In life, there are a lot of battles that we have to face. Some are easily won while others bring us to the point of exhaustion. When facing the spiritual battles in our lives, who are we trusting? Are we trusting ourselves or God? Could we be putting our confidence in the wrong place?
In this post, let us take a look at the battle between the Israelites and the Philistines. Let us learn the vital lessons that with God, our victory is assured!
Solving our problems by ourselves
During the time of Samuel, Israel is being oppressed by the Philistines. This has led the Israelites to gather together and fight against their enemy. Instead of asking God for help, they thought that they can handle the situation by themselves. As they prepare for battle, it was very obvious that God is not with the Israelites because of their sins.
During the first battle, about four thousand men of Israel died. Wondering why they were defeated, they thought that if they bring with them the Ark of the Covenant, God will grant them victory. We can see here how the Israelites are trying to solve their problems without the guidance of God. They forgot that it is only God’s presence that will make something holy and by this time, God is not with the Ark of Covenant.
Initially, the news that the Ark of the Covenant was brought along with the army of Israel struck fear to the heart of the Philistines. In spite of this, the Philistines still defeated Israel, leaving them with thirty thousand foot soldiers dead. To make things worse, the Ark of Covenant was captured.
Solving our problems with God
After their sour defeat, they have no choice but to humbly bend their knees and seek the divine providence of God. They realize that they simply are nothing without the help of God. It is sad that sometimes, only after so many defeats, that we realize the real solution to our problems can be found in the council of God.
By this time, they consulted Samuel and he is quick to pinpoint the problem. He said:
“If you return to the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths from among you, and prepare your hearts for the Lord, and serve Him only; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines” (I Samuel 7:3).
Time and time again, Israel is known for their rebellion against God. They are described as an unyielding group of people who fall into the vicious cycle of commandment-breaking and rescue from God. For a time, they would follow God after a deliverance from their enemies but after a generation has passed, they would quickly go back to idolatry. And Samuel knew about this dismal characteristic of Israel.
Thankfully, the nation of Israel heeded the instruction of Samuel and they fasted and repented of their sins. As they are praying to God, the Philistines are once again preparing themselves to attack Israel. Before they can start their attack, “the LORD thundered with a loud thunder upon the Philistines that day, and so confused them that they were overcome before Israel” (I Samuel 7:10).
The nation of Israel was delivered from their adversary in that day. With the help of God, they were able to overcome their enemies and gain victory.
God will fight our battles for us
Our Christian life is no different. There are times when it seems things are not going the right way. Failure after failure, we are being bombarded with so many problems. We are faced with our spiritual Philistines and defeat seems to be staring us right in our face.
Like in the time of Samuel, there is always a cause to every effect. When problems arise, we need to look into the situation and identify the real cause. Sometimes, we suffer because of our own wrong doings and sin. Just like Israel, they are fighting their battles by themselves and remedying things according to their own understanding.
Thankfully, God is more than willing to help us in times of distress. We need to realize that the spiritual battles in our lives are fought with the spiritual weapons and these weapons can only come from God.
We are gravely mistaken if we think that we can overcome Satan and sin by ourselves. Yet, most often than not, this is how we fight our spiritual battles. We take everything into our hands and utterly fail at the end.
The Bible tells us, “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the LORD our God” (Psalms 20:7). This is something that every Christian should realize: that we are all nothing without God. Our trust and confidence must be placed on God and not on ourselves.
The nation of Israel learned that “not by might nor by power, but by God’s Spirit” (Zechariah 4:6) that they will win against their enemies. We, too, can come boldly before the holy presence of God and ask for help.
Standing at the side of God
God will fight our battles for us. As long as we are on the side of God, we will never lose because God always wins! In reality, even before the battle has commenced, the victory has already been claimed and when you look into the last book of the Bible, we will read the conclusion of all these things – God will ultimately reign victorious and supremely reign here on earth with His saints.
So the next time you face your spiritual Philistines, surrender your life to God and let Him handle your problem. Pray to God for wisdom and faith to endure until the end. Only then, we will ultimately win all our spiritual battles.