Fight Through the Crowd

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God , that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. – Ephesians 6:10-12

YOU DON’T KNOW OF HIM

Hosea 4:1 Hear the word of the LORD, O children of Israel, for the LORD has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land. There is no faithfulness or steadfast love, and no knowledge of God in the land;

Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.

In all my years of being a follower of Jesus Christ,  I have heard Hosea 4:6 used in one way only. During high school graduation time in regards to education. But one night I met a man and we walked through the scriptures together.  Verse after verse we talked about all pointed to one undeniable fact, Jesus Christ has done so much already.   So when this quoted this text, the Holy Spirit opened my eyes and I could see. When you read the first verse the context of knowledge becomes abundantly crystal clear.   Yet, we willingly live in the fog of disillusionment for the sake of talking points and agendas.   The prices we are willing to pay for those small moments of glory.  Those short timelines of arrogance in thinking we understand God. We pay a costly price to sound profound in order to gain applause.  But we cling to this understanding because thinking God is talking about education makes it easy to comprehend.  It presents us with something that is not completely life altering.   We know that gaining this type of knowledge will give us power over ourselves and others.  But the first verse of the chapter sets the tone and the context for how we understand this knowledge. It is the lack of knowledge about God that causes the people to parish not educational knowledge.  It is not knowing God, not knowing God’s will, not knowing God’s grace, not knowing God’s love, not knowing God’s mercy, nor his righteousness, holiness and sovereignty. But lastly, not knowing God’s promises yet in relation to what we get in guaranteed money but in relation to how God lives and fellowship with us.  A promise or covenant says something about the person or persons you are dealing with.  The bigger the promise, the higher the hopes there are for the relationship.  In God’s case, he bears the brunt of the risk or load of the covenant.  Bu knowing this, renews the mind in a heavenly manner. God gives birth to our faith.

YOU DON’T FOLLOW  HIM

Without knowledge of God that comes only through fellowship; we won’t follow Him.  Being able to follow God as a disciple we must know something about God but not just knowing of him.  Knowing in the sense of a call to follow.  A call that meets us were we are in our mess and the messiness of our lives.  When the disciplines meet Jesus for the first time as he was calling them out of the current state in life, they knew him.  Peter for explain, knew who Jesus was and soon learned who he was as the incident with the fish that Jesus directed them too after long hours of not catching anything.  In that moment Peter knew he was a sinner and that Jesus was holy.  Peter asked the Lord to leave him because he couldn’t stand to be around Jesus, just as Isaiah before the throne of God pronouncing his ruin before holiness.  This type of knowing convicts and compels as it draws men into the holiness of God.  This righteous fear of God produces faith that walks, following after God. “There is no faithfulness or steadfast love, and no knowledge of God in the land” This ending line of verse 1 is very interesting as we close on the following after God because of knowing him.  God says that there is no faithfulness or steadfast love for God as well as no knowledge of God. Without faith we cannot please God,  to please God we must love Him, to love we must believe in Him and we can’t do any of those things if we don’t have knowledge of God, through fellowship.   But why would we fellowship with God if we thought that we didn’t need him?
YOU DON’T NEED HIM

During the time of Hosea the children of Israel had forgotten the Lord and worshiped idols.  During this time also there were several kings that trusted in their own strength and turned away from God.  Even the priests that once lead the people to God and served the Lord were now leading the in worship of false gods like the golden calf, Baal and some of the other Canaanite gods.  Starting from the kings who were filled with pride because of their victories which were so because of God, they felt that they no longer needed God.  Down to the priest who followed the kings even though they knew God yet they stopped serving God but served themselves, as they fed of the people and this was done by leading them to serve other gods.  Not worshiping the true God, we tend to worship other gods who are needy but the other gods promise to give us our hearts desire.  The true and living God demands to be served, the living God is sovereign and does for his sake, his purposes, and his glory.  Yet, ultimately His glory overflows onto his people.  But if you don’t know God by following him, you would think that God doesn’t care about your desires as the other gods do.  So we say to ourselves, these other gods say if we do steps 1 through 10, we will get our way right now; so who needs a God who has complete control holding back my blessings. Also, these other people worship these gods but when I worshiped the God of our father’s these people stood in our way of progress.  But when we join them in worshiping their gods, we can be comfortable.  Honestly we want a god without commandments and sovereignty just passive suggestions and a magic wand.

YOU DON’T BELIEVE HIM

As we lose knowledge of God and as we see what we think is the good life being lived by others who worship different gods and idols, we believe less and less.  Soon we have no faithfulness towards God as we are getting what we want and our lives are comfortable as we follow the surrounding culture.  Because we don’t believe God and trust His promises as they take too long, our love for God fades away.  And there goes our knowledge of God, and no even the name or word “God” means nothing and because interchangeable with whatever god is being nice to us at the time.

PUTTING ON ARMOR

So what does having knowledge of God have to do with putting on the whole armor of God?  And what does this fighting through the crowd have to do with the armor of God also?  How is all of this related?  We are changed to be strong in the Lord by the strength of the Lord’s might. To do so we have to know God, we need knowledge of God.  We have to know what is the strength and power of God in order to be strong and stand in it.  We are then told to put on all of the armor so we can stand against the devil’s schemes or methods. In order to stand against a scheme, you have to be able to recognize the scheme when you see it.  The devil is lair and he is the father of lies and his schemes are based in lies.  The best defense against a lie is knowing the truth.

John 14
“Do not let your heart be troubled; [a]believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas *said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”

 

Jesus tells us that he is the way, the truth and the life, Jesus is our means of defense against the lie as Jesus is the Word made flesh.  And it is the job of the Holy Spirit to bring back to mind the word of God that gain knowledge about through following Christ to combat the schemes. Knowing the truth which is Jesus leads to us having knowledge of God the Father.

Ephesians 6

14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 [f]in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

 

The belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, shoes our readiness by way of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit which is the word of God.   This is the armor of God, without knowledge of God how can any of this armor hold together? Without a knowledge that draws and compels us to following Christ how can we even acquire the armor?  Without a faith producing knowing of God we are defenseless.  We are held together but individually and collectively by a belt of truth, Jesus Christ as he is the truth.  Our Christ secured our breastplate which protects our heart from the cost of sins as it is the righteousness Christ earned and gave to us.  On our feet is a living, breathing, and walking message of a faithful God who through the readiness of the Son brought peace to us.  We are eager to preach this Gospel of peace of which we are ambassadors and are not ashamed.  We stand behind our faith in all situations because we trust God whether in or out of the furnace.   Our shield guards us against anxieties and charges of the devil, our flesh, and the world.  Our faith is in Christ, and he is our source of faith.  Our mind is renewed by the helmet of salvation as we are being conformed into the image of the Son.  It is here that the enemies attack our assurance of salvation.  We wield a sword which is the word of God our holy scriptures.  A sword is not only used for defense but mainly for attacking.  The swing of a sword has an immediate impact on the target. The target will die, dodge, run away, submit, surrender, or even fight back.  But if the target fights back, our knowledge of God tells us that the target is already defeated.  The word of God carries with it the weight of God’s glory.  It’s like the voice of a parent that is miles away from their child.  One call to mom or dad whom the child respects and loves; in an instant there is an impact on the child’s behavior.   So should the Word of God have an impact on His children because we know Him?

Our lack of knowledge has made our sword dull and rusty, our armor no longer shines or protect, and our shoes are dry rotten from being in storage. Our belt doesn’t fit or match our chosen lifestyles so we have tossed it and exchanged the belt of truth for a lie.  We have taken of the helmet because salvation and being set a part much us stand out and look different.  The other nations talk about us and give us a hard time and we want peace with them more than peace with God, so we compromise God until he is unrecognizable as we beat him down into the acceptable box.  We have taken off the breastplate of righteousness as being holy isn’t fun as following our wicked hearts God was protecting.  In all of this taking off, we have come to the conclusion that the problem is people, flesh and blood thus the best way to deal with that type of enemy is tolerance and relativity seeking to coexist.  But this only leads us to giving into the schemes which dilutes truth.

One way to defeat an army is using a diversion to focus the battle in the wrong place for an ambush.  The Satan has led us to believe that the problem is outside of and we think that the crowd is not made up of flesh and blood.  So we think we came overcome through affirmations and self-help.  We think if we follow the steps that we can achieve.  We believe that other people are hating and blocking our success.  So we don’t go through but flow with the crowd because everyone else believe in the same thing, having the same mindset. So we settle for what they say we should want.  Ambushed, we become the willing hostage who is completely oblivious to the real problem. The crowd is not flesh and blood as well as the people we think stand against us or drag us with them. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” There is a mark that is shared by the other nations.  No matter what they call the mark it still share the same goal and achieve a common purpose. The breaking of the shield,  the dulling of the sword, the removal of the belt, the cracking of the breastplate,  the splitting of the helmet and the untying of the shoes all to dress us like them. As long as we are dressed for war we will get attached because we are a reminder of the knowledge of God they choose to reject and exchange.

In the morning we have to deny the lies we tell to ourselves, the lies Satan whispers, and the lies the world markets.  We have to trust the truth God has already proclaimed, trust the truth Jesus has already secured, and trust the truth the Spirit is leading us in. Because of this we need the whole armor of God that we, Satan, and the world tries to shame us into not putting on by calling us weak.  But when we doubt we run to those who call us strong when we really are weak.  We run to hear from those who say, you can do it, when we can’t.  We run to those who tell us to try harder, but trying harder makes it worse. We run to those who tell us to fix the broken heart that the Lord is looking for. God asked for our love, faith, and broken hearts; all of which are weak. Don’t believe the lies of the false prophets, there wasn’t a strong person in the bible, even the Son of God was made weak by putting on flesh.  We can’t be who we are because we are trying to be the impossible without Jesus.  Our brokenness displays God the best as we let God love us. Denying our weakness by fighting against it is not humility but selfishness.  So how can the word of God encourage you when we believe the lie that everyone was strong?  God used and blessed the worse because it’s about God. We will never see God if all we see is us. God helps the helpless, the hopeless, the needy, the unfaithful and all of whom who sincerely love Christ are the brokenhearted and contrite spirit.  The ones with a false sense of strength will never fight through the crowd just to touch his hem. To push through the crowd, that wasn’t great faith but walking and conforming faith. It was living faith that was working its way to whom the faith came from.  The strong want Jesus to come find them, no sense of urgency.  So the strong die and the weak run to life in Christ.   If God knows you, you don’t have to fight for his attention.  Fight to remember him not the other way around.  The Holy Spirit will remove the “magic” that blinds us from seeing things as they really are.

By admitting our weakness, we will find it natural to run not walk to the one source of grace; Jesus Christ. But the stronger we think we are, the longer we delay in seeking for God’s grace which is in fact Jesus Christ.  People who think that they are strong will sit down on God and demand service.  They spend a lifetime saying what God should do for them. They never walk by faith.   The promise goes, if you draw near to me, I will draw near to you (James 4:8).  You draw nearby walking by faith that the veil has actually been torn in two and we can walk into the holy of holies where Jesus Christ is sitting on the throne of grace high and lifted up. Let us go to our joy and peace, we will see that grace is sufficient. The good that the Lord brings will always have eternal wealth and a value unimaginable.  Our eyes are too focused on temporal things to notice. Things that are not worth much always scream about its value, “Look at my expensive appearance”. So we must armor up and stand in His strength because we know him and knowledge of the Truth who is Christ will expose the lying schemes of Satan that appear so amazing and magical.

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