Day 38: The Way Of The Warrior - The Warrior's Journey®

Day 38: The Way Of The Warrior

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The Way Of The Warrior

In our last few devotions we’ve looked at the prophet Jonah, and noted he disobeyed the Lord.  Failure or refusal to comply with an order causes a problem with the Lord.  When he directs us, he expects our full cooperation in carrying out the mission.

Here’s some examples: Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her… (Eph. 5:25). Gulp.

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Eph. 6:4).  Uncomfortable!

Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt. 19:19). Okay already!  The point is, the Lord has many commands that he expects we obey, with his empowerment.  You cannot do these alone, he’s the engine that powers your life, and he’ll help you live a redemptive life.

Responding to the Lord is like obeying gravity.  Gravity has control over you, always.  It is unremitting, and does not allow exceptions – it is king.  Even when you do not want it to control you – guess what, it rules.  Try telling gravity to change, because you don’t want to obey its power. You will have no effect on gravity, no matter how sincere your motives.

Well the Creator who made the Law of Gravity, has some of the same qualities. “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, ‘You are a priest forever.'” (Heb. 7:21).

If you are a believer, you are his – a priest forever.  Thus, his imperatives are not suggestions for you to decide ‘if’ you want to obey them.  You will obey.  Either, with full-bore enthusiasm, or with his prodding.  You change, not him.

You choose to work with him to accomplish his goals.  Jonah decided against God’s direction, and since the Lord is sovereign, he decided to override Jonah’s disobedience.  Jonah was not the captain of his own soul, though like you, the Lord gives us authority to make choices.  Get used to it, the Lord is the Supreme Commander.  You can disobey an order, but like the military you might not like the consequences.  Jonah was being coerced into obedience.  Might the Lord do that with you?  Yep.

And the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. (Jonah 1:17).  This story is not a fairy-tale.  Others in history have been swallowed by sharks and whales, and survived.  Jesus considered Jonah as a historical person (Matt. 12:39–41), his story is true: …your word is truth. (Jn. 17:17).

There’s a curious thing about Jonah 1:17. The Lord ‘appointed’ or assigned the fish to do a function – and it obeyed!  Ironically, Jonah gets an object lesson, by a creature.  He learns obedience from its behavior. Goodness, that is humbling!

Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the belly of the fish, (Jonah 2:1).  There are no atheists in foxholes!  Jonah has faith that in a huge fish at the bottom of the sea, he can be heard, and that the Lord is listening!  He believes in the omniscience of God.   Makes you wonder why he dodged the Lord’s command earlier?  Have you ever thought you’d ignore the call on your life, hoping the Lord will change his mind?  Poor choice.

A couple of interesting things in this verse.  He: prayed to the LORD his God. He did not pray to a god, like the sailors: Then the mariners were afraid, and each cried out to his god. (Jonah 1:5).  He prayed to Jehovah, or LORD.  In the Hebrew, it is YHWH, or Yahweh.  There is only one.  To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. (1 Tim. 1:17).  There’s not a bevy of competing gods, only One.

Jonah did not just know about God, he believed that Jehovah was ‘his’ God, the Creator, sovereign of the Universe.  He did not pretend, that there were other gods. He was not politically correct. Jonah knew Jehovah, was the one, and only God. You might not get cell-phone service inside a fish on the bottom of the sea, but you can still call the Lord!

“I called out to the LORD, out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice. (Jonah 2:2).  The Creator of the Universe is a call away! If I tried to call POTUS, I would not get him on the first ring.  Yet the Lord says to give him a call: Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. (Jer. 33:3). Or: Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. (Jer. 29:12).

Not praying is your declaration of independence.  There are some prerequisites for prayer: one is sincerity: But from there you will seek the LORD your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deut. 4:29).  The conditional conjunction is ‘IF.’  The Lord is not into pretending. If you desire a sincere relationship with him – he’s all in, but if you think he’s just a cosmic genie, you’ll get crickets.

Jonah’s distress was evident, since he could not manage his situation. Why?  For you cast me into the deep… (Jonah 2:3).  Jonah got it right – the Lord put him in the sea.  Sometimes he puts you in way over your head!  Why?  Perhaps two reasons.  First to make you helpless, second to prove himself trustworthy. You’re forced to trust him.

When my life was fainting away, I remembered the LORD, and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple. (2:7).  Again, prayer is effective, it goes to the epicenter of the Universe!  It’s the place of holiness.  Everything is done with purity, no bending of the rules, no cutting corners.  The Lord is holy, and he expects it from you. It’s the basis for relationship with him: since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Pet. 1:16).

Well, Jonah did what the sailors did: Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows. (Jonah 1:16). But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. (2:9). A sacrifice and a vow, both public affirmations of faith in the living Lord.

Do people know this about you?  That you trust in a perfect sacrifice, and that you willingly vow to follow Jesus Christ, no matter the circumstances?

By Nathan Werner

The Warrior’s Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

Give me the clarity of mind to call you.  Give me the desire to call you.  Give me the hope to call you.  Assure me that when I call, you will listen.  Lord, I do not want to pretend, but with sincerity I desire to approach you with reverence, and respect.  I do not want to hope in you, then fear you’re not there.  Rather, my desire is to believe that: you will seek the LORD your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deut. 4:29).  Give me confidence, give me assurance, give me concrete evidence that you hear my sincere petitions.

Then let me walk with you in confidence: He leads me beside still waters. (Ps. 23:2).  Assure me, I am not on a dangerous mission, rather a trusting mission: He restores my soul. (23:3).  I want to walk with you in purity: He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. (23:3).  Help me walk with you knowing that you absolutely adore me: You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.        (23:5).  You have nothing but my best interests in your mind: Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.        (23:6).  I pray this in Jesus’ precious name.  Amen.

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