Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Stand and Fight!

Horse hoof's beat in the distance. Moments later a magnificent stead strode through the gate. Ah, one of the king's couriers. 

I didn't pick up my pace. Ever since the king's edict to destroy us had come, life seemed pretty bleak. I felt like I was just going through the motions. What was the point? I had no purpose anymore. In a few days I would be dead. I was tempted to ignore this new message altogether, but curiosity got the best of me.

I caught up to the rider. A crowd had already gathered around him. He was still sitting on his horse, frantically waving his arms. Everyone was talking at once, and I couldn't hear anything over the dull roar. 

I caught sight of a piece of parchment nailed into the building behind the courier. Pushing, shoving, and at some points, climbing over people, I finally made it close enough to read. 

My eyes widen in disbelief. The letter stated that king was allowing us, the Jewish people, to defend our lives! We could kill, destroy, and plunder anyone who attacked us!

I tossed my head back and screamed for pure joy. I started dancing in the middle of the throng, arms flailing and feet kicking up dust. We were saved! We were saved! We could fight back! Yahweh had saved us!


The day had come.

Today I would take up my sword and fight.

Once the people realized we had been given the right to fight, a spontaneous celebration burst from the people. They sang and laughed. They feasted. Many danced in the streets just like I did-only worse. We were overjoyed at our chance. We had been offered deliverance. We had been given life.

My brothers, my family, my people had embraced Yahweh's deliverance wholeheartedly. In fact, ever since the decree, there had been numbers added to our people! Converts, afraid for their own skin. And who could blame them? With Yahweh fighting for us, we clearly had the advantage.

We had gathered together, prepared to fight as one nation with one accord. We were in the center of the city, where the streets flowed into a wide, open area. It was just after daybreak, and we were awaiting the first of our enemies to appear. I could hear footsteps; they were close. They starting spilling into the makeshift battle field. My stomach flip-flopped. They stretched before us as far as I could see.

Should I just turn and run? Hide? Would that be safest?

Shaking the thought from my head, I gripped my sword tighter. I would not allow the enemy to rule me!

A war cry was let loose, and immediately, both sides began to charge. Letting out my own shout, I raised my sword high, and charged into battle.

Based on Esther 8:10-9:9.

And he said, "Listen all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the Lord to you, 'Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God's'...You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your positions, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you." 2 Chronicles 20:15, 17

"Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me! Take hold of shield and buckler and rise for my help! Draw the spear and javelin against my pursuers! Say to my soul, 'I am your salvation!'" Psalm 35:1-3

An edict was issued throughout the kingdom. The Jewish people were being given the right to fight back. Instead of just letting their enemies come to kill, plunder, and destroy them, they could fight back. Not only fight back, but kill, plunder, and destroy those who came after them.

When they got that decree, they had a choice. Would they take up their swords? Would they fight for a cause? Or would their enemies and death overtake them?

When we do not stand and fight for Jesus, that is exactly what we are doing. We are letting the enemy into our camp. We are letting him kill us. We are letting him control us. We are letting him shackle us even though we are holding the key in our hands!

"Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses." 1 Timothy 6:12

"Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm." Ephesians 6:11-13

God has already given us the key, the plan, the way out! Will we take it, or will we wallow? Will we really take up our swords and fight for Him?

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