I'm in shock that we're almost finished with this study. Each week, I fall deeper and deeper into this book and I just don't want it to end! Girls, this week has been a little rough for me. I've needed to hear these things, and God knew that. I love how He puts certain topics/issues on me just when I need them.
We covered a couple of different topics this week, but what I really want to focus on is the chapter on Jehovah-nissi. The Lord my Banner. I think this name of the Lord pertains to all of us more than anything else--attaining victory over our enemy, the flesh.
While reading through this section, we go through Exodus 17, which is the story of Moses and the Israelites battling the Amalekites. I honestly don't think I've ever read this story, so I'll summarize it for you (as best as I can). The Lord brought the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt and continued to bless them, yet when they got to a land and could find no water, they questioned why God had brought them there. Moses asked the Lord, and the Lord gave him orders to stand on the rock at Horeb, strike the rock, and water would come. The Amalekites were in this land, so The Lord ordered the Israelites to fight the Amalekites. As long as Moses held up his staff of God, the Israelites would win, and vice versa. When Moses got tired, his friends helped him keep his arms and the staff raised to the Lord. As I read all of this, I just read it as a story. I didn't really grasp the reason the Lord told us this story, nor why Arthur included it in this book.
But of course, in the next section, she delves deeper into this and explains it for us. The Amalekites symbolize the battle with the flesh. We are the Isrealites, and Moses symbolizes Jesus Christ standing in the gap for us. I really loved the part when Aaron and Hur held Moses' arms up for him when he was tired--such a beautiful picture of friendship and how community is so important to our faith.
This battle of the flesh is such an important one--it covers impurity, idolatry, sorcery, jealousy, outbursts of anger, envying, drunkenness, and so forth. The battle of the flesh often triumphs over us as humans, because we are so quick to sell eternal value in order to gain temporary satisfaction. As Arthur says, "the flesh knows no respect or reverence for God--or for the things of God." Dark and light can't coexist together.
Some of the most intense fighting can be found in the human heart between the flesh and the spirit. A Christian isn't a person who experiences no bad desires or sinfulness--a Christian is a person who is at war with those desires. This war just means that the Spirit is within us, battling the flesh, not allowing the sinfulness to take over. Sometimes our soul is going to feel like a battlefield, but we don't need to be discouraged by this--this just means that we're doing as the Lord wants us to do. Walking by the Spirit is the only way we can overcome these sinful desires of the flesh.
A verse that I want to remember is Galatians 5:24, "Now those who belong to Jesus Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." If we belong to Christ, we have crucified the flesh, which means the flesh has no power over us! To belong to Christ, we must obey Him. We must listen to Him. We must be righteous and strive to defeat our sinful desires. Christ has already won this battle for us, but we must take on His armor daily and stand firm in His word and promises.
Christ intercedes for us, so we can be confident in our faith. "Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Jesus Christ to all generations forever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21
I'm praying over each of you this week to have victory over the battles of the flesh--praying that the Lord develops the fruits of the Spirit in your life! Remember that the more you are within the Lord, this inner battle becomes greater and greater. Take heart in this fact, because the Lord will never forsake us!
What have you learned this week? Tell me about the battles you're going through. Is the Lord teaching you anything through this study? I'm so eager to reread these chapters in the weeks to come. I know the Lord has a lot more to teach me!