By: Ann Lindholm, Liberty Cross Ranch
Since September 11th I have been heavily involved in the fight to protect our nation. For the first ten years or so I was going after the wrong enemy until God revealed to me who our real enemy was and why we were losing. One can turn to the Old Testament of the Bible and find much on the affects of nations as a whole, falling because they turned their backs on God. In fact, this happened with Israel repeatedly. It is often said that one would be wise to learn from history. Why is it so difficult though? It is so apparent that when nations, families and individuals turn from God, they are ultimately punished for it, as well as their families and entire nations.
The books of Isaiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, and Nehemiah and others are great resources for biblical history on godly rejection and consequences. Let us look into Jeremiah for now. It is a good idea to read all of Jeremiah; however, right now, let us look at Jeremiah 39. The chapter begins with these words-“This is how Jerusalem was taken…” Then it goes on in verse 2: “…the city wall was broken through. Then all the officials of the King of Babylon came and took seats in the Middle Gate…” Further, in v. 4: “When Zedekiah king of Judah and all the soldiers saw them, they fled; they left the city at night by way of the king’s garden, through the gate between the two walls and headed toward the Arabah.”
This paragraph alone is filled with so much insight and wisdom. Let me back-up a bit and explain what I believe the real threat to our nation, the Church, and the family is…it is us. We, as in a nation, as in a church, and as a family, cannot possibly be successful against any outside threat if we, ourselves, are weak. First, our strength begins individually, with God. We must be strong spiritually. Secondly, we as families, must be shrouded in godly unity and strength. Our marriages and our families must be showered with prayer and Holy protection that is only found when we seek His will. Thirdly, as a nation, God’s word makes it extremely clear that nations who seek God’s will and honor His word will find divine protection. Alternatively, nations who turn their backs on God and seek their own will rather than His, will suffer the consequences.
Back to Jeremiah. We are looking at a military action here. A city was overtaken and we are told exactly how it was done. The very first thing that occurred was that the city wall was breached. Only a wall that has a vulnerable position can be breached. Once the wall was breached the officials flooded the gate and poured right in. Not only did they enter the city but they took up seats in the Middle Gate. This is significant because it shows the powerful position they secured with little effort. They were right in the heart of the city at the most important seats of power. The enemy breached a vulnerable place in the wall, poured in to the interior of the city and took-up the most powerful seats within. Wow! But it goes even further than that. When King Zedekiah and all the “soldiers” saw this take place what did they do? Did they fight back? Not even close. They FLED! They left their city. And they didn’t even do it by light of day. No, they cowardly escaped by the cover of darkness through the secret passages of the king’s garden gate. It still didn’t end there, Zedekiah and his men fled into the fields…where the enemy went after them and captured them and slaughtered Zedekiah’s sons and all the nobles of Judah right before his eyes. King Nebuchadnezzar had Zedekiah’s eyes put out and had him shackled to chains and taken to Babylon. The Babylonians set fire to the whole city and broke down the walls to Jerusalem. The only one who was spared was the prophet, Jeremiah, because he was committed to God and His will. Even the enemy recognized this and spared his life.
Look at the Family today and over the past several decades. We have major breaches in our walls and a very weak army. As soon as a problem or a difficulty arises we are so quick to flee. The first mistake is that our walls of protection are not fortified with the power of the Holy Spirit and our own individual walks are weak. Jeremiah was spared while all the others were not, all because he was committed to God and His truth. God has shown repeatedly that He will protect those who are committed to Him. Also, our marriages are not sanctified in the blood of Christ. Sure, the vows may have been taken within the walls of church and in front of a pastor, but are our marriages truly bathed in prayer on a daily basis? Are spouses praying over one another? Are we spending time as a family in the greatest weapon we have, the Holy Word of God? Are parents training their children up in the way of the Lord? It is the responsibility of parents to show their children how to fight for good and against evil. We are to show them the weapons and tools that God has provided as well as how to use them. These things create a fortified wall around our family. If the wall starts out weak, we are extremely susceptible to attacks and breaches. Additionally, if we live outside of God’s will we create a breach in the wall that is supposed to protect our family. Every family member has a spot in the wall to protect and once we allow sin into our lives our portion of the wall has become weak and vulnerable. This means because of our sin our whole family is vulnerable to attacks by the enemy. Over and over again God has shown that He will punish those who reject Him as well as their decedents. It is up to us, individually, to do everything we can to protect our loved ones in the way that we live our daily walk with Christ.
Next, are our families prepared to fight? All too often the first line of response to difficulty in marriage is divorce. Much like King Zedekiah and his soldiers, at the first sign of a problem, they flee. It’s as if we do not have it in us to fight for what is ours, for what we have committed to God to fight for. We have no strength to stand-up to attacks by the enemy. We have no intestinal fortitude to stand-up and say, “NO! I will not give in to you Satan. In the name of Jesus, flee Satan, flee!” Moreover, if our first tactic is to flee into the fields, out in the open and vulnerable pastures of the world, we have run right into a trap, just as the army of Zedekiah where we will surely be captured by the enemy. The world is not our safe place, it is not on our side. Our first line of defense should always be the power of the Holy Trinity. Our second line of defense is our extended family and the Church, not the world.
The Church is failing today in several ways as it lacks accountability, discipleship, and genuine godly leadership. King Zedekiah rejected God, even though he recognized that Jeremiah’s god was almighty and powerful, he still refused to accept Him. He did however, protect Jeremiah, because God’s protection was over Jeremiah. King Zedekiah led his men astray because of his lack of commitment to God so not only was Zedekiah destroyed but his family and soldiers were destroyed. Jeremiah made many attempts to hold Zedekiah accountable but the king refused and rejected divine leadership and guidance. King Zedekiah began weak and ended in annihilation.
Let us jump ahead into the New Testament of Matthew. It is always good to read the entire chapter but we will move ahead and begin with v. 22. The Pharisees were doing everything they could to trap Jesus and bring charges against him for carrying out acts of healing and miracles on the Sabbath, which was against the law of the Old Covenant. The Pharisees tried to accuse him of carrying these things out in the name of Satan, simply because he was doing them on the Sabbath. In v. 25 it begins, “Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, ‘Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.’
There is no victory for a team that is divided, it is impossible.
‘Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can plunder his house.’
The only way for anyone to take what you have or what you are guarding is if you are just simply too weak to protect it or by tying you up with distractions. Satan is very good at this and it can come in many forms: sports, pornography, social media, TV, addiction, adultery, pride, self-indulgence, etc. Once we succumb to any of these we have allowed Satan to tie us up, distract us and have full access to what we were supposed to be guarding-our hearts, our families, the Church, and our nation.
‘Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
‘Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.’
Everyone will have to give an account for their words and their actions, period. How will we stand at Judgement?
Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.”
So often we want a “sign” from God for what we are supposed to do or to help us believe in Him. Do we really need signs? Isn’t all of His creation a sign? Aren’t the miracles of life a sign? In other words, He is telling them their faith is weak, just as ours can often be.
He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here. The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now something greater than Solomon is here.
We have turned from God, as a generation and as a nation, we are a wicked and adulterous people. We deserve no signs.
“When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”
Have you ever attempted to get right with God and then pride sets in because your walk is so strong, you’re doing all the right things, all the right motions, etc., only to find that you fall back? We feel like we are “doing” everything right and grow this false sense of security and begin to let our guard down and then we’re attacked and fall even harder than before. We must always be on guard, always burrowed deep in His word, saturated in prayer, in fellowship with other brothers and sisters, and constantly seeking His protection. Everyday we must repent of our failures and seek forgiveness, wisdom and strength.
In conclusion, to win this battle against the enemy, we must first recognize who the enemy is. It is ultimately Satan. Yes, in the flesh, we are at war with Islam and many other enemies. But ultimately we are at war with Satan, as it is Satan who is working through the fleshly enemy. Our only defense is found in the Cross. It begins with each individual and our spiritual walk with Christ. Then it reaches out into our families, then our churches, our nation, and finally the world. How do we do this? It begins with accepting Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior. We must daily seek the Cross and take a personal inventory everyday of what we must change and improve. We must hold ourselves accountable to God. Secondly, we must take responsibility for strengthening our family with the Armor of God. We must make a personal commitment to God and to our family before anything else, period. And we must recognize that our spouse is not our enemy, they are on our team. Any division here will cause the house to fall. We must then make a commitment to hold our brothers and sisters accountable and to lift them up in the strength of our Lord. Finally, we must pray for our nation, our leaders, and our people. We must pray for a godly revival that will awaken a nation that is covered under a divine protection from our Creator who will conquer the world.