It is God’s Battle

“You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!”

2 Chronicles 20:17

This occasion is one of several where God gave Israel victory without them having to draw a sword. Three armies had combined and were making ready to attack Judah, including Jerusalem. King Jehoshaphat sought the Lord and his prayer is a model for us all. He acknowledged God as Creator and sovereign (v 6), and appealed to the covenant He made with Abraham (v 7). He then submitted himself and the people to the Lord’s word and command (v 12). In response, God reminded him that it was not his battle but God’s (v 15).

The king was told to set himself and the people of Judah as spectators. Before they did this, because they believed the word of the Lord (v 19, 20) and they worshipped the Lord in prayer, praise and singing (v 22). Then they went out to witness God’s victory.

They observed a dispute arise among the three armies. This resulted in two of the armies destroying the third and then the two remaining armies disputing further and destroying each other (v 23). No one escaped (v 24).

This is by no means the only time that Israel’s enemies had disputes among themselves such that they fought among themselves without touching Israel. We can observe this happening in part today. Remember that Iran is not Arabic, it is Persian. Iran is currently attempting to re-establish the Persian Empire to pre-eminence as it was centuries ago. This means subjugating all Arab states, Egypt, Israel and parts of Europe and Africa – as a start! That it uses religion to validate war to promote its ideology is nothing new to history. It concerns the Arabic states that Iran is gaining a stronghold in Syria and boasting of having infiltrated others.

At present, the nations that have been threatening Israel’s existence are disputing and fighting among themselves and therefore ineffective against Israel. As in the days of King Jehoshaphat, the battle is God’s and He will confuse His enemies. The key difference so far is that Israel is yet to seek the Lord and pray, as Jehoshaphat had done, appealing to the Lord’s covenant with Abraham. When they do, they will again be spectators as God destroys His, and their, enemies (Revelation 19:15).

Trembling at His Presence

“In that day Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria – a blessing in the midst of the land, whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, “Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance” Isaiah 19:24-25

Considering the current Middle East environment it is quite a mental exercise to accept that these three nations will one day get along as one. The previous verse tells us that there will be a highway between Egypt and Assyria which, of geographic necessity, must pass through Israel. People who have not experienced the power of God in salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ might be inclined to say that such talk is but a dream. However, the Lord says He will perform it when He comes. Jesus is the solution to the problems in the Middle East. The question, “If there is a God, why doesn’t He do something?” will be answered forever.

This outcome will not come progressively over a long period of time. Verse two indicates a time of civil unrest or even civil war in Egypt from which a cruel and oppressive leader will arise (v 4). The river Nile will dry up most likely by drought inland. Without the Nile hunger and disease will afflict the nation. Out of this severe trial Egypt will turn to the Lord and He will deliver them (vv 20-21).

Leaders of the nations of the world carry on in futility trying to resolve the Middle East unrest, terrorism and wars but they reject the One who would show them the way. They refuse His counsel and wonder why things are getting worse. Paul describes them and their actions in Romans 1:18-32 summing up their words and actions in verse 22, “Professing to be wise they became fools.”

In the Proverbs we read, “The Lord gives wisdom” (2:6) and “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (9:10). As long as people reject God’s wisdom, knowledge and understanding they will fail at every turn. When the Lord returns He will resolve all the divisions but tragically people will suffer because they refuse the wisdom of God.

Isaiah would cry out for the Lord to tear apart the heavens and come down “to make Your name known to Your adversaries, that the nations may tremble at Your presence” (Isaiah 64:1-5) and the Lord will do so but there was still the need of the cross first. In mercy God gives time for people to repent and in this He shows His patient love. “God demonstrates His own [kind of] love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8; cf. 1 John 3:1).

The “rich man” in Luke 16:19-31 begged the Lord to send someone back from the dead to warn his brothers of their great error but Jesus responded, “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets [the Bible], neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead” (v 31). In great power Jesus rose from the dead and there are hundreds of recorded witnesses but the exhibit of God’s power by itself is ineffective to save. Salvation only comes when a person chooses to believe God’s Word and trust Jesus Christ.

A World Without War

“Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Isaiah 2:4).

Many people have dreamed of a world without war and, though less so now, the Bible prophecies regarding a world at peace were often quoted. It seems that fewer people than ever are looking for the Lord to bring about a world without war. The dimming of this hope in the eyes of people as they get older is possibly because they have observed what appears to be never ending war in the world.

The “war to end all wars” one hundred years ago did no such thing. It was merely the prelude to a world in continuous war with increasingly devastating means of killing other people. No longer is it sword to sword but now we have weapons of mass destruction with the means to wipe out huge cities with a single bomb or whole regions with biological weapons. Is it any wonder that the younger generation who have never lived in a world without this imminent threat are inclined to end their lives when they see no hope of personal, national or world peace?

The dimming hope that education could solve the ills of the world and bring peace has long been seen to be futile. Education cannot change a person’s heart. Some of the most corrupt people in our world are well educated. Education has allowed them to express their corruption in more deceitful and more destructive ways. Greed and power do not follow the boundaries of education.

All forms of government that leave God out have been revealed as failures to bring peace within their own nation and so could never bring peace to the world. Even so, we do all we can to remove God from the minds of our children.

Jesus said that He did not come to bring peace between men in the manner in which the world seeks a peacemaker. He came to bring peace with God through the gracious gift of forgiveness of sin and changed hearts. There can never be peace on earth without peace with God. When men are at peace with God then they will have peace with one another.

From the day Adam and Eve sinned, God has promised that a day of everlasting peace would come. This is one of those promises: “He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:4).

No person will know peace until he knows peace with God. The world will not know peace until the Prince of Peace reigns. The Bible records many emphatic statements of God to that end. There will be a time when wars will cease and no one will make the horrendous weapons of war that are so prolific today. This is not just wishful thinking or a fading hope; it is the will and word of the living God. He will do what man can never do.

When we lift our eyes to the horizon of that day and we will not be overcome by the fears of this day. Let us tell the younger generation of this glorious day ahead. Let us tell all that this day will come because Jesus Christ died for the sin of the world and is able to do what no education program can do. He is still able to change people from within and is doing so for all who ask.

Nation Against Nation

“Nation will rise against nation.–­and kingdom against kingdomThere will be famines, pestilences and earthquakes in various places” (Matthew 24:7)

The history of mankind from the day Cain killed Abel until the present has been one of continual wars, murders and fighting. Governments and leaders have been promising to end the killing of people and yet it is arguably at an all time high. In addition to these kinds of killing of people we could add abortion and euthanasia.

Will people ever stop killing other people? Jesus says, ‘No!’ In fact, He says that mankind would annihilate itself if He (Jesus) did not return and prevent it (Matthew 24:22).

On Anzac Day each year we set a day aside to remember the terrible loss that is always the consequence of war. But that has not reduced war in the world. The Bible teaches that man will get worse and wars more common as time passes until mankind wars openly against the Lord Himself.

Sin makes people do what otherwise seems quite ridiculous. Is there anything more futile than the created being making war on the One who created him and sustains him?

‘Will people ever learn?’ we ask. Intellectually and corporately we know that war is killing us all but we are powerless to stop it. As long as there is anger, greed, hatred, revenge, lust, coveting and the like, men will always find themselves at war.

Only when the Prince of Peace comes and reigns in the hearts of men will men know peace and only when He reigns in the world will the world know peace.