When I read this passage earlier today, I immediately thought about Isaiah 59:19 which says: When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him. (Verse 9 is a good summary statement of what the Lord is going to do to our enemies.)
These verses describe a serious situation; a threating incursion into the land. After all, if the enemy is marching through our fortresses we have a big problem. And if some bullying Assyrian shows up, invades and violates our land, don’t worry. We’ll put him in his place, send him packing, and watch his every move. The Message. The Assyrian represents all the enemies of God (and His people) in every age, including Satan himself. This is not about ‘if’ he invades our land, but When. The enemy will, at times, come in like a flood. But see how the Spirit of the Lord will raise up a standard against him. Here are some of the things He will do:
- He will ensure that we have the resources to deal with him. He will provide more than adequate leadership: we will raise against him seven shepherds, even eight leaders of men. Seven is the perfect number; eight goes beyond it. We will have even more than enough! Here is the God of the ‘super-superlatives’, of the exceeding abundantly above all… (Eph.3:20).
- He will give authority over the enemy (6a): Here we see the power of God’s Word (Eph.6: 17b) But the sword must be drawn. It has to be used against the devil. Jesus gave the perfect example of this when resisting Satan in the wilderness. Three times He said: It is written. Above all, spiritual leaders are to be people of the Word, using it to great effect by the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 6:2-4).
- There will be deliverance (6b): He may well use leaders (and faithful people) with drawn swords to deal with the enemy, but He will be doing the delivering. We need to note the context. Go back and read verses 1-4 and then read on into verses 5 and 6. This life of victory and overcoming will all take place under the leadership/rule of our great Shepherd-King, the Lord Jesus Christ: Our shepherd-ruler will save us from old or new enemies, from anyone who invades or violates our land. The Message.
There is a hymn that says: And would’st thou know the secret of constant victory? Let in the Overcomer and let Him conquer thee. So let us look to Him on the battlefield today. But don’t fail both to draw your sword and use it!
Prayer: Help me, Lord, to ‘take’ the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God, and not just wear it for decorative and ceremonial purposes.