Children of the Kingdom;
May the grace, mercy and peace from God, our Father, and from Jesus-Christ, our Lord and Savior, be with you. May the Lord, by His grace, give us a Spirit of discernment, that we may recognize the times when God empowers our enemies.
I would like to submit to you that it is imperative that we recognize that at times, according to His own wisdom, God will purposefully empower our enemies, for them to rule over us, at least, for a period of time. And in those cases, WE SHOULD NOT FIGHT BACK! Instead, we should submit, humbling ourselves before the great God, and hang onto our faith. Unfortunately, this is often hard to do.
It is a feeling you might have experienced, or are currently experiencing, such as an evil boss or a dictatorial regime.
Consider what Jesus said to Pilate, when He was brought before Him
John 19:10, 11 – …Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above…
We see here that not only Jesus recognized Pilate’s authority over Him, but He also knew perfectly that it was none other than God Himself, His Father, who had given Pilate that authority. Therefore, rather than fighting back, we see Jesus instead submitting to Pilate.
Several times in the Old Testament was Israel either defeated in battle or enslaved. There too, God often declared plainly that He was the One who had given those enemies that kind of power and authority over them. As a prime example, consider this stunning declaration from God to Jeremiah, regarding what He had just done, which would be become soon evident to the people.
Jeremiah 27:15-17, 21, 22 – You recently repented and did what was right in my eyes by proclaiming liberty, each to his neighbor, and you made a covenant before me in the house that is called by my name, 16 but then you turned around and profaned my name when each of you took back his male and female slaves, whom you had set free according to their desire, and you brought them into subjection to be your slaves.
17 “Therefore, thus says the Lord: You have not obeyed me by proclaiming liberty, every one to his brother and to his neighbor; behold, I proclaim to you liberty to the sword, to pestilence, and to famine, declares the Lord. I will make you a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth…21 And Zedekiah king of Judah and his officials I will give into the hand of their enemies and into the hand of those who seek their lives, into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon which has withdrawn from you. 22 Behold, I will command, declares the Lord, and will bring them back to this city. And they will fight against it and take it and burn it with fire. I will make the cities of Judah a desolation without inhabitant.”
Often, God will also specifically instruct the people not to resist what would happen to them (e.g. Jeremiah 27:1-11).
Today, Christians often experience various levels of oppression and injustice, and at least in some respects, just like any other groups. For instance, you may feel unfairly treated at work, your boss having seemingly full control about your professional future. Or you may be oppressed by the current political regime of your country, with no obvious way out.
Whether due to no fault of your own, as in the case of Jesus in front of Pilate, or as a direct consequence of your own disobedience (as in the case of Israel), God will sometimes empower your enemy, to rule over you. Recognizing therefore this fact is critical as it will dictate our response: DO NOT FIGHT BACK for you will be fighting against GOD. Instead recognize, as Jesus did, that this power was given to your enemy by God Himself, for He is sovereign. Colossians 3 carries the same essence, that we should submit to our authorities, for it is ultimately the Lord Himself that we truly serve.
Colossians 3:22 – Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.
It is in the same Spirit that we do not read about the early churches fighting back those who were oppressing them. They were persecuted, and sometimes martyred, yet, it served them well to recognize that ultimately, God had had to grant such treatment (as in the case of Job).
Paul gave a list of some of the perils Christians face and will continue to face. Yet He also recognized that God always has a plan that works for the good of His people.
Romans 8:35,36 – Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
Romans 8:28 – And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
The pain that comes with the Christian walk may often feel hard to bear. To stay silent when we want to respond, to hold our composure when we want to fight back, to humble ourselves when we want to rebel. There is indeed a fight that every Christian is called to engage in, but the ones described in this letter are not it! These are the times to stand still, and let God work in us, to transform us and conform us to the image of His Son.
Let us fight THE Good Fight, not the wrong ones!
In the name of Jesus. Amen.