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JFH Devotionals by J.M. Farro

God's Instructions in the Heat of Battle

"Be careful, keep calm and don't be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood… [They] have plotted your ruin… Yet this is what the Sovereign Lord says: It will not take place, it will not happen." - Isaiah 7:4,5,7 NIV

In Chapter 7 of the Book of Isaiah, we find a powerful passage full of life lessons from the Lord that can encourage us and guide us when we are feeling like we are under attack in some way. Here, we find that the King of Aram (Syria) and the King of Israel have joined forces to march against King Ahaz of Judah and his people. The news is so terrifying that Isaiah records that "the hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind." (Isaiah 7:2 NIV) In an effort to encourage and instruct the King of Judah, the Lord sends His prophet to give Ahaz some words of caution and reassurance.

The first thing God tells the king is to "be careful". (Isaiah 7:4 NIV) When we are in the midst of one of life's many battles, it can be very easy for us to be tricked and fooled by others. Jesus told His disciples, "Be careful that no one misleads you [deceiving you and leading you into error]." (Matthew 24:4 AMP) Even people we have been in close relationship with can prove themselves unfaithful, and this is why we need God's perspective in the matter. If we seek His wisdom and guidance, and do our best to follow His instructions, we can save ourselves a lot of heartache and pain.

The next thing God says to Ahaz is "keep calm". One reason why Christians lose so many battles is that they try to fight them on their own. But that is never God's plan for us. Inspired by God, Moses told the Israelites: "The Lord Himself will fight for you. Just stay calm." (Exodus 14:14 NLT) Losing our tempers, or becoming vengeful and vindictive, can get us out of God's will, robbing us of the victories that the Lord has in store for us. On the other hand, keeping calm allows us to hear from God, so we can discover His battle plan, and cooperate with it from start to finish.

Next, the Lord tells us, "don't be afraid". We can make serious mistakes when we misplace our fear. Jesus said, "Don't be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10:28 NLT) When we are under attack, fearing the people who are coming against us, or fearing what others will think of our situation, can allow Satan and his dark forces to have more involvement in our circumstances than necessary. Solomon wrote: "The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever leans on, trusts in, and puts his confidence in the Lord is safe and set on high." (Proverbs 29:25 AMP) If we will focus on pleasing God, and if we will determine to do things His way, He will see that we come out on top in the end.

"Do not lose heart" is the next thing the Lord tells us in this passage. This means that we should not allow our circumstances to cause us to become discouraged. The author of Hebrews wrote: "Just think of [Jesus] Who endured from sinners such grievous opposition and bitter hostility against Himself [reckon up and consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you may not grow weary or exhausted, losing heart and relaxing and fainting in your minds." (Hebrews 12:3 AMP) When we compare our trials to the Savior's, and remember that He sees what we are going through and feels our pain, we will feel less alone in our troubles, and we will resist the self-pity and self-focus that can prevent us from receiving the help and the healing that He offers.

God's final warning in this passage says: "If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all." (Isaiah 7:9 NIV) Another translation says: "Unless your faith is firm, I cannot make you stand firm." (Isaiah 7:9 NLT) God's will for us in every situation is total victory through Christ. But He expects us to do our part. We must determine to keep our faith in Him and His Word, and we must follow His lead wholeheartedly. When we do, we have the Lord's assurance that even though others "have plotted [our] ruin" - "it will not take place, it will not happen"! (Isaiah 7:7 NIV)

Prayer: Lord, I am so grateful that You are so willing to fight my battles for me each and every time. Help me to fully cooperate with You all the way by remaining alert, calm, and unafraid. Guard me from discouragement and despair, and help me to see my situation from Your perspective, and to respond according to Your perfect will and wisdom. Enable me to resist pride, bitterness, and spitefulness, even when I am being mistreated. Thank You that as I follow Your battle plan and focus on pleasing You, I will witness Your delivering and victorious power on my behalf!

- J. M. Farro *This is an excerpt from J. M. Farro's new book, The Promise-Powered Life for MEN, available in Paperback and Kindle (digital) formats.


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