“And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” Daniel 11:32 WEB
In the last post, “Preparing to Stand”, I introduced the Ephesians 6 passage which many Christians are familiar with in reference to spiritual warfare. But when I was reading it recently, I saw it slightly different, that all Christians need this passage in order to walk through every day life. Does that include warfare and confronting evil – of course, but I’m not going to focus on this aspect, as the devil just LOVES to pull saints into the exhausting and all-consuming path of constant warfare. Fight when we must, yes, but let’s do it smartly and efficiently! (And out of a place of resting in Him!) Let’s put the enemy under our feet where he belongs. One of the best ways to do that is to see him in relation to God. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together. (Ps 34:3 WEB) Yes, that’s right, let’s get out our magnifying glasses and see God in His right proportions!
Lets recap a little bit. In Ephesians 6:11-13 (HCSB) we read:
“Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.”
Ok, so how do we stand, or prepare ourselves to stand – ‘having prepared everything’? I do not have all the answers, but I think that I have at least a handful of tips to pass along to help you on your journey. And have no fear, God has been teaching you and preparing you Himself as well! More than you even realize I’m sure! But today let’s start with vs 10:
“…, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength.”
This is where the Daniel verse comes in. All the heroes of the bible knew “their God”. They were not natural leaders or heroes, God made them so. He knew their hearts and their potential and He empowered and led them to do great things. David always comes to mind more than the rest.
As a young boy he was a shepherd. I fully believe his relationship started with God when he was young and out in those fields and in the mountains alone with the sheep and God. If you read the Psalms, he is constantly referring to the greatness of God and His handiwork. He could look up in the night sky and ‘measure’ the size of God by the immeasurable display of stars in the sky. How big is your God?
In Psalm 29 David talks about the Voice of the Lord. With lines like “The God of glory thunders”; “the voice of the Lord in power”; “the voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord shatters the cedars of Lebanon.”; “The voice of the Lord flashes flames of fire”; “the voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness”, I am reminded of His power and His might. I remember watching the second Chronicles of Narnia movie and thinking immediately of this psalm, when the Lion roared and the sound of that roar changed everything in its path. If His voice is that powerful (and it is), then how about His Righteous Right Hand? And, He who spoke the world, the universe and the multiple universes that surround us, into existence is the One who we are told “be strengthened by the Lord, and by His vast strength”. How Great is your God?
I’ve had a couple of ‘glimpses’ of the immensity of God. In those moments, the biggest trouble on the earth shrinks to nothing in comparison. One day, I needed a reminder, so He led me to multiple passages, in addition to Psalm 29. I think it was so that I could return to them whenever I needed to remember just how big and how great He really is. I personally love the passages at the end of Job, when God confronts him with who He is and who Job is not. The conversation ends with Job once again soberly awed in the Fear of the Lord. Once again, he is, in no uncertain terms, reminded of how great his God is.
A pastor friend recently spoke of this verse in Isaiah 40. Again from the HCSB version, from verse 12:
“Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand or marked off the heavens with the span of his hand? “
I’ve always tried to picture the things I read, I guess in order to remember and to better comprehend their reality. Do that with this last verse. Look out at or call to remembrance that last time you saw the night sky on a very clear night, or saw a picture of a ‘gazillion’ stars or universes and galaxies. Try to picture a great hand measuring these out – from thumb tip to pinkie tip, hand spread open. How large is that hand? How large is that God?
For me, this picture puts things a bit more in perspective when troubles seem large and looming. Several times today I thought of a line from a worship song we sing, which is actually the latter half of Romans 8:31:
“What shall we then say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?“ (WEB)
Therefore, I adjure you, “.., be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. Know who your God is, the creator of all, and be in relationship with Him and allow yourself to stand in His strength, for all things are possible in Him. Check out and think upon Psalm 91 for assurance, and the promises for those who are in relationship with and relying on Him. Read and mediate upon all of Isaiah 40 for His comfort, His hope, and a humbling yet empowering perspective.
Need a visual reference? Take about 45 mins to an hour (to give time to just be still and think about what you’ll see and hear) and watch Louie Giglio’s message on “How Great is Our God” – http://youtu.be/atUGBua2AzE – for both the largeness and the closeness and intentionality of God. I LOVE this message, I think I cry every time I see it.
I pray today, that you are once again, or for the very first time, awed by God: by His awesomeness, His majesty, and Love for you. May that Love strengthen and enlighten you in your inmost being; knowing with all that you have that His power, His might, and His strength are immeasurable – more than enough for all your needs; no matter how seeminly large the trial or the ‘enemy’.