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Monday, August 17, 2015

Thy Kingdom Come # 6

2. The Kingdom and Spiritual Warfare

Daniel 10:1

Spiritual warfare is one of the most important factors in the great issue of bringing in the kingdom. Those who are fighters by nature, however, must beware - for this is no natural conflict, but a spiritual. Could we have seen the young Daniel arriving in Babylon as one of a weary band of defeated captives; could we later on have heard him mildly 'requesting' that he might be excused from eating the king's dainties, and still later prefacing his sensational revelation of the kings' dream by the modest denial of any natural wisdom on his part; could we have earnestly pleading with his nation's most hated enemy to humble himself so that there might be a lengthening of his tranquility, or seen him being cast into the lion's den without expostulation or argument, though he was a great political figure as well as a servant of the Most High God; still  more if we could have seen him at prayer, pouring out his heart in penitence and confession, or, later, down on his face before the Divine glory, with neither strength nor self-esteem - we should never have described Daniel as a fighter. Yet he was a great warrior for God, perhaps the greatest of Old  Testament times. As we have said, this is not a natural fight, and it demands qualities which are very different from the aggressive or pugnacious temperaments which belong to those who are born fighters.

Not Carnal But Spiritual

A simple story, and a true one at that, may serve to illustrate this point. A young soldier, who had been a ringleader in evil, was brought before Christ in the Soldiers' Home at Woolwich. His open confession of Christ brought him much ridicule from his former companions. Previously they had been rather afraid of him, but not he became a harmless butt for their scoffing and contempt until, relying on a Christian meekness which they expected to be limitless, one of them went too far and roused his hot anger. He rose up from the meal table, told the offender that he would deal with him outside, and withdrew to remove his tunic and roll up his sleeves ready for the fight. The others did not come out at  once, so while he waited to took up his pocket Bible to seek some text of encouragement for this conflict for the truth, rather expecting something about 'fighting the good fight of faith'. To his surprise, however, his eye lighted on Ephesians 4:32, and he found himself challenged to "be ... kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, even as God for Christ's sake forgave you". Just then his persecutor emerged, white of face and fully expecting a thrashing. To his amazement, it was not a fist which greeted him, but an outstretched hand and an apology for angry words. The fight was over, and won, but how differently from what had been expected. Moreover the other young soldier was soon won for Christ, which made the victory still greater.

Yes, this is essentially a spiritual conflict, and for that very reason is no place for 'natural fighters'. There are not a few Christians who are today bruised and battered just because they have tried to fight the Lord's battles with natural strength. Take the case of Moses. He had a true vision, but he tried to fight it out in the heat and energy of his natural life. He lost the fight. It broke him. Forty years afterwards, when, humanly speaking, he had no more fight in him, God brought him back to Egypt to lead the people of God in the first great campaign for for the kingdom. He was a different kind of warrior now. Nevertheless the fight was very real. When they moved out from Egypt, Moses sang of the Lord as "a man of war" (Exodus 15:3), and, when his leadership had brought the people to the very verge of the land, the Lord said to him: "Avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites: afterward shalt thou be gathered unto thy people" (Numbers 31:2). It had been a fight all the way, right to the very last; yet it had been a spiritual fight, fought with spiritual weapons by the man who was "very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth" (Numbers 12:3). The final conflict and victory for the Kingdom is to be celebrated in "the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb" (Revelation 15:3). Moses the natural fighter, Moses the Egyptian warrior, Moses the zealot, Moses the reformer, was an abject failure. But Moses in fellowship with the Lamb triumphed gloriously.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 7 - (The Issue of the Kingdom)

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