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Spiritual Warfare 3: Our Resistance

Spiritual Warfare Day 3: Our Resistance

If the devil and his demonic forces are constantly after us, we would be wise to take a close look at the resistance army fighting alongside us. The Bible often reminds us that, as the people of God, we have angels surrounding us and the Holy Spirit living within us—essentially, all of Heaven is on the side of the believer. What a comfort to know that we do not have to face our enemies alone! We often don’t think or teach about the role of angels, but Scripture is full of powerful stories of angels helping to bring victory to Israel, liberating followers of Christ, saving lives, and carrying critical messages.

Much like our understanding of the devil and his demons, however, our understanding of angels is often heavily skewed by the imagery we see in media and culture. Angels have been heavily mythologized so sometimes Christians feel they should not take them seriously or they treat them as some sort of irrelevant fantasy. In contrast to the devil that supposedly sits on our shoulder tempting us toward sin, the angel sits on our opposite shoulder encouraging us to do the right thing. Many of us also grew up familiar with the popular TV show, Touched by an Angel, and several other inspirational shows and movies that depict angels as kindly spiritual guides who bring messages of hope from God during the trials of life. They are shown flying with wings, white robes, and halos, and are often beautiful women with a fairy-like quality that is meant to evoke peace.

While certainly God does send His angels to intervene in human affairs and bring messages from the Lord to His people, we are also told that these angels are His army. This heavenly army is powerful and mighty and does far more than bring inspirational talking points to the struggling; this army fights with the power of the Lord against all enemies who seek to confound His will. There are far too many biblical examples of angels’ activities to review in this short study, but I will point you to several central texts so you can study them on your own. Take a look at Joshua’s conversation with the angel of the Lord in Joshua chapter 5, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s rescue from the furnace in Daniel 3, Balaam’s encounter with an angel in Numbers 22, and Lot’s escape from Sodom in Genesis 19. Look also at the many appearances of angels surrounding the life of Jesus in the gospel narratives—prior to His birth, at His birth, at His temptation, at His resurrection, and at His ascension. Each of these biblical accounts shows us something unique about the instructive and protective roles of the Lord’s angels.

One powerful and perhaps less familiar story about angels is found in 2 Kings 6. In this passage, the king of Aram sends a massive army to capture the prophet Elisha while at war with Israel:

So he sent there horses and chariots and a great army, and they came by night and surrounded the city. When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (2 Kings 6:14-17, ESV)

Elisha’s servant panics with fear while looking at the approaching enemy army, but Elisha calls on the Lord to show his servant the vast yet invisible army that stands ready to protect them. The Word of God is reminding us that even when it seems that the enemy has us outnumbered and overpowered, we can trust that God’s power will surround and preserve His people. As Matthew Henry notes in his commentary on this supernatural reveal, “The clearer sight we have of the sovereignty and power of Heaven, the less we shall fear the troubles of earth.” 

While we engage in spiritual warfare, we must focus more on the might of our great God than the deceptive pull of the devil. We can fix our gaze on Christ who is sitting on the throne, on the Holy Spirit who lives within us, and on the heavenly hosts who encircle us at God’s command in order to confront the tactics of our enemy with confidence.

I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. (Psalm 34:4-7, ESV)

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