GOD’S WARCRAFT – ITS OFTEN ILLOGICAL & IRRATIONAL

Whenever I watch a movie that pits a small force against a larger enemy, I always look for the battle strategy by which the smaller army conquers the larger one. It excites me to see a bigger enemy, who comes into battle confident of gaining the upper hand because of the sheer number of people on their side, made to bite the dust by a smaller opponent through their sharper wits and smarter battle plans.

It thrilled me to watch: Prince Caspian’s force emerge from beneath the ground to encircle the enemy in the film of that name; Scottish King Robert Bruce vanquish a larger English force by impaling the enemy cavalry with spears hidden in the muddy terrain in the movie The Outlaw King; the American Robert Martin hoodwink and rescue his men from the English Lord Cornwallis in The Patriot and other such clever strategies in military and combat movies.

Interesting though these warcraft are, nothing can beat God’s battle strategies and plans that help His people win over foes stronger than themselves. The instances portrayed in films can be appreciated, the superb planning involved marvelled at and, even though these appear as unexpected twists in the tale, they can be fully understood. However, when compared to the art of war in the Bible, these pale in contrast to that which is exhibited by the Lord. God’s warfare and strategies are truly out of this world because they are often dependent on irrelevant and irrational actions that are precursors for victory or defeat.

Take, for example, the time Israel fought the Amalekites in the desert after the Red Sea Crossing as reported in Exodus chap 17. Fresh out of Egypt, rescued from bondage through ten miraculous acts of God that brought the then world power to its knees, led by an able warrior, Joshua, Israel had the ability and mental capacity to overcome this attack. Yet their victory and defeat did not rest on such strengths, but were hinged on their leader Moses holding his hands raised in the air or not while watching the battle from a hilltop. It seems such an irrational way of winning a battle, but that was how God worked it out for them!

Why did God make such moves as the battle turning for good or bad depending on whether Moses kept his hands raised or not? The reason is not hard to figure out: Four hundred years of bondage under a violent and harsh nation would have taught them the efficacy and advantage of brute force as well as strength. Israel was chosen to be God’s people, His royal priesthood and the people of His pasture. They had to learn to do everything not by might nor power but by Him.

They had to understand that their dependency on Him would be the reason for their success or failure. They were to cleave to Him and obey Him fully and totally. They had to learn this lesson before they entered the promised land and started live among others who did not follow Yahweh. God was teaching them this lesson and inculcating this into their beings so that when they were among other people groups, they would function as His people. Israel had to learn the secret of their existence – their relationship with Yahweh and their allegiance and obedience to Him!

Consider another time when they had crossed over the river Jordan to the land God promised to them through their ancestor Abraham. The first city they had to conquer was Jericho, one of the strongest cities of their times, a walled and defenced city, strong enough to withstand any invasion. It was a veritable fortress and conquering it would be the key for their conquest of the whole land.

Joshua, their commander is met by the commander of the army of God who then outlines the battle plan to conquer the city they are targeting. He tells Joshua that for 6 days the whole army of Israel should walk silently around the city once each day. On the 7th day they must go around 7 times, 6 times in silence as before, but the 7th time they must shout and charge straight ahead of them at the sound of the trumpet.

Any commander would consider seeking out the weak points in the battlements and using them to attack the city as the logical battle plan. God asks Joshua to do something that looked foolish in the eyes of men. The people of Jericho must have first looked on with incredulity, then with astonishment and finally with ridicule at the spectacle of an army marching in silence around the city they wanted to conquer. Israel had to bear it all and quietly rest in their tents, without reacting to their taunts and mockery.

Nothing is more difficult to bear than ridicule and it is hard to stand by or keep quiet or be without reacting at such times. Israel could not allow itself to be triggered into action or do something to prove they are not sissies. They remained faithful to the strategy given them by God through Joshua and won a great victory. They did not allow their own doubts or misgivings to distract them and they did not allow their own thinking to disrupt their obedience to God’s battle plan.

In the case of the Jericho strategy, it was not Israel who had to learn a lesson, but the nations around them. They had go know that Israel had a supernatural protecting force that would fight on their behalf. Israel was coming into the land as new settlers and the nations around had to be made aware of them being the people of Yahweh, so that the other nations would beware His power and allow Israel to dwell in safety and security. It was an object lesson for the nations around and indeed the Gibeonites came to make peace for this reason and because of the demonstration of God’s power on behalf of Israel!

It would often seem that God is a poor general and indeed this is a comment by Rameses, Pharaoh of Egypt in the movie Ten Commandments when he finds Israel trapped before the Red Sea. Pharaoh thought he had the Israelites under his mercy for he didn’t understand God’s battle plan. The Lord totally destroyed the Egyptian army, burying them in a watery grave under the waters of the Red Sea when they thought they could easily overpower Israel by their military prowess. Egypt that day ended up, not only losing its firstborns, but also its army, one that was feared for its invincibility during that period of world history. Moses’ song at that time declares His might: The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name. Pharaoh’s chariots and his army he has hurled into the sea. The best of Pharaoh’s officers are drowned in the Red Sea. The deep waters have covered them; they sank to the depths like a stone. Your right hand, the Lord, was majestic in power. Your right hand, the Lord, shattered the enemy (Exo 15:3‭-‬6).

To answer the question why God allowed this confrontation and made Israel go throw this crisis when they had just escaped 400 years of tyranny and bondage is again answered in Moses song: In your unfailing love, you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength, you will guide them to your holy dwelling. The nations will hear and tremble; anguish will grip the people of Philistia. The chiefs of Edom will be terrified, the leaders of Moab will be seized with trembling, the people of Canaan will melt away; terror and dread will fall on them. By the power of your arm they will be as still as a stone – until your people pass by, Lord, until the people you bought pass by. You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain of your inheritance – the place, Lord, you made for your dwelling, the sanctuary, Lord, your hands established Exo (15:13‭-‬17). This is what exactly happened!

God never wastes His moves, but is always completely in control of the fight. He is an able General, a Master Strategist and Victorious Veteran of many successful missions. He knows what He is doing or how He is directing, and as His people we need to fully trust Him. The way He directs or plans the fight will be contrary to ours, often incomprehensible and seemingly foolish.

Apostle Paul well puts it in his second letter to the Corinthians and answers the question of why God’s combat operations are different and His plans appear nonsensical. It is because We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. He points out that this so since We are not fighting against human enemies. Instead, we are fighting against the rulers and the powerful spirits that have authority over this dark world. We are fighting against the bad spirits who live in the heavens (Eph 6:12 EASY).

God’s war mode may not fit our thinking process or our working style, but it brings total vanquishing od the enemy. It is ok to not be able to comprehend His strategy, but it is very important to obey it. If you want a complete rout of the enemy, you better hear and obey His strategy, unintelligent though it may seem to you. God knows what He is about and He plans with a far reaching eye about what is to come, who is to be touched, how it should effect and where it should impact. Therefore, it behoves us to follow His instructions implicitly, even when we don’t fathom them. He has more experience and expertise than anyone on earth or heaven. We must trust that God knows what He is about, even if we don’t!

In this pandemic period, let’s take care to follow His leading in our daily fight against negativities and negative situations of life that we are seeing and facing, daily!

*Pics courtesy Shutterstock and Google images

WHAT IS IN YOUR HAND

We are people who need hard evidence to feel safe and secure. We need to see money in the bank, cash in hand, provisions in the home, etc to feel comfort and comfortable. We are living in times and seasons where hard evidence in hand is needed for us to feel protected.

Yet, that’s not how our God works or seeks to assure. He is beyond and above the natural, the physical and the visible. His works are inspite of appearances and evidences, independent of what you see or hear or feel. His works transcend the natural senses and normal answers.

For example, in the Bible we see the prophet Elijah is sent to a widow in Zarephath during a famine. When Elijah encounters the woman picking sticks in order to cook her last meal for herself and her son, before succumbing to death as she is down to her last bit of flour and oil, The prophet tells her to share her meal with him and declares to her “For this is what the Lord , the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’ ”1 Kings 17:14 NIV. We see that indeed that’s what happened She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah. 1 Kings 17:15‭-‬16

The way of the Lord is always diammetrically opposite and contrary to the belief system of this world. His ways are not our ways and His thoughts far removed from ours, as far as the heavens are from the earth. That’s the gap between His thinking process and ours, a world of difference!

To live under the economy and provision of God and His Kingdom, you don’t need concrete evidence or hard facts. You just need to have faith, which of course is the real evidence of things invisible and substance of things unseen.

Let’s see more evidence of such working of God in the history of the prophet Elisha, the protege of Elijah. A prophet’s wife whose husband, a faithful man of God, was dead approached Elisha for help to save her sons from the money lenders who had come to take her sons in lieu of her debt. Elisha simply asks her what do you have in the house. When she replies she has a little oil, he asks her to borrow vessels from neighbours and pour out the oil. She obeys him and finds the oil run out only after she has filled all the vessels available. He then tells her to sell the oil and pay the debt. The point is that the prophet took what was available to birth a miracle by God’s power that rested on him.

God doesn’t need evidence of abundance to do a miracle or to supply your needs. He just needs  and uses what is available to meet the need of the hour. He doesn’t see what is not there, but sees what you have in hand and will use that to meet your lack. He never will condemn or chide when something is not there, but will always increase what is available or what you have with you. So don’t focus on what you don’t have, but focus on what you she for that is enough for God to meet your needs.

God is never constrained just by lack but also evidence about it. He is constrained only by a lack of faith and never by lack of resources! Nothing can prevent His power from flowing or His munificence from meeting our needs, except lack of faith! His hand is not shortened nor His arm restricted that He can’t provide care for you, but you can prevent or tie it up by your lack of faith!

Take another example, when hard evidence declares an emergency situation and shows what is in hand is insufficient to meet the current need. Jesus asks His disciples to feed the multitude, about 5000+ people, and all they have is 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes. What they have in hand is, in the opinion of His disciples, not enough to feed the people, but Jesus is unfazed by the meagreness of what is in hand. He just lifts what is in hand to God in prayer, blesses it and asks His men to distribute to the multitude. They end up not only feeding all the people, but also gather up 12 basketfuls of leftovers, one for each of his team to carry home to their families. God is not limited by what is at hand nor hampered by what is seen to meet our needs, not frugally or beggarly or miserly,but royally and abundantly!

The economy of His Kingdom, His rule and reign are not based on or dependent on lack of evidence or concreteness of visible facts, but on the capacity and the capability of His power and glory. You cannot draw from His store or His benefits without an exchange or a currency. The currency by which His Kingdom operates and by which you can get His provision is simple and easy. It is faith that is the hard cash that will enable you to live off and from His storehouse.

You don’t need cash in hand, money in the bank, investment in stocks or even a healthy financial portfolio to be cared for by Him or fed by Him. All you need is faith, faith in His ability, faith in His capacity and faith in His propensity to meet your needs. You just need to trust Him and live every day under His patronage through faith. He has promised to take care and He will, inspite of circumstance, lack of visible evidence or even your ability to provide.

He has enough and more in His hand to supply all our needs and the heart to bless His children with good things, day after day.

So don’t be disturbed by what you don’t have or depressed by what the little you do have, but be thankful for what you do have since that is enough for God to use or reuse!

Just trust Him and submit to Him, totally. Throw yourself illy on Him and He will protect, provide and please you with His Providence and beneficial munifence.

Don’t be disturbed by what you see or what you hear or what others say or even by what you know to be true to your sense and commonsense!

Just learn to walk by faith and not by your natural senses!

Don’t be limited by what you have in hand.

Be thrilled by the blessing of unlimited supply by a limitless God!

Saturate yourself, not with daily news reports or news analysis, but soak yourself totally in His Word for we need it to live in these times.

Do not live by what is evident, but live by His Word, daily!

Feed on it and live by it daily and you will see evidence of His care, concern and compensation, every day, day after day!

*Pics courtesy unsplash.com, shutteestock.com and google images

NEVER EVER

Never will I know the cost,
The extent the Father went,
To create & recreate me,
First from mud & then out of sin.

Never can I understand the price,
The extent the Son went,
To redeem & rescue me
From the powers of darkness & strife.

Never do I realise the estimate,
The extent the Spirit goes
To mould & refashion me
In the likeness of His image as in the days of old.

What do I owe, how do I pay, when do I return,
All that HE did, does & will do for me?
Can I ever repay, will I ever reimburse, do I ever reciprocate
All HIS love did, does & will do for me?

No, ten thousand times no,
Never can I recompense, remunerate or repay the debt
HE paid for me, pays for me & will pay for me!

Teach me to
Receive with grace,
Respond with thanks &
Reiterate with faith
The love of my heart,
The intimacy of my soul &
The strength of my body,
O Triune God of my life!

Sabina Tagore Immanuel

*Pic courtesy unsplash.com

LIVING UNDER DIFFERENT ECONOMY

In the Bible, in the history of the nation of Israel, we note two distinct phases of life and distinct ways of existence.

One, while in the wilderness, after being delivered from slavery in Egypt., and two, when they settled down in the promised land, after driving out those who lived there.

Both seasons saw them being helped and aided by the mighty and outstretched arm of God. In both, God was the Anchor of their life, the Provider and the Support of all they needed to be a nation. Be it protection, provision or preservation, He was the Shepherd and the Staff of their being a sovereign nation.

The difference between these two seasons of life was the way in which He provided for them and the manner by which He met their needs! 

In the wilderness, He was their Guide and Shepherd in every sense of the word, ‘going ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night’ (Ex 13:21-22). He sought out their resting places, led them by a way they did not know and took care of their every need – providing them daily with manna from heaven, opening rocks for water, providing shade with a huge cloud by day and light for their dark nights by a pillar of fire. He caused the east wind to rain quail, sweetened their rest with fruit trees, protected them from disease and the plagues of Egypt, and saw to it that their clothes did not wear out nor their feet swell all through the years of their desert wandering!

He protected them from the marauding bands and gave them the right leaders to judge their grievances. He covenanted with them to be their God and gave them his laws, forming them into a nation with an identity, equipping them to be an army and a host with proper ranks of families and tribes, tribal leaders and even an ordered way of pitching their tents around the tabernacle!

He converted them from a ragtag band of escaped slaves into a holy nation by endowing them with a proper and disciplined way of life, a social structure and a culture of worship that would set them apart and distinguish them as His people!

When they reached the promised land, He divided the land to them and settled them in it, causing them to inherit lands, vineyards, houses and cities which they didn’t plant, build or create and gave them a safe place to prevail as a nation. He blessed all their labour, giving them rain in season, healed their disease, oversaw the whole nation with leaders to govern and prophets to warn. He did not allow strangers or any other nation to overtake or overpower them, as long as they remained loyal to Him.

God was their Source and Guide, not just in the wilderness, but also in the land of their settlement.

In both, their provision, protection and preservation depended on only one criterion – that they would be loyal to Him and exhibit their allegiance by adhering to the laws He gave them for their own good!

Wilderness is a place of simple fare, just-what-is-needed-for-the-day supply, deficient of variety and with just sufficient provision-for-the-day being the only guarantee!

It is a life of total dependency on God for everything, an exhilarating but hand-to-mouth existence if you see it the way!

Yet it was the time that the next/new generation developed strength, stamina and stability to become a warrior nation, able to hold it’s own in the new land, quite unlike their fathers who still had the namby-bamby attitude of slaves and cried when told there were giants besides the good things in the land they had to possess!

In the wilderness, monotony birthed gluttony, uncertainty gave rise to grumbling and anxiety to rebellion, all of which were an affront to the God Who carried the Israelites ‘as a father carries his son’ (Deut 1:31). In spite of the fact that He gave them a demonstration of His power at the beginning of their journey, destroying their pursuers in the Red Sea parting, they did not understand that He led them all the way in the wilderness for forty years, humbled them, causing them to hunger and then fed them with manna, which no one had known before, in order to teach them ‘that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.’ (Deut 8:2‭-‬3)!

In these COVID days and in the aftermath of the quarantine days, we have moved from a predictable cycle of life to not knowing what tomorrow brings. We have moved from certainty to uncertainty, from variety of choices to a modicum of monotony and from sedentary placidity to unexpected changes and challenges.

The call facing us today is whether we will win over the dangers of the wilderness or imitate their conduct, testing Him with our impertinence!

We will have to determine whether we will depend on Him for our needs and provision, trust Him for our sustenance and learn to live by the new standards of His Word rather than of this world, daily!

We will have to decide whether we will grumble and murmur like them or imitate the One who faced the same temptation in the same landscape and was victorious in living by His Word (Matt 4)!

Personally, my family and I know the provision and care of God beyond the natural. When we pledged our allegiance to Him long year’s ago, we went through a season of trials in the area of our finances, health and relationships. God taught us to live by faith in our finances, trust in His Word for our healing and gave us a glimpse of the glorious riches of being part of His family.

We went through a season of financial constraint and had to depend on the supernatural provision, whenever and wherever the natural fell short! 

We had ample instances where we saw His care of us. Once when my dad ran out of fuel in his bike on his way home, no money in hand or a petrol bunk at hand, he just borrowed a bottle of water from a hut nearby, filled his tank with it, prayed and drove the remaining 15 km home with that as fuel in his tank!

We lived constantly in the miraculous. I remember the time when I longed for an apple, a luxury at that time and asked God as my Father to provide it. Two days later, an unexpected visitor gifted us with a whole basketful!

Nothing thrilled us more than to have such evidence of His presence and the reality of His concern for us. It helped cement our faith and trust in Him! 

Our God is yesterday, today and forever the same. He has not changed nor has He abdicated as our King!

It is time to understand what stuff we are made up and gird ourselves to walk a new model of living.

It is time for us to know, understand and accept that our seasons have changed. It is time for us to trust in God for everything and not depend on our regular sources/resources, but adapt to an unusual way of life!

He will be our Source, whatever may happen and however uncertain the days ahead maybe.

It is time for us to rest secure in the immutability of His nature, the immensity of His care and the irrationality of His supernatural provision for us!

It is time for us to adjust to the new economy and learn to live under the economy and provision of God!

*Pics courtesy of unsplash.com

LOVE, WHAT IT IS

Love is not just an emotion or an act of the will,
Love is the very being of God Himself!
Love is not just an option or a choice,
Love is just being human with poise!

Love is operating in the nature of God,
Love is being filled with the presence of God!
Love is what makes us go the extra mile,
Love is what helps to do with a smile!

Love is what makes the world go round,
Love is what makes joy to resound.
Loves is what makes it fully versatile,
Love is what fills it daily with new life!

Love makes the routine a thrill,
Love embellishes the mundane with a frill.
Love makes the normal a work of art,
Love enflames the natural with a spark!

Love is what made Him pay the price,
Love is what caused Him not to think twice.
Love will help us go on even when it’s risky,
Love will enable us to trust even when it’s not easy!

©Sabina Tagore Immanuel

*Photos courtesy: https://unsplash.com/

WRITING ARIGHT

God has written beforehand your story
He’s formed it to be for His glory,
He’s chosen you the hero in theory,
He is waiting for you to accept His reality!

God has written the plot of your story,
He needs you to trust Him in totality,
He does everything in sync with His sagacity,
He will cover you with His kindness and mercy!

God is waiting to rewrite your story,
Kindly sit down and take an inventory.
Throw out things that will boost your depravity,
Take in that which will make you good and holy!

God is continuing to write your story,
It will surely and truly end in His glory,
Choice is yours to be rooted in His family,
Then you will surely be part of history!
                

Sabina Tagore Immanuel

*This poem was triggered by a post on fb

*Photo courtesy in splash.com

KING OR KNAVE OF HEARTS?

Do you really know the heart of God,
Or even aware of what it beats for?
Do you comprehend what gets His nod,
Or even understand what He longs for!

Do you realize that He is working for the world’s salvation,
While you pray for His wrath on whom He has compassion!
Do you still wish to pray for revenge and retaliation,
While He wants you to bridge the gap in reconciliation!

What if God were to deal with you just the same,
As you do with those you want to shame?
What if He turned around to tarnish your name,
As you do to those you seek to point and blame!

Don’t you realize what would soon happen,
If God were to turn against you and abandon!
Are you cognizant of how hard it will be,
If God were not your friend but your foe!

Let your heart in sync be with what He wants,
Throbbing in tune with the rhythm of His atonement!
Let it seek and crave only what He desires,
Blessing will be yours when you are His in committment!

© SABINA TAGORE IMMANUEL
PC: https://goo.gl/images/

GOD OF ALL THE EARTH

The God who dwelt in the heaven,
Is the God who moved in the garden.
The God who made the tent His meeting place,
Is the God filled the temple as His resting place.

The God who was the Word that was spoken,
Is the God who came to be Bread that was broken.
The God who was from and in the beginning,
Is the God who became man to rescue men from sinning.

The God who moved on the waters of old
Is the God who moulds the church as gold.
The God who raises the people from the dead,
Is the God who is the Spirit causing the gospel to spread.

The God who was and is and is to come,
Is the God who is yesterday today and forever the same.
The God who is the Father Spirit Son,
Is the God through whom we will always overcome!

© SABINA TAGORE IMMANUEL
*Pc https://unsplash.com/photos/hzp_aT02R48

GOD HAS RIGHTS

God does have His own rights,
Ever thought of them even a mite?
God has His just demands,
Ever realized them as His commands?

Creator that He is,
Isn’t it His due to fashion as He will?
Can the clay He wants to mould His way
Rebel and want to hold its own sway?

Father that He is,
Whose love is beyond compare,
Wouldn’t it be His longing and claim
To hear His kids honor His holy name?

Master that He is,
Who can measure all that He has?
Isn’t praise and honor the correct tribute
That must be paid as His deserved due?

Royal husband that He is,
Can anyone deny Him His yearning
To be the only One His bride adores
For whom He did give up His throne with eternal longing?

Who can refuse this God anything
Who gave up His all for to gain the one thing?
He has the right to demand everything,
Yet chooses to stand in patient waiting!

Sabina Tagore Immanuel
*Wrote this after hearing and pondering the line ‘God also has His rights’ in a sunday sermon preached by Ps James Ebenezer in NLAG, Little Mount, Chennai, S.India, on 23rd Dec 2018.
*Thanks to @tstnbllt for making photo available freely on @unsplash 🎁 https://unsplash.com/photos/72EYDDwn8dE

THE MASTER & HIS MASTER PLAN

Do you look around and really wonder,
Who’s in charge for things are being torn asunder.
Is there someone to whom we can render,
Allegiance and loyalty, obedience and surrender?

Yes, there is a One Whom we need to discover,
He is our Master and there’s just no other.
His plans we do need to seek and recover,
Nothing else here on earth is going to matter!

God is on the throne, He’s always had a plan to gather,
A people of His own from whom He’ll never wander.
The apple of His eye who will bear His beautiful name,
That will seek His glory and proclaim His fame.

God sent His son for Him to redeem man,
To fulfil the dictates of His master plan.
With one masterly stroke of His hand,
He’s made him part of His royal clan!

Christ did really step into our cosmic mess
That’s why we gladly celebrate Christmas.
He made us part of God’s eternal business,
Without Him our life is completely senseless!

God has made us through Christ His family,
We are therefore no longer paradesi.
He’s building us to be His church mutually,
Even though we are all truly swadeshi!

Rejoice, you have a role in His Master plan
He’ s fashioning you to be His masterpiece.
Make the choice to follow Him else you’re a deadman
Your real season begins only when you’re His batman!

SABINA TAGORE IMMANUEL
*Poetic form of Sunday Sermon by Ps Manoah Joshi (@manoahj)
© NLAG CHURCH, LITTLE MT, CHENNAI, INDIA