Day 73: The Way Of The Warrior - The Warrior's Journey®

Day 73: The Way Of The Warrior

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The Way Of The Warrior

Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way. — General George Patton.

            A leader is a dealer in hope. — Napoleon Bonaparte

Our last devotions, we looked at Nehemiah, who went to Jerusalem helping the citizens rebuild their city.  They were under threat from an enemy army (Neh. 4:2), and from fellow citizens who extracted exorbitant sums of money (5:1-9).  Nehemiah challenged their corrupt practices, while he himself was generous, helping the destitute (5:10-19).  He didn’t demand reimbursement: But I did not do so, because of the fear of God. (5:15).

Earlier, when Nehemiah confronted the price gouging by rich citizens said: Ought you not to walk in the fear of our God…  (5:9).  What is the fear of God?  We should know this, because it might impact your life – right?  Nehemiah had a high regard for it, while others ignored it, unimpressed.  Solomon said: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, (Prov. 9:10).  Wisdom isn’t behavior fueled by data, it’s action that correctly uses information.  If one is wise, they fear the Lord.  The opposite is also true: fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Prov. 1:7). A fool disdains wisdom.  They’re foolish, because they act contrary to their own best interests – unwittingly.

In an Old Testament prophecy about Jesus, it proclaimed he would have: And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. (Isa. 11:2).  He would have the Spirit of the fear of the Lord.  If you’ve read the Gospels did you notice Jesus’ fear?

This fear is not dread, rather it’s respect or reverence.  It is not unlike your perception of a judge in a Court of Law. You expect a judge to rule according to justice, not whim and fancy. One wants a judge who is honest, not valuing what is shameful.  You expect the judge to look at the Law, and measure your behavior according to lawful standards, then give a righteous verdict.  When you know what is pure, and act accordingly, you fear the Law.  Fear is reverence for what is morally pure, even as you act honorably.  Do you think like this 24/7?  Jesus did, and he was without sin!  We need to have the same expectation.

Nehemiah and Jesus and many others acted in the fear of the Lord.  God expects this of all believers.  What happens for your notable attitude and behavior? Remember for my good, O my God, all that I have done for this people. (Neh. 5:19).  We can expect that the Lord will honor our fear of Him: For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name… (Heb. 6:10).

Back to our narrative. Nehemiah and the citizens of Jerusalem resisted an enemy army, they disabled greedy scoundrels. That should end matters of opposition – right?  Nehemiah was motivated by the fear of the Lord, justice should now prevail – right?

Now when Sanballat and Tobiah and Geshem the Arab and the rest of our enemies heard that I had built the wall and that there was no breach left… (Neh. 6:1).  Maybe treacherous enemies will want to make nice now… Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, “Come and let us meet together at Hakkephirim in the plain of Ono.” But they intended to do me harm. (6:2).  The threat of personal danger got heightened.  An invitation to a meeting almost sounds reasonable…like ‘The Godfather.’  Will Nehemiah fall for the deception?

And I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?” (6:3).  Thanks, but no thanks. And they sent to me four times in this way, and I answered them in the same manner. (6.:4).  These foes were persistent. Read vv. 6:5-8 – they accused Nehemiah of plotting to become king!  They made this up. It was a precursor for armed resistance.  Their plan was: For they all wanted to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will drop from the work, and it will not be done.” (6:9a).  Remember, tireless enemies will oppose you, if you are doing the Lord’s bidding.  But Nehemiah employed his most powerful strategy:  But now, O God, strengthen my hands. (6:9b).  Again, he goes to the nuclear option – prayer.  He does not waste a second of time, he just prays.  Short, succinct, secret, strengthening.  Do you?

More treacherous plans were launched against Nehemiah.  Read 6:10-12.  An envoy to Nehemiah proposes he hides in the Temple for safety.  But I said, “Should such a man as I run away? And what man such as I could go into the temple and live? I will not go in.” (6:11).   He was a target for assassination! God gave him an added dose of spunk!

Israel’s enemies did not give up, they continued to try and influence the people to wilt.  Why?  The Jewish people had been weak and wilted before, but one man with grit and determination, fueled by the power of God, boldly challenged them to accomplish great things in the name of the Lord.  How about you?  Have you been deflated spiritually, and reluctant to step out with a faith that is infectious?  Might the Lord tap your shoulder?

For this purpose he was hired, that I should be afraid and act in this way and sin, and so they could give me a bad name in order to taunt me. (6:13).  Does timidity haunt you?  Does the threat of danger, or damaged reputation bring hesitation?  Jesus states: do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, [you gotta be kidding!] for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” (Luke 12:11, 12). Hmmm.

Jesus also addressed the matter of fear in believer’s lives: “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body…(Luke 12:4).  The righteous are bold as a lion. (Prov. 28:1)

Again, what was Nehemiah’s response?  Prayer!  Remember Tobiah and Sanballat, O my God…Now Nehemiah adds other enemies who show up.  According to these things that they did, and also the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who wanted to make me afraid. (Neh. 6:14).  The religious elites were also trying to intimidate Nehemiah!  So, he kept praying. He prayed all the time! 5 second prayers just kept popping out of his mouth.

There’s an enemy army, there’s treacherous citizens, there’s fierce religious and political antagonists. This was spiritual warfare, and Nehemiah wasn’t afraid to use the most powerful weapon in the Universe.  The Lord God.  God’s ready and willing to help.

How about you?  Are you under stress or duress?  Pray!!  Make it a habit! I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. (Ps. 34:4)

By Nathan Werner

The Warrior’s Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

Life is grinding me down.  Circumstances are chewing me up and spitting me out!  I need an added dose of fortitude from you Father.  Encourage me, strengthen me, assure me that you are present and acting on my behalf. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Ps. 46:1).  I read that verse, knowing your power, yet I need you today to act in my life, so I can take the next step.  My feet are dragging, I’m going through the motions of life. I’m forward leaning, but I need a measure of assurance from you that you know, you understand, and that you will come charging into my life with a truckload of hope.  Emotionally I’m getting worn out, I need a transfusion of spiritually energy that will carry me on a rocket ride of confidence.

Yet, no matter the circumstance, I will still praise you.  I will honor you with my whole life, not buckling under weighty matters, because I know you will buoy me.  Don’t let my feelings be the measure of my confidence in you, but let the truths of your Word be my anchor.  You promise: I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:20). I will not leave you or forsake you. (Joshua 1:5).  I stand on those promises, Father.  I believe these truths.  In spite of my circumstances I will not believe otherwise.  Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24).  Slay hopelessness in my life, and let spiritual courage be my legacy.  I pray this in Jesus’ precious name.  Amen.

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