What’s at stake in the battle for souls
1 Samuel 30:1-25
SUDAN – Sudan school still in shock after fatal air strike
>> Five are in serious condition and another 10 are still missing from the school run by the Roman Catholic Church about 800 km (500 miles) south of the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.
>> Sudanese government officials defended the bombing, saying the school was a legitimate target in the country’s long-running civil war.
>> An amateur video, shot minutes after the bombs rocked the school, shows one boy wandering around with a mangled hand and the headmaster trying to hold together … (deleted due to the graphic nature of the description). The boy died minutes later.
>> Dirdiery Ahmed, a minister in the Sudanese embassy in Nairobi, said after viewing the video footage of the attack: “The bombs landed where they were supposed to land.”
>>The conflict, one of the longest running on the continent, has killed more than 1.5 million people.
SOURCE: 2/11/00 Reuters report, by Godfrey Mutizwa
1 Chronicles 12:32 & 38 “…men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do… They came to Hebron fully determined to make David king over all Israel.”
Matthew 9:35-36 “Jesus went through all the towns…healing every disease and sickness…When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
David and his men had come to the end of themselves before. In the Bible Reading today, you saw what happened back home while they were away fighting the Amalekites. Can you imagine how David and his men must have felt when they returned and found their families abducted? In 1 Samuel 30:4 we read that they “wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep.” Their worst nightmares had come to pass; they could only guess what horrible fate awaited their wives and children. In a single blow, all they held most dear, all their hopes for the future had been crushed. They must have felt as though their insides had been ripped out.
This is how Jesus feels as He looks at humanity today. The status quo is intolerable for Him! The devil is an interloper, a marauder who is carting off our families and our friends, deceiving them with his lies. As 2 Corinthians 4:4 says, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ…” And Jesus refuses to passively accept that.
Things have not changed so much since David’s day. There are still masses of oppressed and hurting people in the world, and Jesus’ heart still breaks for them. He is sending us off as His representatives to get them back. If we truly claim to love Jesus, then our hearts must break like His for those blinded by Satan and enslaved to sin. “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20).
David’s saving grace was that he would inquire of the Lord in times of crisis. In desperation, he questioned at Ziklag, “Shall I pursue this raiding party?” The Lord responded, “Pursue them; you will succeed in the rescue.” That is exactly what happened, and that is the one reason why the men of Issachar are determined to make David king. They were no doubt grim men; they were warriors whose spirits had been seared. Their motto might have been, “Victory or death!” They understood the times and knew that radical measures needed to be taken.
We also must be willing to engage in spiritual battle with fervor because no less is at stake for us. Many of us have been rendered complacent by our prosperity and the complacent, spineless faith that is America’s standard. But our families and friends – and millions of others, lost and blinded to the truth throughout the world – are being carted off by the enemy without much resistance on our part. Our blindness to spiritual things has made it hard to perceive the violence.
It’s our privilege to proclaim that a Kingdom has now come with the power to free those in bondage to sin and death! The world does not understand this – of course they’re not motivated to action because of it! But it is inexcusable when the Church, which has been blessed to have the eyes to see and the ears to hear this wonderful truth, is unwilling to act on its understanding. We need to be warriors like the men of Issachar, able to see the battle for what it is, determined to instate their king, men and women who “understand the times” and who have the courage to do what must be done.
1. Do you have a sense of urgency about the Great Commission and taking back spiritual
territory for the Lord? Why or why not?
2. Where is God moving in the world? Where is the Church struggling? How is God developing in you a warrior’s heart for the battle being fought in America?
3. Reflect on the martyrdom of Christians in the Sudan. What would make it difficult to die for your faith if the Lord asked you to do so?
4. What are some of the ways that sin has specifically hurt you or your family?
5. When have you been personally impacted by interacting with someone in the midst of pain?
6. What responsibility do I have to those who are hurting? Why does John say that love for God and love for humans is inseparable?
Ask: “Lord, I want to build your Kingdom, but I’m so often distracted. I miss the big picture. A lot of your children do. Will you please help me to get in the fight?
Show me where I have shut the world’s pain out of my life.
Show me how you feel.
Lord, what difference can I make?
What would you have me to do to respond to those who are hurting?
I want to be in the arena, fighting for you, Lord. Show me what to do today.”
Listen: Write down what you perceive Him to be saying.
Obey: What will you do?
Evaluate: What happens as a result?
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I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.