More Than Conquerors, 6: Who Then Is The Victor?
- 2003 18 Sep
For those who do not know me, I am an employee in the Lord's kitchen. Sometimes I stand inside, hot and sticky, and prepare a meal. Other times, I serve food around linen draped tables, ornate with God's finest crystal and silver.
For those who don't know me, I am the Lord's patient. I drink Him in like a tonic, warm and soothing, to heal my infections and wounds. Like a balm, He seeps into my skin, restoring my soul.
For those who do not know me, I am a soldier in the Lord's army. Sometimes I feel like a Private, other times an Officer. Sometimes I lie in a peaceful valley, and other times I'm charging ahead on the front lines, stretching my limbs as I climb a battle-torn hill.
But always, there is a Commander ahead of me.
Jesus works through me, in me, and always ahead of me. So whom do I have to fear?
Real Words to Real Life
When I began writing this series just a few short weeks ago I pretty much felt as though I had the world by the tail. I was serving God in grand dining halls. I drank in healing tonics and lay in peaceful valleys. The work Jesus was doing in me and through me was a joy indeed! If it ever felt good to be alive, it was then. If being a conqueror was something to wave about like a flag, I was proudly displaying my victory.
But over the course of the last two or three weeks, I've hit difficult moments...some so painful, putting one foot in front of the other is a task unto itself. I have cried enough tears to fill all the jars in God's tear room.
Being a conqueror has taken on a whole new meaning. And, to be honest with you, I have had to tell myself more times than I'd like to count, "Eva Marie...you can't give up. You've written articles about being a conqueror...so being a conqueror you must be!"
Discovering the Truth
Nothing helps one discover the truth as quickly as the Truth. And, for my part, here it is:
Ever notice how when a baseball team wins a game, the sportscasters talk about the winning pitcher?
A football game's victory lands on the shoulders of the quarterback...or the coach?
Think back to any war in our history and I'll bet you can't name the individual soldiers...but you can name the generals. Generals Robert E. Lee & Ulysses S. Grant. General George S. Patton, General Norman Schwarzkopf.
Or, how about this name: Joshua.
The book of Joshua begins with these words: After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses' aide: "Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them-to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates-all the Hittite country-to the Great Sea on the west. No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous."
While in Israel last year I had the rare privilege of going down into the very depths of what was once an industrious city, Hazor. (The story of its fall to Joshua can be found in Joshua 11 and my column written for Crosswalk can be read here.) What Joshua did in Hazor he did in no other Northern city; he burned it to the ground. The soot from his fire remains, clinging to the walls, even to this day. As I touched it (if you went to the story on Hazor you will see a photo of me touching the sooty walls), and as I rubbed the black dust between my fingers, I reflected that this was the remains of Joshua's fire.
Joshua's fire. As though he were the only soldier carrying a torch. But it not the individual solders who get the credit. It's Joshua.
Or is it?
Look back with me at what God said to Joshua in His marching orders: Get ready.
Get ready to do what? To cross the Jordan. Why? So that you can go into the Promised Land. And do what? Conqueror it. How? As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.
When God said "Get ready," the Hebrew word used was "Quwm" (pronounced koom), which means to rise, arise, stand, rise up, stand up, be firmly established.... I am immediately reminded of Paul's command when he wrote of the armor of God in Ephesians 6.
Paul wrote: Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Paul's words to us sound a lot like God's orders to Joshua!
The New Testament Greek Lexicon treats the word "conquer" thusly: to be more than a conqueror, to gain a surpassing victory. Therefore: get ready (rise up, put on the whole armor of God, and then stand firmly established in what God has called you to do). Cross the Jordan (whatever seems to be between you and what God has promised you, no matter how insurmountable it may appear...march forward). Conquer (do more than conquer...overwhelmingly possess)!
Who Then Is The Victor?
Did I ever tell you that my great-grandfather was among those wounded who lay in the streets of Atlanta during the Civil War? (Think about the scene in Gone With The Wind for a moment.) Well, right now I can empathize with him...though the difference is that he was physically wounded and I have received a spiritual blow. Still, the command to be more than a conqueror beats against the very walls of my heart, coursing through my veins and arteries like the battle cry it is. I think back on Paul's words...and God's command before Joshua's victory...and suddenly it dawns on me.
Joshua didn't win a single battle...least ways not alone! Before he ever led a single soldier in the land God had promised them, the Lord Himself visited him. In Joshua 5, it reads: Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, "Are you for us or for our enemies?"
"Neither," he replied, "but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come." Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, "What message does my Lord have for his servant?"
The commander of the LORD's army replied, "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy." And Joshua did so.
It was the Lord who went before Joshua...the Lord who worked through him...the Lord who fought each and every battle, pushing Joshua and the army of Israel on to victory.
The words of God to Joshua (Heb. Yehoshua) were "I will never leave you nor forsake you." The words of Jesus (Heb. Yeshua) recorded in Matthew 28 were, "I am with you always." In my way of thinking: six of one, half dozen of the other.
In other words, if we are truly to be more than conquerors, we must tie in to the fact that we do not fight the mêlées of this life, but rather Christ wins them through us. We are able to sustain the path God has presented to us only because we trust the One Who is our Commander. As He stood with Joshua before the battle of Jericho, He is standing before us preceding every battle. Do we recognize Him? Do we take off our earthly shoes and fit out feet "with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace?" (Ephesians 6:15) Or do we really think we can go this life alone?
Questions for Personal or Group Study:
1. What battles are you facing right now?
2. What does "get ready" mean to you?
3. What does "The Jordan" look like in your life?
4. What promises has God made to you, which are just on the other side?
5. In your personal prayer time, imagine the Lord Jesus standing before you, expressing to you that this battle is His. Can you hear Him? Do you trust His words? Then take off your shoes...the ground you are upon is holy.
Award-winning national speaker, Eva Marie Everson is the author of Shadow of Dreams, Summon the Shadows and the recently released and highly anticipated Shadows of Light. She can be contacted for comments or for speaking engagement bookings at www.EvaMarieEverson.com
1 NIV Bible Commentary, Volume II, New Testament (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI., 1994) pg. 566.
Other Articles in This Series:
More Than Conquerors: Part Two More Than Conquerors!