So if you haven’t noticed, Facebook and Instagram have been flooded this week with pictures of kids, and quite a few adults, dressed up as their favorite characters for the festivities of Halloween. As a mom of a boy going on almost five years now, it doesn’t surprise me anymore by how many boys are dressed up as their favorite warrior/hero/fighter brandishing their favorite weapon. There is something innate in the make-up of a boy, an instinctual need to protect and fight, and weapons are a part of that for them… and a huge fascination, at least for my Sweet Boy.
This year, he was fascinated with Ninja Turtles so you couldn’t mistake my boy in the crowd of kids at the Halloween parade… he was the one in the neon green hoodie with a turtle shell on it. I wish I had gotten a picture of how his eyes lit up big when my friend (from who we borrowed the costume) surprised him with a hard turtle shell back complete with a pair of sais (dagger looking weapons with two prongs on either side of the blade – yes, I had to look that up).
Oh. My. Goodness! This boy could not contain himself! He was off and fighting! Of course we had to continually coach him on how to use his weapons: not on real people and only to fight bad guys. I think he would have slept with them Halloween night if we let him.
It got me thinking of this other place in Scripture where I’ve been reading about weapons and battles… in Nehemiah. You see, the Israelites returned to a ruined Jerusalem after 70 years in exile and they started to rebuild the wall around the city. But the neighbors who had moved into the area while they were away in exile, they weren’t too happy about this new development. So they started harassing the Israelites, with mocks and insults. When the insults and intimidation didn’t stop the rebuilding effort, they got more aggressive…
But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs, Ammonites, and Ashdodites heard that the work was going ahead and that the gaps in the wall of Jerusalem were being repaired, they were furious. They all made plans to come and fight against Jerusalem and throw us into confusion. Nehemiah 4:7-8
So Nehemiah also takes action by having half the men continue working while the other half “stood guard with spears, shields, bows and coats of mail.” Even the workers carried on their work “with one hand supporting their load and one hand holding a weapon.”
But even with all these precautions Nehemiah encourages the people with these words:
Our God will fight for us!
And this is not the first time someone in Scripture has said this. When the people of Israel were fleeing Egypt, and Pharaoh and 600 of his best chariots were chasing after them, when they panicked at the onslaught of weapons and brute strength that was on their heels, Moses says these words to the Israelites:
The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.
And Joshua in saying his final words to the people of Israel before his death, he encourages them with these words:
The Lord your God fights for you, just as he promised.
I’ve been thinking over these words the last week and thinking about the battles I feel I am facing. The places of opposition that mock me and threaten to undo me. And I have been thinking about friends I know who have felt under attack, whether at work or in relationships or situations in life.
Are there places where you feel under attack? Where you feel you are fighting a battle but you wonder if you ever have a chance at winning it. Do the enemies and weapons you feel you are up against seem too strong, too invincible? Maybe you have been fighting this battle for a long time and you are just tired and worn out and feel you can’t fight anymore.
For most of us, the weapons we face in life aren’t so clear cut as a literal sword or bow that threaten us, though for some around the world these are the weapons being faced. For many of us the weapons are way more subtle: slander, systemic injustice, deceit, anxiety, fear, temptation, condemnation, lies from the enemy. Some of us struggle with battles with depression or illness or financial uncertainty. The battles we face are many and varied as are the weapons used in the attack.
A friend of mine who is also teaching Nehemiah alongside me for a Women’s Bible Study, she sent me this verse this week.
No weapon that is formed against you will prevail
Just sit with that for a minute… No weapon that is formed against you will prevail.
Go over that list of weapons you feel you are up against again. None of these are so powerful that they will be your undoing.
Another translation says: No weapon that has been made to be used against you will succeed. God’s Word Translation
Another: No weapon that can hurt you has ever been forged. The Message
No matter what you feel you are up against, it will not overcome you. No matter what battle you face, you are not on the losing side. No matter the onslaught of weapons, ultimately they cannot take you out.
And why is that? Because your God fights for you! And nothing and no one can overcome our God. Which means no matter what battle you face, you come out on the winning side. No matter the weapons being used to attack, they can never overcome you, they can never have the victory, they can never ever deal the deadly blow they wish.
Some days, to stay in the fight, to continue on, you just need to know that you aren’t fighting a losing battle.
Friends, whatever your battle is, you are not fighting a losing battle.
Jesus Christ, he has fought the battle for you… whatever it may be. Addiction, illness, sin, injustice, condemnation. All of these have been swallowed up in the victory of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
My son, he is pretty wowed by these sais that he fights his invisible enemies with, but one day I hope he comes to believe that even real sais are nothing in comparison with blood of Jesus Christ. I pray one day he claims the reality that the Jesus Christ within him is more powerful than any weapon a human can weld or any battle he may face in his life.
So you may be thinking, that’s great, but in my day-to-day life, the battle sure looks pretty real and uncertain from where I stand. I know friends. It can be hard to see the evidence of Jesus’ already won victory in the day-to-day, but that is why we are people of hope… we believe in the unseen.
And Jesus has not left us to face these battles alone until he comes back to claim his victory. He has given us the Spirit of Jesus Christ who fights for us and in us, reminding us of these truths, enabling in us the power to endure and continue on and to even win small victories until he comes to finally declare: It is finished. The battle is over. I have made all things well.
And so like Nehemiah and those who worked on the wall, we gear up for battle, not with the armor and weapons of this world, but with the armor and weapons of God’s making:
Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out. Ephesians 6:13-18 The Message
Do not lose heart friends. Your God, he fights for you. And you are on the side that wins. Because the truth is “No weapon that is formed against you will prevail.”
But thanks be to God!
He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:57
Please feel free to download this Scripture Verse here and may your heart be encouraged!