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Our enemy

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places. Ephesians 6:12

This is a good reminder. Our enemy is not flesh and blood. If you are being oppressed, harassed, annoyed, frustrated, deceived, or hurt by someone made of flesh and blood–that is not your enemy. Your enemy is the one who seeks to usurp the position, power, and glory of God. Your enemy is the one who wishes to be worshiped as a god, but he is no god.

Rulers of this present darkness may be a person, like a king or a queen who has official power over a country or area. It might also be a crime boss, a cartel leader, or another who has power and authority over a group of people here on earth.

World forces included armies, legions and soldiers. These may be the armies of recognized countries or coalitions, but they may also be rebel armies, armies of soldiers aimed at killing people ruthlessly.

Spiritual forces of wickedness in supernatural places are found both in this realm (the natural) and the other realm (the supernatural). Supernatural refers to a manifestation or event that is attributed to a force or power beyond scientific understanding or measure. Something beyond the laws of nature, beyond the visible and observable universe. Such a force or phenomenon cannot be explained by the laws of nature.

These supernatural forces are beyond our comprehension in the our natural state. But we can understand certain truths about the supernatural realm:

  • First of all, all beings, natural and supernatural, were created. They are all lower and less powerful than their Creator.
  • Second, that there are only two categories of supernatural forces: those which are with God, fighting and battling for the Kingdom of God; and those which oppose God, and are battling against God and His heavenly armies.

Since we can only experience things that can be seen, heard, or touched, for the battle against supernatural forces, we must rely wholly upon God. He must alert us to their presence. He must educate us as to their strategies. He must provide the power to defeat them. This is why the indwelling Spirit of God is so essential in the life of the believer. The Spirit of God within us is the source of the power to stand, doing all to stand until the end of the battle.

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Isaiah Chapter 49

Read Isaiah Chapter 49
1. Who is speaking in Isaiah 49:1-7? How do you know?

2. What do you learn of Messiah from Isaiah 49:6?

3. What promise is embedded in Isaiah 49:6?

4. Read Isaiah 49:7 over again (perhaps several times). What do you learn from this verse?

5. Re-read Isaiah 49:8-13. What promises does God make in this section of the chapter? Provide references.

6. Who/what is doing the praising in Isaiah 49:13?

7. What is the response of Zion (Israel) according to Isaiah 49:14?

8. How does God respond in Isaiah 49:15-23?

9. Copy Isaiah 49:23b (last sentence of the verse) here. Meditate on it. What do you see?

10. What do you learn from Isaiah 49:25-26? How do you feel when you read those verses?

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The Devil’s Playbook

[S]o that you may be able to [successfully] stand up against all the schemes and the strategies and the deceits of the devil. Ephesians 6:11b

We’re told in Ephesians 6:11a to “put on the full armor of God,” and now in Ephesians 6:11b, we’re given the reason–that we might be ale to stand successfully. To understand Paul’s meaning we must consider that in this passage, Paul is speaking of the armor that a Roman soldier would wear into battle. When he tells us to stand, his meaning is that we might be still standing at the end of the battle.

What is it that would oppose us? What would cause us not to stand? Paul tells us that there are schemes, strategies and deceits of the devil all of which will threaten and undermine our ability to stay standing.

A scheme is a secret, dishonest plan or underhanded plot. The schemes of the devil involve discrediting God through discrediting the work on the cross, the transforming power of the blood and the sanctifying power of the indwelling Spirit. The devil has a scheme. We don’t know exactly what he will do next, but it will be underhanded. He will not fight fair.

A strategy is a master plan; a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim. A strategy is the art of war, military tactics, a plan for a military operation and movement during a war or battle. Why would we be at risk when the battle has already been won? In the spiritual battle we are not taking ground, but rather we are holding ground–standing not advancing. The strategy of the devil is to steal, kill and destroy by taking with him as many as he can–keeping them from the abundant life here and eternal life with God.

A deceit is a trick; the action or practice of deceiving someone by concealing or misrepresenting the truth. A deceit is the act of causing someone to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid; an attempt or device to deceive. The devil will try to substitute the false for the truth. He will shave the truth, bend the truth, distort the truth, but he will never tell the truth. Therefore, that is how this battle must be fought–with the truth–the Word of God. Against that, the devil will never prevail.

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Isaiah Chapter 48

Read Isaiah 48
1. Who is Isaiah speaking to in Isaiah 48:1? What do you learn of them from the verse?

2. What does God declare that He did in Isaiah 48:3-5? Why does He say that He did this?

3. What does God declare that He knew about Israel in Isaiah 48:8?

4. Why does God say He will put off His anger towards Israel?

5. What does God say of Israel in Isaiah 48:10

6. What is the reason that God gives for what He has done in Isaiah 48:11?

7. Copy Isaiah 48:12. Mediate on this. What do you see?

8. What do you learn from the following verses?
□ Isaiah 41:4

□ Isaiah 44:6

□ Revelation 1:17

□ Revelation 22:13

9. What does God say that He did in Isaiah 48:13?

10. What does God say in Isaiah 48: 14-16 of those who declare the things in the verses before?

11. Who is speaking is Isaiah 48:16?

12. What do you learn about God from Isaiah 48:17-19?

13. What is God saying to Israel, those in captivity, in Isaiah 48:20-21?

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Isaiah Chapter 47

Read Isaiah 47
1. What is God saying will become of Babylon in Isaiah 47:1-15? Give specific examples from the text.

2. What reasons does God give for the judgment against Babylon?

3. Copy Isaiah 47:4 here. Mediate on this. What do you see?

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Isaiah Chapter 46

Read Isaiah Chapter 46
1. What historical event is Isaiah report in Isaiah 46:1-2?

2. Who is Bel? Nebo?

3. What great promise does God make through Isaiah in Isaiah 46:3-4? How does that encourage you?

4. What comparison is made between the gods of the Babylonians and Jehovah in these opening verses of Chapter 46?

5. What is God saying about idols and those who worship them in Isaiah 46:5-7?

6. What is God saying of Himself in contrast to the idols in Isaiah 46:8-11?

7. What do you learn from Isaiah 46:12-13?

8. What do you learn about Zion from the following verses?
□ Psalm 9:11

□ Psalm 48:2

□ Psalm 50:2

□ Psalm 87:2

9. How does it affect a place (the way it looks, the way it feels, the people living there, etc.) when God has put Himself there?

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The Splendid Armor of God

Put on the full armor of God [for His precepts are like the splendid armor of a heavily-armed soldier]  Ephesians 6:11a

Sometimes passages of scripture like Ephesians 6 can become so familiar that we don’t take the time to dissect them and extract the precious promises of God.
The phrase “Put on” speaks of choice, of action, of intentionality. I must choose to follow this command. I must obey. As with much of the teaching of scripture, obedience is key to closer, more intimate relationship with God.

The “armor of God” is a way to remember the truths that already bedeck or outfit the believer. They are truths that flow from being born again and from the sanctifying work of God in the life of every believer. By “putting them on,” we are mentally assenting to their existence and operation in our lives.

The armor is His precepts–they bedazzle us. They word “precept” has at its root “to warn” or “instruct.” A precept is general rule intended to regulate behavior or thought. In other words, His instructions and warnings to us, found in the holy scriptures, are the armor. They are intended to modify our behavior and/or our thoughts in such a way as to protect us, gird us, and equip us for the spiritual battle we face every moment that we are in this world.

As you think about the battle that you have been thrust into, trust in the Word of God, which has been given to you. His precepts are intended to be like the “splendid armor of a heavily-armed soldier,” awe-inspiring and sending a message to all who would advance against us, that we are not coming unprepared into the battle.

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