“And Nahash the Ammonite answered them, “On this condition I will make a covenant with you, that I may put out all your right eyes, and bring reproach on all Israel.” – 1 Samuel 11:2
“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” – Ephesians 6:13
We are in a spiritual battle. Our country and the world are divided in ever-broadening ways. Half-truths, misinformation, propaganda and “conspiracy theories” are proliferating and permeating the also growing channels of communication. It’s as though “the prince of the power of the air” has taken control. This is a battle of information. This is a battle of competing reformations. How can we wade through all the confusion? How can we “stand” in “such a time as this”?
What I intend to do with this study is provide you with A Short Manual on Spiritual Warfare. This is not an exhaustive study on the subject. But it does provide some insight into the strategies of Satan as well as what our Spirit filled response should be. I hope and pray you find it helpful.
When we think of a man named “Saul,” we more often than not think first of the before Christ name of the Apostle Paul. But there is another prominent “Saul” in scripture. I’m talking about King Saul, the first king of Israel. His is a story that does not end well. But it is a story of a wonderful beginning with great potential. This beginning of King Saul is where I want to take us today. The first victory gives us a taste of what might have been. And this first victory gives us great insight into the tactics of Satan and calls us into further New Testament insight into spiritual warfare.
At the end of 1 Samuel 10 Saul has just be anointed king. The people of Israel, for the most part, welcomed him. He was a relative unknown. But he was literally head and shoulders above everyone else. The final verses of chapter ten inform us that Saul, from the start, had his detractors.
But in 1 Samuel 11 we have Saul’s first major challenge as King of Israel. The chapter begins:
11 Then Nahash the Ammonite came up and encamped against Jabesh Gilead; and all the men of Jabesh said to Nahash, “Make a covenant with us, and we will serve you.”
2 And Nahash the Ammonite answered them, “On this condition I will make a covenant with you, that I may put out all your right eyes, and bring reproach on all Israel.”
There’s more than meets the eye in this account. The account of Saul’s defeat of Nahash the Ammonite will provide us with a valuable lesson on responding to enemy attacks. It will also give us insight into spiritual warfare.
This was a scary threat to the people of Jabesh Gilead. The city of Jabesh Gilead was of the tribe of Gad. The tribe of Gad was one of the two and a half tribes (Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh) that chose to settle outside the Promised Land, east of the Jordan River (Numbers 32; Joshua 13). This put them on the border of the Ammonites, where Nahash, the one threatening them, came from. There’s a broader, deeper lesson to be learned from this.
Whenever you choose less than God’s best or to forego God’s prescribed plans, you always put yourself in a vulnerable position geographically. Geographically, they, the people of Jabesh Gilead, were more vulnerable to attack being east of the Jordan River. They knew this when they decided to remain there and not accompany the other tribes into the Promised Land. Geographically, if they had stayed close to God and where He wanted them, they wouldn’t be in this position. When we allow ourselves to drift from fellowship with the Lord and others, we are geographically vulnerable to the attacks of our enemy Satan. When we aren’t following God’s plans for us, we’re in the wrong place. And when we aren’t in the right place, we run into adversaries and predicaments we were never meant to run into.
Whenever you choose to go your own way and not follow the God’s plan with God’s people, you put yourself in a weakened position numerically. They were geographically vulnerable due to staying east of the Jordan, but they were also numerically vulnerable since they were only two and a half tribes and not the full twelve tribes. When we isolate ourselves from God and His fellowship of believers, we play into the age-old strategy of divide and conquer. Satan knows about this tactic and uses it often. A person or believer, on their own, isolated, is easy prey for him.
When this happens, we can expect to face a ruthless cunning enemy. Satan and the enemies of God’s people can smell weakness and vulnerability. To them it is like blood in the air. To them it is prey and easy pickings; like a lamb straying from the safety of its pen, like a straggler wandering from a heard.
The Enemies’ Cunning Ruthlessness
That Nahash’ requirement to “put out all your right eyes,” was cunningly ruthless. By gouging out the right eye it would not only shame and humiliate these people, but it would hinder them from rebelling against him. A one-eyed adversary is at a decided disadvantage militarily. Fighting with one eye means you lose depth perception, peripheral vision, and are generally weakened for battle. A one-eyed soldier is more susceptible to being blind-sided. With one eye, you don’t see the whole picture before you. With less sensory information, with less information period, you are at your adversaries’ mercy. Nahash was not one to show mercy.
Enslaving. Why not gouge out both eyes? Because Nahash wanted them to serve as slaves. A blind slave is not very useful. But a one eyes slave is of some use. If they gouged out both eyes, they would become a burden not a resource.
Nahash the “Serpent” – The Strategy of Satan.
Interestingly, the name “Nahash” means, SERPENT. What we have here is not only a local account of Saul’s first challenge by an invader. What we have here is a broader picture of Satan’s strategy to enslave people; even God’s people. What parent would name their child “Serpent? Maybe parents who worship the devil. Maybe parents who like snakes. But this was likely a name given to him after his birth because of who he was.
What is Satan’s strategy based on the circumstances of Nahash and the people of Jabesh Gilead? When we look at the evidence, we are able to see some strategies of the devil to weaken us and make us his prey. This is a picture of how Satan attacks us. Here are what are often successful strategies of the devil to defeat us.
Settling. If Satan can get us to settle for less than God’s best, such as he did with Ruben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh who remained east of the Jordan and outside the Promised Land, then he has us in a vulnerable weakened position.
Spiritual shortsightedness. The two and a half tribes had no vision or sense of God’s destiny for them. They were very shallow spiritually. They were shortsighted; they didn’t see God’s big picture. God had brought them out of Egypt and through the wilderness with an objective of a lush land of blessing. But they had no desire or perception about what God was doing. Therefore, they settled for less than God’s best.
Secularity. The two and a half tribes, even though they did help the other tribes secure the Land, acted in a faithless way. They had no faith in God. They had no interest in relating to Him in faith. They had no interest in spiritual things or higher callings of God. They were secular in the sense that they were satisfied to settled in an unblessed land rather than trust the Lord to bring them into the Land of blessing.
The two and a half tribes did care about keeping their identity with the other tribes. They even built a memorial altar in their land to keep that identity in place. But that only led to complications with the other tribes and a near civil war (cf. Joshua 22). There’s just no getting around it. When you compromise and settle for less than God’s best, you invite trouble into your life.
Compromised comfort seeking. The two and a half tribes acted in a faithless way preferring ease and comfort. They decided to stay east of the Jordan because it was more comfortable (Numbers 32; Joshua 22). Whenever we choose a life of comfort instead of conquest in Christ, we set ourselves up to be conquered by the enemy. Now, it’s true that following God and His plan can be difficult at times. But it is always worth it. God allows difficulty in our lives to build our spiritual muscles (Psalm 66:10-12; James 1:2-5; 1 Peter 1:6-9).
David is a good example of how in order to reach God’s position for him as king, he underwent a great deal of testing. We will see that later in this book. David will be tested greatly at the hands of king Saul. God uses king Saul to show David what a king shouldn’t be. It is difficult for David, but it is necessary to build character in David and preparing him for successfully fulfilling God’s plan in and through his life.
When we settle for less than God’s best or His will, we set ourselves up for attack from the enemy. We should put on Jesus and make no provisions for the flesh (Romans 13:14),
Spiritual shrinkage. Satan is a bully. He is a master of bluster. He can make himself pretty scary at times. If we aren’t aware of God as our Protector and Shepherd, we will shrink before Satan’s bullying tactics. The people of Jabesh Gilead shrunk before Nahash the serpent. They had forgotten how God had defeated Israel’s enemies in the past. But because they had chosen to live separately from the other tribes, they felt weak and at the mercy of this serpentine bully. Satan seeks to blind us, even if only partly. Ignorance is a strategy of Satan. If he can keep us ignorant of God’s truth, God’s resources at our disposal, or anything in God’s word, he has us at a great disadvantage. And when we don’t know the truth of Satan’s defeat and that he is a loser, then we are more likely to cower when confronted by the devil. The truth is we have power to defeat the devil by virtue of Jesus in our lives (Job 1-2; Romans 16:20; James 4:7; 1 John 4:4).
Susceptible to cooperation with evil. Because of their weakened position, the people of Jabesh Gilead felt they had little alternative than to cooperate with the demands of Nahash. When you keep your distance from the Lord and His people, and you’re on your own, you feel like you can’t resist the enemy and feel forced to comply with his demands. The devil will try to bully you into cooperating with him. He will get you to compromise. The devil will try and get you to compromise God’s word or your integrity in Christ, your character in Christ. He will try and get you to bend the rules of God. Someone has said, “The devil is in the details.” The devil presents you with a good-looking opportunity. But if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t cooperate with the devil. Don’t’ cut corners in God’s plans. With God the means to the end is just as important than the ends of His plans. Do not agree to join with the devil in anything.
Shame. The devil will use shame to manipulate and control you. He will use the threat of shame to keep you from dealing with sin. He will use the fear of embarrassment to control you.
Slavery. The objective of the enemy is to enslave you and force you to worship and serve him. Satan has always wanted our worship (e.g. Isaiah 14). He will try to maneuver you into accepting his will and turning over your will to him.
Squashed. The people of Jabesh Gilead felt they would be squashed before Nahash. They timidly asked for some time to see if anyone would help them. But in their isolation form the rest of God’s people they felt alone. And, fortunately, Nahash gave them the asked for time. But if he hadn’t these people would indeed a have been squashed. Satan wants to keep us in a defeated state so that he can use us for his purposes. He wants to maim us spiritually. He wants to gouge out an eye so that our defeat will be permanent and he can keep us from being useful to the Lord. He will keep us in condemnation, guilt, shame, and defeat to make us useless to God and useful for himself. He wants us to surrender and be defeated in our failings so he can use us or at least make us feel useless to Lord.
Subdued. The people of Jabesh Gilead, in their compromised position east of the Jordan and outside the Promised Land of God, were in a subdued position. They had no courage to stand up to the invasion of Nahash. They had to rely on others. They were in danger and vulnerable to any forces that would come against them. Therefore, they had no peace. They lived with the treat of invasion. They lived a subdued existence, not a spiritual successful one. That is the cost of comfort and compromise.
How do we defend against such strategies of Nahash, the serpent; Satan? Let’s see.
Nahash’s Undoing – Pride and Arrogance
3 Then the elders of Jabesh said to him, “Hold off for seven days, that we may send messengers to all the territory of Israel. And then, if there is no one to save us, we will come out to you.”
Why would Nahash agree to let the people he was seeking to conquer, go and get help? Wouldn’t that make it harder for him to defeat them? Isn’t waiting for your enemy to get reinforcements a bad military strategy? Yes, indeed it is. But here is Nahash’s and the devil’s greatest flaw. It’s a flaw that ends in defeat every time. That flaw is pride.
We aren’t given any information on why Nahash agreed to wait seven days. He seemed to be ready for battle. So why would he wait. He probably waited because he was proud. He was arrogant enough to think it didn’t matter what the people of Jabesh Gilead did, he would defeat them.
Well, this proved foolish. When Saul heard of the situation he was, in the Spirit, able to muster 330,000 men to fight against Nahash and defeat them him soundly (1 Samuel 11:8). This is a good reminder of what the Bible says about pride:
- Proverbs 16:18 – Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.
Satan fell because of pride. Nahash will fall because of pride. Pride leads to destruction every time. Pride is the devil’s Achille’s heel. Remember that.
A Spirit Led Response
4 So the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul and told the news in the hearing of the people. And all the people lifted up their voices and wept.
The response to this devilish serpentine threat is a case study in what we should do when confronted and invaded by an enemy. We will see as we proceed, that this was part of a move of the Spirit. “When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him” (Isaiah 59:19b). That standard will be composed of Saul and the people of God.
The people respond with a heartfelt cry. When news of the threat came to the people in Gibeah, the people wept. And this is a key to resisting the devil. The people responded with a heartfelt response. When that happens, God hears and God works. God hears our cry. He heard the cries of His people in bondage to the Egyptians (Exodus 1). The Psalmist wrote, “I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry” (Psalm 40:1). In Psalm 10 it states:
Psalm 10:17–18 (NRSV)
17 O Lord, you will hear the desire of the meek;
you will strengthen their heart, you will incline your ear
18 to do justice for the orphan and the oppressed,
so that those from earth may strike terror no more.
The context of the Psalm is a cry for God’s protection and help against an oppressor. God hears our prayers.
But there’s something more to see here in this cry of the people. If we look back at the history of the people from Jabesh Gilead, we see that they were not always the most loyal or supportive of the people in the tribes. At the end of Judges when there is great civil war between the tribe of Benjamin and the other tribes, the tribe of Benjamin was nearly wiped out (Judges 20). The account brings into question the loyalty of the people from Jabesh Gilead (Judges 21). In light of this, it makes the heartfelt cry all the more impressive. God’s people grieved for the people of Jabesh Gilead even though they weren’t the most loyal or dependable of the people in the tribes. There’s something to be said for helping others, even when they don’t deserve it. God sent His Son Jesus to die for us, when were still sinners (Romans 5:8). We should love and help others, even if they don’t deserve it. That’s what happens when the Spirit is moving.
5 Now there was Saul, coming behind the herd from the field; and Saul said, “What troubles the people, that they weep?” And they told him the words of the men of Jabesh. 6 Then the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard this news, and his anger was greatly aroused. 7 So he took a yoke of oxen and cut them in pieces, and sent them throughout all the territory of Israel by the hands of messengers, saying, “Whoever does not go out with Saul and Samuel to battle, so it shall be done to his oxen.”
God raises up a Spirit filled leader. When Saul returns from working in the fields, he asks what all the commotion is. When he is told of the threats of Nahash, it states, “Then the Spirit of God came upon Saul.” Saul is empowered with a holy anger. Anger is good when directed toward evil. We can be angry and still not sin (e.g. Eph. 4:26). Saul sends out an object lesson to the surrounding people. He cuts a yoke of oxen in pieces and sends them out to the people saying this is what’s going to happen to you if you don’t drop everything and follow me and Samuel. Saul made his point.
And the fear of the Lord fell on the people, and they came out with one consent.
God united the people behind the call of Saul. When the Spirit of the LORD comes upon a leader, He unites the people behind that leader.
8 When he numbered them in Bezek, the children of Israel were three hundred thousand, and the men of Judah thirty thousand. 9 And they said to the messengers who came, “Thus you shall say to the men of Jabesh Gilead: ‘Tomorrow, by the time the sun is hot, you shall have help.’” Then the messengers came and reported it to the men of Jabesh, and they were glad. 10 Therefore the men of Jabesh said, “Tomorrow we will come out to you, and you may do with us whatever seems good to you.”
When the Spirit moves, He encourages through fellowship. News that they were to receive help from the other tribes and Saul was a source of great encouragement to the people of Jabesh Gilead. When the Spirit moves, He unites people and encourages.
11 So it was, on the next day, that Saul put the people in three companies; and they came into the midst of the camp in the morning watch, and killed Ammonites until the heat of the day. And it happened that those who survived were scattered, so that no two of them were left together.
In the power of the Spirit Saul lead the people to resist their foe and win a great victory.
12 Then the people said to Samuel, “Who is he who said, ‘Shall Saul reign over us?’ Bring the men, that we may put them to death.”
The people are united behind this Spirit filled leader Saul.
13 But Saul said, “Not a man shall be put to death this day, for today the Lord has accomplished salvation in Israel.”
Look at the mercy and grace of Saul the Spirit filled leader. It would have bene easy for the newly crowned King Saul to see this as an opportunity to squash his opposition. But instead he demonstrates mercy and grace and understanding. Saul here demonstrates leadership with character and integrity.
14 Then Samuel said to the people, “Come, let us go to Gilgal and renew the kingdom there.” 15 So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king before the Lord in Gilgal. There they made sacrifices of peace offerings before the Lord, and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly.
With this victory came a revival. The people thank the Lord for this Spirit-filled heaven-sent leader. And they unite behind King Saul. They worship the Lord for the victory. Gilgal was the first place of remembrance set up as the people crossed over the Jordan into the Promised Land (Joshua 4:19). Gilgal was a special place to remember what God had done for His people and to worship Him for it (e.g. Joshua 5:9-10; 10:15 and 43; 14:6). The name “Gilgal” means rolling. At Gilgal was a great stone. The idea was to remember how God had rolled away the reproach of Egypt from Israel. It was a place of remembrance and hope. There the people remembered God’s past help and how He would roll away subsequent obstacles impeding them in fulfilling God’s plans for them. It was therefore appropriate to celebrate this first mighty victory of their first king at this special place.
Little do the people and everyone involved realize that this is the high point for Saul as king. Such potential for greatness will be squandered soon. We look at this, and what follows in the degrading life of King Saul, and we wonder, “Oh, what might have been?”
Defeating the Bullying Serpent – Satan
There is much to be learned about standing up to the serpent, like Nahash, when he opposes us. The best commentary of the Old Testament is the New Testament. The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed. The New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. Therefore, let’s go to the New Testament to get some further insight on how to resist the bullying tactics of Satan.
When we go to the New Testament, we find God’s truth and revelation about His provisions when attacked by the devil or when fighting in this war of life. In Ephesians we are told of armor God has provided. We need to use what God has given us. God has given us armor to battle the devil.
- Ephesians 6:10–20 – 10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
We put our armor on when we:
Realize God is more powerful than the devil (Eph. 6:10). It’s not even close. God is eternal and all powerful and all wise. Satan is a create being under the authority of God Almighty (e.g. Job 1-2).
Realize God has provided us with armor for this battle (Eph. 6:11). God has given us armor. It is weaponry perfectly and potently suited for this war. This armor is impregnable. It is undefeatable. It makes us well suited for victory in this war.
Realize you have to put ALL the armor on (Eph. 6:11). We need to put all the armor on. If we don’t put all the armor on, we leave ourselves vulnerable to attack at whatever point we are armor-less. If we put all the armor on, WE CAN’T BE DFEATED!
Realize God only expects us to STAND (Eph. 6:11). We need only take a stand in faith. God will move us to where He wants us. Our job is to simply stand up where He puts us.
Realize the devil is wily (Eph. 6:11). The word “wiles” (Greek methodeia) means lie in wait, cunning, deceitful, crafty, travesty, trickery. The devil will use deceit and lies, ambush and misdirection tactics in his attacks. He doesn’t usually come at you straight on, he blind sides you. He strikes out of the darkness.
Realize our fight is not against people (Eph. 6:12). Our battle is not against people, it’s against unseen demonic forces that manipulate people who are usually ignorant of his manipulation.
Realize our enemy is organized and formidable (Eph. 6:12). They are listed in ranks, “principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places.”
Realize our enemy is stealthy; they are unseen to the naked eye (Eph. 6:12). They are “in heavenly places.” They are invisible to us. They are not seen by the naked eye. They manifest themselves in the practices and sinful actions of people they are manipulating. As an unseen enemy they are expert at ambush and blind side tactics. Beware.
Realize the tactics of the devil and his minions is to use sin (Eph. 6:12-13). “Wickedness” (Greek poneria) means depravity, malice, plots, iniquity, wickedness, evil purpose, sins. Whenever we sin, we are giving the devil a victory.
The word “darkness” (Greek skotos) is an important one here. “Darkness” means shadiness, obscurity, a darkened eyesight of blindness, ignorance respecting divine things and human duties, the place where ungodly and immoral behavior takes place. Satan uses our ignorance of the truths of God found in his word. If Satan can keep us ignorant of God’s truth and Gods’ provisions, then he can defeat us in places where we should or could have victory with Jesus.
Satan uses “evil” (Greek poneros) or things that are hurtful, degeneracy, calamitous, diseased, immoral, derelict, vicious, mischief, malicious, lewd, wickedness, evil. Devil is simply “D” on the front of “evil.” Remember that.
Realize truth holds all of God’s armor together on you (Eph. 6:14a). The armor here is held in place with God’s truth. God’s truth is found in God’s word (John 17:17). The truth about all of the additional pieces of Gods provided armor will help us use the armor to its optimum. Satan works with lies. God’s truth will help you stand against those lies.
Realize God’s righteousness guards your heart (Eph. 6:14b). The breastplate, the part of the armor that covers your chest where your heart is, is referred to as “righteousness.” We need to be aware that our righteousness is based on the finished work of Jesus, not our works (Eph. 2:8-9; Romans 3:19-26; Romans 5; Romans 8:1-2; Titus 3:4-7). This righteousness we have in Christ will guard our heart against Satan’s accusations, guilt, condemnations.
Realize we need to take the gospel wherever we go (Eph. 6:15). We are not only in a defensive position. No. We take the gospel on our feet wherever we go so that we can set others free from the slavery of sin and Satan. The Roman soldier’s shoes had thick soles to protect their feet from sharp stones and debris. But they were also for crushing the enemy. We can crush the enemy under our feet with the shoes of God’s gospel! (e.g. Romans 16:20). And notice the mention of “the gospel of peace.” Satan wants to agitate and disrupt. He wants to instill fear and calamity. Use the “gospel of peace” to settle people down and calm the waters of their stormy lives.
Realize that “above all” we should take the shield of faith (Eph. 6:16). Satan will shoot darts of doubt, arrows of agony producing accusations, and disheartening deceptions. But God’s shield of faith helps us ward off anything the devil throws at us. Trust God no matter what. He has victoriously withstood anything the devil has thrown at Him. God has all of history on His side. History is His-story of faithfulness and victory. Shield yourself from discouragement and despair. Put your faith in God and march on to victory, undeterred.
Realize you have a helmet of salvation (Eph. 6:17a). The helmet covers your head where your brain is. Your brain is your thinking organ. Your brain and mind are the battlefield of the devil. He targets your thinking. He shoots at your mind with deceptions and half-truths, with lazy and lustful thoughts. The devil targets your mind to get you to think in unchristlike ways. With the helmet of salvation, you can take every thought captive to Jesus (2 Cor. 10:3-4). With the helmet of salvation, you can think rightly (e.g. Phil. 4:8-10).
Realize you have a sword to wield (Eph. 6:17b). The “sword” (Greek machaira) here is a knife, it’s a short sword, a curved sword for cutting, a straight sword for thrusting. This sword can be used as a scalpel to do spiritual surgery. It can be used to skin an animal to ready it to eat. It is a weapon used on close hand to hand combat. The sword here is specifically, “the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.” Notice, it is “the sword of the Spirit.” This is a Spirit empowered weapon. We should always rely on the Spirit of God to empower us to stand in this battel (e.g. John 14-16; Acts 1:8; Acts 2ff; Romans 8). And “the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.” The language of the Spirit is His word. We get our marching orders and tactics from the Holy Spirit inspired word of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17). No solider of Christ is equipped unless they have the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God with them. Sometimes, the devil will get in close to you. When that happens, just pull out your machaira and strike to the heart of the devil’s falsehoods with the truth of God’s word.
Realize prayer is essential in this war (Eph. 6:18). Prayer is how we keep in touch with our Commander. Prayer is how we get our marching orders or know where and how the Lord would have us stand. Prayer is the long-range artillery in spiritual warfare. Prayer is how the enemies’ beachhead is softened up for us to storm.
Realize we need to prayer for boldness in this battle (Eph. 6:19). Paul asked that the Ephesians pray that the Lord give him boldness to share the gospel. “Boldly” (Greek parrhesia) means outspokenness, frankness, unreservedness in speech, plainness, freely, openly, publicly, courage, assurance, boldness, fearlessness. There were times when Paul, the great Apostle Paul, was fearful (e.g. Acts 18:9-11). But Paul faced those fears victoriously through prayer. We need to be bold in our stand for the Lord. Pray for a holy boldness and fearlessness.
Realize that serving in this war is not comfortable (Eph. 6:20). Paul wrote this letter to the Ephesians from a prison cell. Ruben. Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh settled for the comfort of the out-of-the-will-of-God- east-of-the-Jordan-unpromised-land. And they put themselves in a compromised and vulnerable position. Learn from their mistakes and learn from Paul. It’s always better to stand with the Lord than to lay down on the couch of comfort.
So, the next time you are confronted by a bully boastful devilish serpentine enemy, call out to God. Pray for the Spirit’s empowerment. Lead in the Spirit. Maybe even ask for some holy anger to drive you on. And when victory is won, give glory to God at your own personal Gilgal. In Jesus’ name, amen.