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Monday, February 27, 2017

The LORD will help us find the enemy.

It may seem strange to read the title above.  I mean, why would we want to find the enemy?  Wouldn’t it be better to just avoid the enemy?  Then we don’t need to fight anyone!  This sounds good at first until we realize that our enemy will find us, whether we want to be found or not.

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8 NLT)

We are in the midst of a spiritual war whether we acknowledge it or not.  It also helps when we finally realize that God never promises to hide us from the enemy.  He does promise, though, to give us what we need to fight these enemies.  Success in battle starts with identifying our real enemy.

People are not our enemy.  People are described as captives in this spiritual war (2 Timothy 2:26).  Jesus began the offensive against the enemy, setting captives free (Luke 4:18-21).  Then he trained his Apostles to fight this enemy (Matthew 10:1-15) and then 72 of his followers (Luke 10:1-20).  Finally, he gave all of his followers instructions to get into battle, setting the captives free (Matthew 28:19-20).  People are not our enemy.  The enemy is our enemy.  People are human beings made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27) who have been taken captive by the enemy to do his will.

One day Jonathan said to his armor bearer, "Come on, let's go over to where the Philistines have their outpost." But Jonathan did not tell his father what he was doing. Meanwhile, Saul and his 600 men were camped on the outskirts of Gibeah, around the pomegranate tree at Migron. Among Saul's men was Ahijah the priest, who was wearing the ephod, the priestly vest. Ahijah was the son of Ichabod's brother Ahitub, son of Phinehas, son of Eli, the priest of the LORD who had served at Shiloh. No one realized that Jonathan had left the Israelite camp. To reach the Philistine outpost, Jonathan had to go down between two rocky cliffs that were called Bozez and Seneh. The cliff on the north was in front of Micmash, and the one on the south was in front of Geba. (1 Samuel 14:1-5 NLT)

Its so important to recognize our true enemy.  The Israelites, at times would turn against one another.  Sometimes, the LORD gave Israel victory by turning the enemy against themselves.  We face the same challenge.

It’s easy to see a co-worker, a neighbor, a spouse, a friend, a parent, a teenager, and even a child as the enemy.  When we do, we fight those people as though they are the enemy.  We act like the people who were defeated in battle because they turned against one another.

We treat captives different than we treat enemies.  We fight enemies.  We set captives free.  God gives us everything we need to recognize the difference so we can fight the real enemy…and have victory.

How about you?  Do you see people as your enemy?  Do you see the real enemy at work?  Are you ready to fight the enemy and love people – setting captives free?