READ: Joshua 19-21, Psalm 71, John 3, 2 Corinthians 11
CONSTANT CONFLICT, CONSTANT CARE
We want to go to war without having to fight. We seek to conquer enemy territory without engaging the enemy. We rush to battle hoping we will not have to strike too many blows or receive any in return. We have such a sissified view of spiritual struggle. Why are we so surprised at demonic counter attack? We press into holiness, we forge forth to the frontier, and at the first resistance we stop stunned. Whoever told us the road to storm the gates of hell was carpeted? Whoever promised the fight would be fair? Whoever promised the Geneva Convention applies to the devil? We have such a sheltered view of kingdom advance. War always means wounds, blood, and death. There is no let up in the conflict, there is no cease fire in this most demanding of all campaigns: the super exaltation of Jesus among every people.
Satan will continue to deceive as an angel of light. We will join Paul in stripes above measure, frequent prisons, deaths often, whippings, beatings with rods, shipwrecks, a night and a day in the deep, journeys, perils, robbers, false brethren, weariness, toil, sleeplessness often, hunger, thirst, fasting, cold, and nakedness (2 Cor. 11:14,23-27). These, too, are promises of scripture. The future (until Jesus comes) is only continual conflict, resistance, and battle.
All praise to Jesus then, for His other “continuals.” Psalm 71 gives us these assurances.
God is our continual refuge. “Be my strong refuge, to which I may resort continually” (v. 3). We have a constant shield, an impenetrable umbrella. Over and over again we can run to God for shelter. The war doesn’t cease, but neither does our refuge. Our refuge is a person, not a place and thus, mobile. Our refuge goes with us into prison and into trial and into torture and past the gates of death to eternal refuge on the other side.
God is our continual strength. “I will go in the strength of the Lord” (v. 16). Our renewable energy supply is inexhaustible. The eternal energy of God refuels us. We can never empty His supplies, we simply return to Him over and over again to be strengthened. God’s strength will outlast the enemy’s attacks.
God is our continual comfort. “You comfort me on every side” (v. 21). There are many sides that need comfort: Yesterday a precious Egyptian brother was tortured and killed in Libya because he would not deny his faith in Jesus. His family needs comfort today. Other constant pains, losses, and worries need healing. God has the capacity to continually comfort us. He has more bandages than the enemy has arrows.
Conflict with the enemy and the comforts of God are both continual. We, too, however, have a continual role to play. We must continually proclaim our praise. The Psalmist exhorts us to praise “all the day from our youth [to the present] all the day long” (vv. 8, 15, 17, 24). Our response to God’s continual care in the face of the enemy’s constant attack is continual praise.