Spiritual warfare is ruthless survival; it is kill or be killed. Your enemies are the curses of Eden, unholy desire, and unbelief. These are vengeful rancorous brigands. They must be exterminated with extreme prejudice. Ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars.
If you should fail to kill these adversaries, they will attack you and shackle your life with the despotic cruelty of the fallen Adamic nature. They shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you. In numbing complacency your spiritual vision will be snuffed out by a warm blanket of fleshly wants. They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the LORD commanded them: but were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works. Those who fail to slay their carnality will remain captives in their own dungeon of sensual desire, for a lifetime fed with spiritual oppression and death.And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them. Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils.
Failure in battle is caused by leaving your enemies alive, by treaty, by cowardice, by hiring mercenaries, by repose, and by chronic tranquility. These devices are well illustrated in Israel’s actions as they possessed the land of Canaan. Any of these will attend your failure. Here is how it can happen.
1. Leaving Your Enemies Alive.
Failure in battle is always caused by leaving your enemies alive. This was the case with Achan, when he kept the gold and garments of Jericho. I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent. Achan failed to kill his carnal cravings. Instead, his lust conceived into actions, which then procured the death of their master. And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters … and all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire.
If Achan had slain his internal foes they would not have been around to destroy him at Jericho. While you covet your enemy’s possessions, he continues to live in your heart. You must not participate in the lust for the things of the world, nor in the earthly frenzy to mollify the five senses. These cravings are not to be appeased, but eradicated.
2. Treaty With The Enemy.
Your enemies are masters of deception. Selfishness, lust, and doubt, are subversives that operate by stealth. Armed with “justifications,” these liars arrange for safe harbor in your thoughts. This deceit was experienced by Joshua, as he was tricked into an alliance with the treacherous Gibeonites. And they went to Joshua unto the camp at Gilgal, and said unto him, and to the men of Israel, We be come from a far country: now therefore make ye a league with us.
Surreptitiously your enemies come, with plausible justifications, seeking to negotiate a treaty with your spirit. “We live far away,” is the lie that makes you think they are harmless. “He has it coming,” is the excuse that gives succor to spite. “He brought this upon himself,” is the pretense that forestalls forgiveness. “I deserve this indulgence,” is the excess that justifies willful sin.
By these and their siblings, a compact is made with the enemies you came to kill. Your warfare against these foes then ceases, along with your own spiritual hope. And Joshua made peace with them [the Gibeonites], and made a league with them, to let them live.
Worse yet, these adversaries will one day be attacked by some warrior of greater resolve than yourself. And then by your own treaty, you will find yourself defending the enemies you were supposed to have slain. And the men of Gibeon sent unto Joshua to the camp to Gilgal, saying, Slack not thy hand from thy servants; come up to us quickly, and save us, and help us.
Show no mercy to the Canaanites. Do not allow accusation, ill will, lust, or worldly addiction to live in your heart. You must destroy your justifications for selfishness, malice, prideful desire, and self-pity. These alliances will be fatal for you, eventually costing your own blood to defend them.
As the battles of God loom into your life, betimes you will yearn for earlier days. In retreating from pain, you might look to the leeks and garlic’s of your former peace.
But this was the error of wilderness Israel. Having escaped Egypt, they refused to enter the conflicts of Canaan. These pacifists were the enemies of God. All this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.
Warriors that won’t fight, will die in shame, consumed by their own fear and temporal desire. “I don’t want to confront this problem,” is not the sentiment of a professional warrior, but that of Satanic self-preservation.
There is no shame to those who die in battle. Shame is only the companion of cowardice. If you cling to worldly peace and carnal pride, you will waste your life and lose the promised land. Do not be afraid. Do not refuse this battle. When you find yourself plotting a truce, pick up your weapons and charge the enemy. No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
4. Hiring Mercenaries.
After many years living in the bounty of Canaan, the Israelites once again lost their taste for battle. At Gilgal, the same spot that had been the hub of invasion, the cowards of later generations sued for peace. Once again they shrank from the warfare that God had ordained.
Confronting the God who had saved them, these patsies demanded a human king to fight their battles for them. Nay, but we will have a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles. Their sniveling resulted in the appointment of Saul. And all the people went to Gilgal; and there they made Saul king before the LORD.
The people wanted Saul for a surrogate warrior. He was hired as a mercenary. But God has ordained battle as the process that produces spiritual maturity within individuals. Seeking to avoid this battle, is the rejection of God and his plan. Accordingly, God was not pleased. Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts. All their wickedness is in Gilgal: for there I hated them: for the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house, I will love them no more.
In trusting Saul to do their fighting for them, the people were disarmed. So it came to pass in the day of battle, that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people that were with Saul. Your spiritual maturity can be gained only by your own sword. The Israelites abdicated this responsibility, and so came to be governed by evil. And Saul’s servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee.
The employment of mercenaries is “vicarious warfare.” Vicarious warriors are hirelings, concerned with their own self-aggrandizing programs. These are the preachers, denominations, and rituals of Organized Christianity. Like Saul, they have been hired to kill the Canaanites for their congregation. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.
But hirelings work for money and prestige. They are unconcerned with personal obedience, and care even less for your spiritual wealth. <SPAN> Instead, they flutter over group dynamics, to the contradiction of God. Like Saul, they will leave your enemies alive. But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them.
Trusting in a church is your own death warrant. There is no pastor or group of people that can terminate the Canaanites that dwell in you. Thou obeyedst not the voice of the LORD, nor executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek. And the enemies they spare, are the ones that will eventually kill you. And he [Saul] said unto me, Who art thou? And I answered him, I am an Amalekite. He [Saul] said unto me again, Stand, I pray thee, upon me, and slay me.
King David was a great warrior. By the design of God, battle was his forte. Accordingly, David’s greatest failure came when he sought his ease. After a long restful winter, David should have been at battle with all Israel, destroying the enemies of God. And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon. But instead, David sought the repose of peaceful distraction. But David tarried still at Jerusalem.
David should have been at war with his men, not pussyfooting around the palace. This desire for leisure brought David to defeat. David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. If David had been camped with the armies of Israel, he would not have come to failure. And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her.
So also, God has called you to be a warrior. If you succumb to lenient idleness, God will send you far more fierce and terrifying adversaries. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.
Warriors that won’t fight, will come to ruin. You must be vigilant, valiant, and ever-ready to slay the enemies that creep from your own mind.
6. Chronic Tranquility.
Those who have been successful in avoiding combat are today spiritually stunted or dead. As a warrior, Solomon represents this silver spoon of failure. Solomon lived in peace and plenty. He did not war to achieve his greatness. His kingdom was a gift, not a possession acquired in battle. I will give him rest from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days.
But tranquillity is the parent of failure. Without hardships, warriors cannot be developed, and this was the case with Solomon. Not possessing the individual strength that is acquired in combat, Solomon was later slain by idolatry. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God. Placid abundance is the desire of mortals, but it is lethal to the Sons of God. Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, … I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant.
Warfare is a necessity for spiritual maturity. Every permanent possession in the spirit realm is acquired in battle. If you spare your enemy or run from your battles, you will fail. Only the warriors who attack their enemies and overcome them, will ever be found worthy to walk upon the walls of spiritual greatness.