Week 17 Tuesday

Stand Your Ground

Today’s scripture selection: Second Samuel 1-4

Key verse: Second Samuel 1:12

 

     If you read very much of the Old Testament it doesn’t take long before you can feel battle fatigue.  The long, relentless conflicts; the bloody battles; the constant back and forth of power struggles – these fill the pages of Old Testament history.

     Sometimes, there is a lull in the battle.  And even those who have been knee deep in bloody conflict pause and lament the high cost of those wars.

     David did this after Saul and his son Jonathan were killed.  And, even as he continued to take up the sword against his enemies, he wondered how long that sword would have to be used.

     In our own day we might wonder the same thing.

     How long, Lord?  How long will nations be at each other’s throats?  How long will democracies and dictatorships alike have to sharpen their teeth for battle?

     I personally believe there will never be a time without such conflict.  That is, not until the Lord himself returns and brings an end to it.  No perfect society; no perfect government; and therefore no cessation of conflict.

     This is in no small part due to the fact that we are constantly in spiritual battle with what the Bible calls the “powers of this dark world and…the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  Spiritual warfare isn’t just the stuff of horror films.  It’s real and it’s the source of all human conflict, personal or international in scope.

     What is the scripture’s counsel in light of this sad fact?

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”

 

Wars – big and small – personal and communal – they won’t stop as long human nature as any to do about it.  God will end it one day.  But in the meantime – stand your ground – with God’s resources close at hand, and victory will be yours.

 

Prayer: Almighty God, I wear your armor and trust in your protection against evil.  Thank you, God, for that protection.

AMEN.

 

      

 

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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