This morning was a foggy one. As we ventured out on our normal walk, it was difficult to see up ahead. This would not be such an issue; however, Max has post-traumatic stress disorder. If he encounters another dog, he sometimes gets very fearful and the situation escalates. This is not normally an issue on morning walks as no one else is crazy enough to walk their dogs so early. However, every so often there is a chance encounter. Being able to see, allows me to prevent Max from having to undergo a stressful situation. It is hard to properly prepare for something you cannot see.
As believers, we are commanded to be prepared. Paul tells us to, “Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers” (Ephesians 6:18). Peter warns us to “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). This coming week, I will be preaching about the devil and his demons. Some people believe it’s unnecessary to discuss this topic. Whether it be fear, disinterest, or something else—the truth is we need to stay alert, and we need to know what we need to stay alert against.
The devil has been defeated. He has already been condemned (John 16:11). Victory is with Jesus. Even so, the devil is the prince of this world and he is still out and about trying to spread his lies, because he is the father of lies (John 14:30, John 8:44). We need to remember our battle is not of this world (Ephesians 6:12). In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught us to pray for deliverance from the evil one (Matthew 6:13). Put on your full armor of God and pray continually. Do not let the fog prevent you from knowing what is Truth and what is a lie.
In Judges 7, the Israelites were battling the Midianites. If you read closely, you will note a few things. “Each man stood at his position and watched” – no one was moving forward. Everyone was watching and ready for the Lord’s instruction. They then blew their horns as the Lord had instructed and the Lord brought victory without them going forward into battle.
We are told to be prepared. We are to be prepared for the Lord’s coming (Matthew 24). We are to be prepared to give an answer to others (1 Peter 3). We are to be prepared. In Judges 7, the Israelites were dressed for battle. They were ready to fight. But something happened so the fight wasn’t like what one would expect. The Lord acted in such a way that they simply needed to be prepared and blow the horns.
Be prepared. Understand that there will be times when you will need to do more work than others. There are moments when God wants you to do the work and there are times when He wants you prepared to watch Him work a miracle or do a great work. So keep watching and keep yourself prepared. Expect God to move. You may be amazed by what you see.
“Each man stood at his position around the camp and watched as all the Midianites rushed around in a panic, shouting as they ran to escape. When the 300 Israelites blew their rams’ horns, the LORD caused the warriors in the camp to fight against each other with their swords. Those who were not killed fled to places as far away as Beth-shittah near Zererah and to the border of Abel-meholah near Tabbath.” – Judges 7:21-22 [NLT]
Whenever I make certain items for dinner, I have to keep watch over the boiling pot or it will overflow and make a huge mess. I had this happen numerous times and I know the importance of keeping watch. On this particular day I had a pot on the stove and turned my back for only a moment.
I turned my back ironically to scrub a dish that had some caked on food. It wasn’t as if I did something wrong like leaving the room. I thought I was close enough to keep watch. I thought turning my back for a moment would be okay. I needed to get the food off the dish. In the end, the pot boiled over and I had a much larger mess.
We are told to keep watch. Many things try to pull us away from keeping watch. At times we think some things vying for our attention are okay. Remember that there is a reason we are to keep watch. Keep watch. Don’t lose sight.
“Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” – Luke 21:36 [NIV]
God’s word speaks a lot about obedience. We aren’t too fond of the “O” word. In Deuteronomy 4, we see everything listed for us. This passages says “hear the decrees and laws…. follow them… do not add… do not subtract from it… watch ourselves so that you do not forget… teach them to their children” (Deuteronomy 4:1-9 NIV).
As I was reading this passage today, I thought of HEART. We need to have a heart devoted to God, a heart for God, a love for God, that will cause us to do as this passage says. Deuteronomy 4:29 says, “But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul” (NIV). It all comes down to heart.
Having a relationship with God is not simply knowing what God’s word says, but doing what His word commands. Yes, the “O” word.
Do you have HEART?
- Hear (Listen)
- Ensue (Follow/Obey)
- Arithmetic (Don’t add or subtract)
- Remember (Keep it in your heart and head)
- Teach (Teach your children/others)
Whenever I leave the house and do not take my dog Max with me, he will look out the kitchen window for me while I am gone. There is a bench my grandfather built long ago that he puts his paws upon to hold himself up to see out at the drive way. I have found that if I am only gone a short while, my dog Max is still waiting by the window awaiting my arrival. However, if I am gone for hours, he has long given up on watching out the window. Instead, he is resting on the sofa at his special spot.
This reminds me a lot of the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25). There were ten virgins, five who were prepared and five who were unprepared. “The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep” (25:3-5 NIV). It ended up that when the bridegroom returned, he told the five who were unprepared that he did not know them. We are told to be watchful because we do not know the time of the return of Christ.
So the questions I have for you to ask yourselves today are:
*Are you like my dog Max?
*Are you waiting by the window, prepared to greet your Master?
*Have you gotten tired of waiting, and walked to the sofa to rest?
We don’t know the time or the hour, but we do know what awaits us if there is no oil in our lamps. I pray that today you are able to find renewed energy for your walk with Christ. We are not promised an easy life, but we are promised that He will be by our side through it all.