home > Pastor’s Desk > 2024 > April 12th > THIS IS HOW AN EXPERT SUCCESSFULLY FOUGHT SPIRITUAL WARS

The distance between the spiritual dimension and our earthly-material dimension is a lot thinner than most people realise! This means that there is a direct correlation between the state of your emotional, spiritual, intellectual, health and your physical health. As part of my ongoing PhD research into aspects of this phenomena I have been struck by how disconnected many people view these realms, and even more so by how many ancients saw it clearly! The forces of darkness who have, in the words of Jesus the Christ, “come to steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10) often do so literally—that is, physically and materially. Perhaps I am even more struck by how many today fail to recognise that they way to deal with such spiritual attacks often requires very physical and material solutions. When Jerusalem laid in ruins a hundred years or so after the Babylonians destroyed it, Nehemiah was charged with the rebuilding project. Almost immediately upon his arrival in ruins of Jerusalem he as confronted by three evil men who deceptively did everything they could to hinder him. Nehemiah knew these men were under the evil influence of dark powers. And while he certainly prayed to God for divine help to overcome these forces, he also set about to do something very physical involving much material interaction. Six hundred years before Nehemiah engaged in spiritual warfare in this manner, the young military leader, David, also employed a similar strategy. The result of David’s spiritual warfare was a very physical interaction with evil forces – so much so that he was forbidden by GOD to oversee the construction of the Temple because of it (1Chron. 28:3). But without David’s role in that spiritual war the Jerusalem Temple could never have been built. David was an expert in spiritual warfare and we today can learn much from him about how we should engage in spiritual warfare.

¶ And David spoke to the LORD the words of this song on the day when the LORD
delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. He said,
“The LORD is my rock and
my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation,
my stronghold and my refuge,
my Saviour; you save me from violence.
Second Samuel 22:1-3

This portion of Scripture (2Sam. 22:1-3) occurred at a time after he had been delivered from an impossible situation where the army of the then king (King Saul) had brought his army out to capture David and execute him. After David had been delivered from this threat he recounted what he had prayed to God. In Second Samuel we get a glimpse of what he had been praying. But later, after David had become king, he wrote out his prayer in more detail in Psalm 18. Here’s a summary of Psalm 18 and why it is a great insight into how we should undertake spiritual warfare as well.

Some scholars have wondered why there is so little references to demons in the Old Testament—especially compared with Christ’s ministry described in the Gospels. There are three references to demons in the Old Testament (Lev. 17:7; Deut. 32:17; Ps. 106:37) and one reference to an evil spirit (Judg. 9:23) and three references to a harmful spirit (1Sam. 16:14; 18:10; 19:9). In regard to the references to a harmful spirit they each have a context to David as an exorcist – that is, David had the spiritual power to cast out demons! Thus, when David was violently pursued by King Saul and his murderous agenda, he of all people had every reason to understand that there were demons fuelling Saul’s hatred. With this in mind, consider how Psalm 18 reveals how David engaged with this spiritual warfare:

  1. Psalm 18:1-6 ~ David wrote a poetic prayer celebrating God’s faithfulness. 
  2. Psalm 18:7-15 ~ David’s poetically praises GOD.
  3. Psalm 18:16-24 ~ David’s poetically declares his testimony to those looking to him for leadership.
  4. Psalm 18:25-30 ~ David utters worship of God poetically.
  5. Psalm 18:31-39 ~ David continues to share his testimony poetically.
  6. Psalm 18:40-50 ~ David poetically praised God for his goodness.   

You’ll notice that I have emphasised that David wrote poetically. This is deeply significant. Poetry requires thoughtfulness. Poetry involves the careful selection of choice words. It is almost impossible for good poetry to be produced spontaneously. It would take an infinite intelligence to utter such great poetry spontaneously (which only God has and repeated is recorded as having done so according to the Scriptures).

He trains my hands for war,
so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
You have given me the shield of Your salvation
Psalm 18:34-35a

HOW DAVID ENGAGED IN DEMONICALLY-FUELLED
SPIRITUAL WARFARE

Psalm 18 provides some shocking insights into how spiritual warfare was conducted by David. While Second Samuel 22 describes David’s near-to-the-event poetic response, Psalm 18 was obviously written much later and with greater reflection. The insights that we can gain from a consideration of David’s method of dealing with spiritual attack are pertinent for believers today – who all-too-often have been misled into impotent methods of spiritual fancy rather than the truth prescribed in God’s Word.

For you equipped me with strength for the battle;
you made those who rise against me sink under me.
You made my enemies turn their backs to me
Psalm 18:39-40a

Firstly, when David was under attack, he worshiped GOD. Many Christians too easily abandon their duty to come together and worship GOD when they perceive that are under spiritual attack. If this is you, you are playing into our enemy’s hands!

Secondly, David was considerate of those he influenced and led and he reminded them about the times of GOD’s faithfulness and rescue. The enemy wants you to not recall GOD’s faithfulness and displays of greatness in your life because if you do you are more likely to exercise victorious faith!

Thirdly, David prayed to GOD, not against the enemy or even addressing the enemy! Too many believers are deceived into thinking that true spiritual warfare is simply shouting (loudly) at the devil!

Fourthly, David recognised that spiritual battles involved fighting with natural efforts. Believers today often fail to understand how susceptible our minds are to spiritual malnutrition and poisoning from such things as social media. Similarly we often fail to recognise that physical effort/discipline/exercise is also integral to genuine spiritual warfare. We need to learn from David the spiritual warfare expert and simultaneously heed what the apostle Paul taught about this:

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God,
and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
Second Corinthians 10:3-6

Amen!

Your Pastor,

Andrew

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The Vine and the Umbilical Cord: Life, Abiding and Bearing FruitThe Vine and the Umbilical Cord: Life, Abiding and Bearing Fruit

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KNOWING GOD THROUGH PSALM 22

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