02 February 24, 2013, 2 Timothy 2:3-4 How To Be A Good Soldier In God's Army
HOW TO BE A GOOD SOLDIER IN GOD’S ARMY 2 Timothy 2:3-4 February 24, 2013 First Baptist Church Jackson, Mississippi, USA TWELVE STEP PROGRAM ON ENTERING THE US MILITARY1. Recruited2. It’s your decision3. Enlisted (I’m all in)4. Hurry up and wait5. Separated from family6. Transported7. Transformation begins8. Ground is level9. Instant obedience10. Willingness to suffer11. Desire to please12. Graduation – What banner flies over my head?
PLEDGE TO THE CHRISTIAN FLAG I pledge allegiance to the Christian Flag and to the Savior for whose Kingdom it stands. One Savior, crucified, risen, and coming again with life and liberty to all who believe. PLEDGE TO THE BIBLE I pledge allegiance to the Bible, Gods Holy Word, I will make it a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path and will hide its words in my heart that I might not sin against God. CODE OF CONDUCT FOR THE U. S. FIGHTING MAN1. I am an American fighting man. I serve in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense.6. I will never forget that I am an American fighting man, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America. (There are no atheists in foxholes!)
After Paul wrote the prison letters of Colossians and Ephesians, he wrote 2 Timothy from prison in Rome around 63 A.D. under very difficult circumstances. 2 Timothy was the last letter written by Paul that appears in the Bible. Pauls outlook for his earthly life had darkened considerably from his earlier prison letters. By this time he didnt expect to live much longer. See 2 Tim 4:6-8 2 Timothy 4:6-8 6 “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; 8 in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:6-8 Today’s text: 2 Timothy 2:3-4 NASB 2 Timothy 2:3-4 NASB 3 “Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the One Who enlisted him as a soldier.” 2 Timothy 2:3-4 NASB
In his letter to the church at Ephesus (62 A.D.), Paul had already encouraged them to “be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might”(Ephesians 6:10). Now listen to the military language as Paul says to: "Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm". Ephesians 6:11-13 Paul also admonished the believers at Corinth about the offensive side of that battle, saying, "Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 Our weapons are the Word of God and prayer! Six talking points of interest in today’s lesson concerning what it takes to be a good soldier in God’s army:1. Pray!2. Ground is level.3. Instant obedience.4. Willingness to suffer.5. Desire to please Him.6. What banner flies over your head? PRAY In order to be a good soldier of Christ Jesus, we need to be praying soldiers!
Ephesians 6:17-20 NASB 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert (Gideon’s soldiers) with all perseverance and petition (tell folks that your are an intercessor) for all the saints, 19 and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the Gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador (about the King’s business) in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. Ephesians 6:17-20 NASB1. Pray!2. Ground is level.3. Instant obedience.4. Willingness to suffer.5. Desire to please Him.6. What banner flies over your head? No one is better than anyone else. No one is loved more or loved less by Christ. We are all equal in importance when we are fully obedient to becoming and doing as God desires.
No one is greater than any other. We are called by no merit of our own, gifted by no merit of our own and talented by no merit of our own to be integral but not indispensable to His will. We are to be the body of Christ which gives God glory together. Each one needs every other one. We must hold all other believers in high esteem. The only greatness I can ever achieve is being the servant of everyone. Simple obedience is Gods measure. It makes us all equal. 1 Corinthians 12:17-18 17 “If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.” 1 Corinthians 12:17-18 Romans 12:3-5 NIV 1984 3 “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” Romans 12:3-5 NIV 1984 Salvation is the great equalizer. It makes the ground level at the foot of the cross.1. 1. Pray!2. Ground is level.3. Instant obedience.4. Willingness to suffer.5. Desire to please Him.6. What banner flies over your head? Paul calls on Timothy to serve the Lord as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. A spiritual Christian does not simply do minimum duty for his Lord but serves Him with all that he is and all that he has.
The soldier is conditioned to obedience. The early training of a soldier is designed to make him unquestioningly obey the word of command. There may come a time when such instinctive obedience will save his life and the lives of others. There is a sense in which it is no part of the soldiers duty "to know the reason why.” “Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do and die.” The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred Lord Tennyson Involved as a soldier is in the midst of the battle, he cannot see the over-all picture. Those decisions he must leave to the Commander Who sees the whole field. The Battle of the Bulge … The first Christian duty is obedience to the voice of God, and acceptance even of that which he cannot understand.1. Pray!2. Ground is level.3. Instant obedience.4. Willingness to suffer.5. Desire to please Him.6. What banner flies over your head?
Another mark of a good soldier that Paul mentions is the willingness to suffer hardship. One scholar translates the phrase, "take ones share of rough treatment." By adding “with me”, Paul gives assurance that he would not ask anything of Timothy that he himself was not doing or willing to do. Sunkakopatheo (suffer hardship with) is a compound verb that means to suffer evil or pain along with someone else. It is difficult for Christians in the USA to understand what serious spiritual warfare and suffering for Christ really means in other parts of the world. However, the secular environment in our society is becoming more and more hostile to Christianity. We are not yet faced with loss of job, imprisonment, and execution because of our faith. With few exceptions, being a Christian today in the US will not keep a student out of college or a worker from getting a good job. But the more faithful a Christian becomes and the more the Lord blesses his work, the more Satan will put roadblocks, rejection, and hardships in the way. In the near future, the more evident the spiritual warfare becomes, the more frequent and obvious the hardships will become. A soldier in active service does not have a 9 to 5 job, or even a long 80-hour work week. He is a soldier 24 hours a day, every day of the year. His body, his health, his skills, his time — all that he is — belong to the military in which he serves. Even when on leave, he is subject to recall at any time, without notice and for any reason. Whenever ordered into dangerous duty, a good soldier is expected to put his very life on the line without question or hesitation. Consequently, he is separated from his normal environment, so that he will not entangle himself in the affairs of everyday life.
Entangle himself translates a passive form of empleko, which literally means to weave. Paul is not speaking about things that necessarily are wrong in themselves. It is not that a soldier should have no contact at all with his former friends and surroundings, but that he is not to become caught up and enmeshed in them. Those things that attempt to weave themselves into his life are irrelevant to his soldiering and are always subject to being relinquished. Imagine a soldier in the midst of battle going to his sergeant or his lieutenant and saying, "Sir, Im sorry to have to leave, but I have to go over into the city to see about some business; and then I have a date with a local girl, and I just wont be able to be here for the battle tonight!" A great many Christians are trying to fight like that today! In our culture it is all about our convenience and our comfort. A good soldier of Christ Jesus refuses to allow earthly matters to interfere with the fulfillment of his duty to his Lord. Don’t allow concerns and activities that are innocent in themselves to crowd out the primary purpose of serving Jesus Christ in the advancement of His kingdom. The contemporary church in the US seems to have missed the reality of spiritual warfare. Many have heard only the gospel of easy believism and cheap grace. They have an inadequate concept of the spiritual struggle involved in loving the Lord Jesus Christ. Such people often magnify the petty temporal annoyances of everyday life until they seem like trials of epic proportions!
First world problems. That is as absurd as a soldier in the midst of a raging firefight complaining about the food in the mess hall. Jesus recognized that such disconnection and call to duty required of His faithful disciple, a soldier in His active service, is not easy. Luke 9:57-62 57 As He and His disciples were going along the road, someone said to Him, "I will follow You wherever You go." 58 And Jesus said to him, "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." 59 And He said to another, "Follow Me." But he said, "Permit me first to go and bury my father." 60 But He said to him, "Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God." 61 And another also said, "I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home." 62 But Jesus said to him, "No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." Luke 9:57-62 In the parable of the soils, Matthew 13:22 the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. Matthew 13:22
Those are the kind of professing Christians of whom Peter speaks: 2 Peter 2:20 If after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 2 Peter 2:20 "The worry of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches" of which Jesus spoke are among the affairs of everyday life that can keep one from faithfully serving Him. Just as the dutiful soldier places his life willingly on the line in service of his country, so the faithful Christian will willingly "deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Christ" (Matthew 16:24). He will say with Paul, "I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, in order that I may finish my course, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus" (Acts 20:24). The good soldier in God’s army is willing to suffer hardship for the One Who paid the ultimate price for his salvation.1. Pray!2. Ground is level.3. Instant obedience.4. Willingness to suffer.5. Desire to please Him.6. What banner flies over your head? The next mark of a good soldier is a genuine desire to please the One Who enlisted him as a soldier. A Christians deepest desire is to please the Lord Jesus Christ, his Commander in Chief, the One Who enlisted him. It is impossible to serve two commanders in chief, just as it is impossible to serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). The faithful Christians fondest hope is to be rewarded for loyal service and to hear his Master say, "Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things, enter into the joy of your master" (Matthew 25:21).
Triangle: ◦ Love of God ◦ Fear of God ◦ Desire for God The strong desire to please other people instead of pleasing God is an integral characteristic of fallen man. Because of the continued influence of the old self (Ephesians 4:22), even Christians are tempted to be men-pleasers rather than God-pleasers. Ephesians 4:22-24 NASB 22 “In reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” Ephesians 4:22-24 NASB Many Christians succumb to that temptation and become more concerned about pleasing their fellow workers, their neighbors, and their friends than about pleasing the Lord. That desire inevitably leads to moral and spiritual decline, because pleasing the world, including worldly Christians, demands compromise of Gods truth, Gods standards, and personal godliness. Pleasing people more than God demands forsaking Christ as our first love. 2 Timothy 2:4b that he may please the One Who enlisted him as a soldier. 2 Timothy 2:4b The believer has to establish his priorities – the fellowship of His sufferings over comfort. Philippians 3:10 NASB 10 that I may know Him (personally) and the power of His resurrection (powerfully) and the fellowship of His sufferings (passionately), Philippians 3:10 NASB
Paul is talking about being so entangled in worldliness that one is not able to live the Christian life that is pleasing to the Father. We are to recognize that the Christian life is not a playground; it is a battleground. It is a battlefield where battles are being won, and where battles are being lost also. From the situation of the Ephesian church some years after Paul wrote this letter to Timothy (who was pastoring in Ephesus), we know that forsaking Christ as our first love is possible even when our doctrine is sound and we toil and persevere for Him (see Revelation 2:2-4). When that happens, we must "remember therefore from where we have fallen, and repent" (Revelation 2:5a). We must remind ourselves of Pauls sobering testimony: Galatians 1:10b If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10b When Christ is our first love, we will "have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him" (2 Corinthians 5:9). 1 Thessalonians 2:4 4 “but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the Gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God Who examines our hearts.” 1 Thessalonians 2:41. Pray!2. Ground is level.3. Instant obedience.4. Willingness to suffer.5. Desire to please Him.6. What banner flies over your head? Instant obedience.
Moses, Aaron and Hur. What banner flies over your camp? ◦ See Exodus 17:9-15: Exodus 17:9-15 NASB 9 “Moses said to Joshua, ‘Choose men for us and go out, fight against Amalek. Tomorrow I will station myself on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.’ 10 Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought against Amalek; and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses’ hands were heavy. Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set. 13 So Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. 14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this in a book as a memorial and recite it to Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” 15 Moses built an altar and named it: “The Lord is My Banner”. (Jehovah Nissi) Exodus 17:9-15 NASB This battle was all about God, the battle itself was orchestrated by God. Moses knew this and wanted to make certain the Israelites knew it and remembered it. Nothing that he or they did in the physical realm brought about victory. God’s presence and power took them into the battle and assured the victory when the battle was done.
What battles are you fighting today? Is the battle you are in one that the Lord has chosen for you? Strange question, isn’t it? Scripture is very clear in this particular passage that the Lord, in fact, chooses certain battles for us to fight. Does He lead the way as Jehovah Nissi in your current battles? Perhaps the battle you are in is a battle that you have chosen, one that is outside the will of God? Are you fighting in your own strength? Are you struggling to be victorious in the battle? If Jehovah Nissi is leading the way in your struggle, then you are assured success, but if you are fighting your battle in your own strength, your defeat is imminent. Where in your life do you need God to show Himself strong as Jehovah Nissi – the Lord my Banner – and go before you so that you may know victory? The "banner" would be the battle-standard, a pole, perhaps with an eye- catching cloth upon it. The Bronze Serpent was raised on this sort of pole. The altar is built to commemorate the battle, and what this episode reveals about the nature and character of Jehovah. The Lord is our "battle-standard" because we look to him. Moses had stood above the fray, and his hands rose and fell (presumably holding the Rod of God), until Aaron and Hur sat Moses, and upheld his arms to keep them up. The dry stick wasnt so impressive, but what it represented to the men fighting in the dells below was glorious. This was Gods battle, not theirs. Moses, and his rod were pointing the fighters (in his Mediatorial role) to the Cloud that ever accompanied them. So often in those stories in the wilderness, it seems as though the children of Israel are oblivious to the Presence, the Angel of the Lord, until Moses gets them to look, to focus, to see Who it is that is with them, Who has helped them, Who is for them when their enemies attack them. The explanation that follows the Name is significant. "A hand on the throne of the Lord!" is either an exclamation of outrage (if the hand is the presumptuous hand of Amalek), or it is an exclamation of his own oath (upon the seat of his power and authority). But in any case, the oath is that of The Lord swears to never step back from this conflict until it is utterly complete, until he has exterminated Amalek to the last man, woman, and child. He so identifies himself with this warfare so as to BE what the flag stands for. "I am the flag, rally to me, and in my strength and by my will I, and you, will overcome our foes--these in particular, Amalek and all he stands for." We are weak, but he is strong. We are a wilderness people. The Promised Land is future. Our Amalek is the world, the flesh, and the devil. The battle is the Lords, but we fight it in his strength, by faith, looking to our Mediator, keeping our eyes on him. And in his might we prevail. Its a miracle. But the focus of the verses is on Moses, the mediator of the Old Covenant, and what he stands for.
Clarkes Commentary on the Bible Jehovah-nissi - Jehovah is my ensign or banner. The hands and rod of Moses were held up as soldiers are wont to hold up their standards in the time of battle; and as these standards bear the arms of the country, the soldiers are said to fight under that banner, i.e., under the direction and in the defense of that government. Thus the Israelites fought under the direction of God, and in the defense of his truth; and therefore the name of Jehovah became the armorial bearing of the whole congregation. By his direction they fought, and in his name and strength they conquered; each one feeling himself, not his own, but the Lords soldier. Barnes Notes on the Bible Jehovah-nissi - See the margin, "Jehovah my banner." As a proper name the Hebrew word is rightly preserved. The meaning is evidently that the name of Yahweh is the true banner under which victory is certain; so to speak, the motto or inscription on the banners of the host. Inscriptions on the royal standard were well known. Each of the Pharaohs on his accession adopted one in addition to his official name. Matthew Henrys Concise Commentary 17:8-16 Israel engaged with Amalek in their own necessary defence. God makes his people able, and calls them to various services for the good of his church. Joshua fights, Moses prays, both minister to Israel. The rod was held up, as the banner to encourage the soldiers. Also to God, by way of appeal to him. Moses was tired. The strongest arm will fail with being long held out; it is God only whose hand is stretched out still. We do not find that Joshuas hands were heavy in fighting, but Moses hands were heavy in praying; the more spiritual any service is, the more apt we are to fail and flag in it. To convince Israel that the hand of Moses, whom they had been chiding, did more for their safety than their own hands, his rod than their sword, the success rises and falls as Moses lifts up or lets down his hands. The churchs cause is more or less successful, as her friends are more or less strong in faith, and fervent in prayer. Moses, the man of God, is glad of help. We should not be shy, either of asking help from others, or of giving help to others. The hands of Moses being thus stayed, were steady till the going down of the sun. It was great encouragement to the people to see Joshua before them in the field of battle, and Moses above them on the hill. Christ is both to us; our Joshua, the Captain of our salvation, who fights our battles, and our Moses, who ever lives, making intercession above, that our faith fail not. Weapons formed against Gods Israel cannot prosper long, and shall be broken at last. Moses must write what had been done, what Amalek had done against Israel; write their bitter hatred; write their cruel attempts; let them never be forgotten, nor what God had done for Israel in saving them from Amalek. Write what should be done; that in process of time Amalek should be totally ruined and rooted out. Amaleks destruction was typical of the destruction of all the enemies of Christ and his kingdom.
Isaiah 54:17 17 “No weapon that is formed against you will prosper”. Isaiah 54:17 How does Moses respond in Ex 17:15? ◦ Moses built altar ◦ He named the altar Jehovah Nissi ◦ Jehovah Nissi in the Greek (LXX) = "kurios mou kataphuge" ◦ which in English = "The Lord My Refuge" ◦ For interesting parallel see this same word kataphuge in (Ps 46:1) Psalm 46:1 (NASB95) 1 God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1 (NASB95) When "Amalek" comes... ◦ Keep your eye on Jesus Your Jehovah-Nissi ◦ The LORD your Banner ▪ your Signal ▪ your Standard to rally under! To be distracted > look around To be distressed > look within To be defeated > look back To be discouraged > look down To be delivered > look up To be delighted > look to Christ Who is Jehovah Nissi? Isa 11:10 Then it will come about in that day (what "Day"?) that the nations (who are "nations" in Scripture?) will resort to the root of Jesse (Who is this?) Who will stand as a signal (Hebrew word = nec = banner) (Isa 11:12) He (Who?) will lift up a standard (nec) for the nations and will assemble the banished ones of Israel and will gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. Even today a banner is a standard that bears the colors by which a military unit is identified and behind which troops rally. The "standard-bearer" carries the colors and marching bands are often led by people carrying a banner that identifies the band, and after which the musicians fall in line. So when Moses names the altar Jehovah Nissi, The Lord is my Banner, he proclaims as a memorial - "I rally behind Jehovah. It is He to Whom I look. It is He Whom I will follow."
A wonderful picture of Gods protection & deliverance under imagery of a banner > Psalm 60:4-5 KJV 4 Thou hast given a banner to those who fear Thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah. 5 That Thy beloved may be delivered, Save with Thy right hand, and answer us! Psalm 60:4-5 KJV Psalm 20:5 NASB 5 We will sing for joy over your victory, And in the name of our God we will set up our banners. May the LORD fulfill all your petitions. Psalm 20:5 NASB Even as Moses needed the assistance of Aaron and Hur, so today those called to spiritual leadership need the undergirding of the people to whom they minister. How can you help your pastor, your Bible study leader, etc? Their work is demanding, often discouraging, and fraught with many attacks by the "Amalekites". Christian leaders need your encouragement (word) and support (deed). When was the last time you "took hold" of your pastors hand and verbally expressed your gratitude for his ministry (Psalm 20:5)? A word properly timed will be, in effect, "holding up his hands," and will help to assure spiritual victory in your church under the banner of Jehovah Nissi! O "hold up the hands" of the worker for Christ,Encourage his soul by your prayer; A handclasp, a smile, or a word of good cheer, Will help him lifes burdens to bear. G. W.
What do we learn of warfare? Staff of God ~ His "banner over" us (Song of Solomon 2:4) symbolizes His presence, His power & His provision. Even as He provided food & water He gives us victory in spiritual warfare. When confronted with "Amalekites" dont depend on your zeal or ingenuity to defeat them but on your rallying point, Jehovah Nissi (Romans 8:26, 27; Hebrews 7:25) What some lessons for life? Moses by the staff in his hand looked for victory to God alone, & did not trust the “arm of flesh” The Battle is the Lords, but He often fights thru His human instruments like Joshua & the chosen men. Song of Solomon 2:4 4 “He has brought me to his banquet hall, And his banner over me is love.” Song of Solomon 2:4 The Septuagint translators believed nis·si′ to be derived from nus (flee for refuge) and rendered it "the Lord My Refuge",while in the Vulgate it was thought to be derived from na·sas′ (hoist; lift up) and was rendered "Jehovah Is My Exaltation". Jehovah Nissi: The Lord Is My Banner The Olympic Games always open with an awe inspiring procession of athletes from all the participating countries of the world marching around the field under their countrys banner or flag. The flag is their identification with the
sponsoring country and a rallying point for the athletes and fans. Great cheers go up from the citizens of each country as their team goes by with the flag waving back and forth. We rally round the flag each Fourth of July in the United States to celebrate our freedom. We wave flags, bake flag cakes, display flags and sing a song about our flag - the Star Spangled Banner, at the opening of every baseball game. The most important thing flags or banners do, however, is mark victory. It is well understood that the conquering army in any battle has the right to remove the defeated countrys flag and replace it with their own, usually in the highest spot possible for all to see. The country with the conquering flag has won and now they are in control. THE LORD IS MY BANNER It was over a great battle in the Old Testament that God revealed himself as Jehovah Nissi, THE LORD IS MY BANNER. It happened at the time when Israel was wandering in the wilderness after miraculously crossing the Red Sea. Amalek was the enemy who came against Israel in Rephidim. In Exodus 17:8-16 Moses called on his young apprentice, Joshua, to lead the Israelites into battle while he stationed himself on top of a hill to pray. He had with him his brother Aaron and his assistant, Hur. As Moses lifted his hands and prayed, the Israelites prevailed in the battle but when he let his hands down, Amalek prevailed. So Aaron and Hur set Moses on a rock and held his hands up for him until the battle was totally won. At the end of the day there was victory and God told Moses to write down what had happened and read it in Joshuas hearing. God was thinking ahead to the time when Moses would be gone and Joshua would be called upon to take over leadership of Gods chosen people. Joshua would be the one to cross the Jordan River into Canaan (the Promised Land) and defeat Jericho. He would have plenty of battles ahead of him and God wanted him to remember back to this one and the victory God had given them. Instead of raising a flag, Moses built an altar because in those times, an altar was often used as a place of remembering or marking an important event. This is where Moses called God Jehovah Nissi because he understood the revelation that God himself is our banner, our victory. He is the one who wins our battles. He still does that by the way. When Moses wrote that story down for Joshua, he was also writing it down for our benefit so that we will remember it as we go into battle. How do we know that? There is an interesting thing that God says when he tells Moses to write down the story. God says that he "…will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven." (verse 14b) That means that this enemy would not rise
again - he was defeated UTTERLY. In verse 16, however, Moses says; "…the Lord has sworn: the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation." How is it that God is saying the enemy was completely defeated and yet that there would be future wars with Amalek in future generations? Amalek in this story represents our enemy, Satan, who is active against Gods people in all generations. Even though the literal "Amalek" at that time was completely defeated by Israels army, other Amaleks would rise up against Israel and on down to you and me in our own generation. When you gather under Jehovah Nissi as your banner, trust him that the outcome of your battle will be the same as it was for Moses and Joshua at Rephidim. God is saying there will always be war; dont be surprised by it. He is also saying he is always the winner. What is your battle right now? Drugs? Pornography? Bitterness? Loneliness? Cancer? Dissention? Depression? Hopelessness? Bankruptcy? Injustice? The list goes on and on and if I havent named your battleground you can just fill in the blank. You know what you are at war with and you know that in the heat of battle it is hard to see the victory at the end. Remember Jehovah Nissi. Call upon Jehovah Nissi. Raise your hands in prayer the way Moses did. Dont give up. Ask others to hold your hands up if you get tired. God is faithful to fulfill his word. When your battle is over you will have the right to replace your enemys flag with your own. Set it on high for all to see that Jehovah Nissi is your God who has secured your victory.
Paul does not exhort Timothy to be a common, or ordinary soldier, but to be a “good soldier of Jesus Christ”; for all soldiers, and all true soldiers, may not be good soldiers. There are men who are only just soldiers and nothing more; they only need sufficient temptation and they readily become cowardly, idle, useless and worthless; but he is the good soldier who is the bravest of the brave, courageous at all times, who is zealous, does his duty with heart and earnestness. He is the good soldier of Jesus Christ who, through grace, plans to make himself as able to serve his Lord as shall be possible, who tries to grow in grace and to be perfected in every good word and work, so that he may be in his Master’s battles fit for the roughest and most stern service, and ready to bear the very brunt of the fray. David had many soldiers, and good soldiers too, but you remember it was said of many, “These did not attain to the first three.” Now Paul, if I read him correctly, would have Timothy try to be among the first three, to be a good soldier. And surely I would this morning say to my dear comrades in the little army of Christ meeting here, let each one of us try to attain to the first three; let us ask to be numbered among the King’s mighties, to do noble work for him and honourable service, so that we may bring to our Master’s cause new glory. May it be ours to covet earnestly the best gifts, and since we have had much forgiven, let us love much, and prove that love by our actions.
Our part in the Kingdom of God is dependent upon our obedience to Gods calling. A good soldier is all about pleasing his commanding officer.
He is fully committed and involved in his duty; not worried about anything or anybody else. In the secular field, people may “please” their superiors in various ways; but God cannot be pleased by tricks or treats, nor is He a respector of persons. God is serious about commitment. He is looking for genuine people. Today, we see two types of churches: performance oriented and preference oriented. One is like “Cain” and the other, like “Abel”. Performance-oriented churches focus on the outward things. There you will see all the elements and programs that make it look professional: music with or without meaning, programs without power and dancing without joy. You may see people laughing, but not smiling. Everything is from the head, not heart. It is more about using techniques and technology, than tears. On the other hand, in a Church where God is preferred, you will experience the power and the presence of God; programs are secondary. There, you may see people crying and getting deliverance! Driven by tears than techniques and a passion for God, you see authentic people worshipping an awesome God, in the anointing of the spirit. The word of God is delivered as it is, without any twists, turns or modifications! A good soldier does not make assumptions; instead, he/she keeps communicating with the commanding officer (C. O.) and makes sure that each move is made according to the directions from the C. O. When things are done with human wisdom instead of divine guidance, all you get is some “performance”, not results. Do you go to a Church that is simply focussed on performance, or one that touches the lives of people with the power of God? What about your own life? Is it about pleasing God or just a “performance”? God bless you and speak to you. Let “pleasing God” become your priority! Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for speaking to me. Help me to be a person pleasing you with all that I do-worship, work and in all walks and ways of life. Let my life be spirit-lead and one that makes sense to you. Amen. “When you focus on pleasing God, you can’t focus on your performance; it is one or the other”.