Turned Back in the Battle

Please take the time to read Psalm 78:1-11. Many believers have little or no awareness of the spiritual con­flict that is going on in the world today between truth and error. There is a continual battle being waged by the opposing forces of light and darkness, with the angels of God pitted against the hordes of Satan. In this battle, there are no spectators—ALL are participants! Every child of God, whether he or she is aware of it or not, is involved in the fight. When we have on the “armour of God” (Eph. 6), we have the guarantee that we can stand in the strength of the Lord against the enemy of our souls. Otherwise, we will find ourselves like the children of Israel, “turned back in the day of battle” (Psa. 78:9).

Before Israel actually turned back in the day of battle, they experi­enced a change of attitude in that they “set not their heart aright” and their “spirit was not steadfast with God” (Psa. 78:8). The basic cause of their failure was “a change of heart” when they neglected to prepare themselves to seek after God and to do his will. We can find ourselves following in their footsteps through our failure to prepare our hearts daily before the throne of grace in confessing our sin and seeking His will. A lack of fervency in our desire to obey His Word leads to unfaithfulness to God and to hypocrisy (Psa. 78:36-37).

Israel belonged to God, but they “refused to walk in his law” (Psa. 78:10). So it is today with every believer who deliberately refuses to obey the Word of God—they are turned back in the battle. In this condition, they are “turned aside like a deceitful bow” (Psa. 78:57), or deceived by their own self-reliance. They have forgotten “His works, and His won­ders” (Psa. 78:11), His salvation and deliverance from sin. They are blind and taken captive in the battle (2 Pet. 1:9).

In the battle, the children of Ephraim were “armed” in the flesh, for they “kept not the covenant of God” concerning His com­mandments (Psa. 78:9-10). This Old covenant or testament was sealed with the blood of “calves and of goats” (Heb. 9:19-20), signifying that Israel was purchased by God to be His people. In like manner, ALL who have received Christ as their Savior have been redeemed unto God through the blood of His dear Son, and the life they are called to live is not their own. Therefore, all believers are to “glorify God” in their bodies and in their spirits “which are God's” (1 Cor. 6:20). He will give the victory!

— Ronald L. Lee (1941-1994)