining strength and ascendency.  Remind us that appearances are deceiving, especially when the enemy is threatening.  Grant us faith and constancy, so that we humbly trust in You.  May we also confidently assert Your final victory, and live as people of faith.  Amen.