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In Battle Array

Chester Clark III


Chester Clark III

Pastor, Evangelist, and Educator



  • May 11, 2019
    11:00 AM
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Today we're talking about the experience of Israel I've been titled our time together in battle array we're not going to be looking it into a talent yet the experience of David and Goliath a familiar story but as I as I was reading the story of David and as I was talking and and praying about the the passage here I realize there's a lot of a lot of lessons that we can find even in the 1st few verses of this chapter the situation is that Israel is surrounded by heathen tribes some of them have had the light of heaven shining upon them for over 400 years while Abraham was so journeying he gave testimony of the God of Heaven the truth of Heaven and yet many of these nations developed even more. Sinister you might say ways even offering their children as burnt offerings to their gods false religion superstitions abounded it was a it was a corrupt evil degenerate society that Israel found themselves in. And as they took possession of the promised land there was instructions by God that they some of these people were to be. Eliminated now we can say all we want to say about it today we can try to go back and apply today's ethics and morality and all the rest to that time and say well God did know what he was doing but the reality is my Bible tells me that God gave instructions and I think there are some things historically scientifically morally etc that we may not completely understand about the situation of that day and I'm willing to leave that with God OK And so what we do see happening is that the those those for instructions were not ultimately carried out and by the way there were those who converted to worshipping the true God and they were not destroyed. So there was room for repentance there was room for right for redemption but the Philistines. Became so synonymous with troubling Israel that we sometimes use it as a as a euphemism or as an expression to talk about the things that haunt us the Philistines in our lives that's how that's how the proverbial they were in their harassment of Israel and here we find a story in for Samuel 17 of the Philistines gathering together to battle and we're going to be looking at it here but we're going to start by bowing ahead for the prayer and then opening our reading of God's word Let's pray Father we thank you that you've given to us your word we thank you for the chance to study it today and to learn more about it to learn more of how we can apply the things that we've learned to our lives and so we ask that as we have gathered here today your spirit would bless a teach us. Encourage and strengthen us we might be better men and women and boys and girls having spent time in the Bible in Jesus' name we pray Amen our scripture is Chapter 17 a verse Samuel and beginning of verse one now the Philistines gathered their armies together to battle and were gathered at Soco which belongs to Judah they camped along between Soco and as in F. as Dammam and saw in the men of Israel were gathered together and they camped in the valley of Ila and drew up in battle array against the Philistines Now this is a really the phrase that caught my attention as I began reading this passage in battle array Now what does a battle array mean anyway I suppose a battle or a and by the way I have no military experience to draw from but I'm just imagining OK as a as a preacher I'm imagining the battle array has something to do with with organizing for battle it has something to do with with the setting up the lining up and preparing for battle and that's important as it's always important to be prepared it also may have something to do with posturing for the enemy. I mean after all battle array you would want to convince your enemy that you've got something going on over here right so they've lined up in battle array and this reminded me of a historical fact from way back around 1904 in the World War 2 history the history of the ghost Army this is the bad from the ghost army the ghost army was a United States Army tactical unit during World War 2 It was officially known as the 23rd headquarters special troops or operation Quicksilver there were $1100.00 men that made up this unit and they were given a unique mission within the forces from a few months after D.-Day when they landed in France until the end of the war they basically put on a traveling road show their job was to convince the enemy there was an army there they would impersonate other allied units to deceive the enemy they had inflatable tanks sound trucks they made fake radio transmissions they had scripts and pretense and they staged more than 20 elaborate battlefield deceptions convincing Germany that as many as 30000 soldiers were present at one time when it was really just the 11 a 100 of them running around and putting on a show here's a picture of one of their inflatable tanks the Sherman in for tank. They had inflatable tanks cannons jeeps trucks and airplanes. That the men would come and inflate in with air compressors and they could have in a few hours a simulated airfield set up with all of the support troops the guards the tanks and everything else they would not just they would not just set up this they would do it actually within sight of enemy lines so they would camouflage the tanks as if they were real tanks but not camouflage them to well because they wanted them to be seen they would actually after they had pushed into a district they would they would go in convoys and they would put trucks you know like the people carrier trucks they would go through the towns and villages with trucks and they didn't have enough soldiers to fill the trucks so they just put 2 soldiers in the back of the trucks and some dummies the rest and they would actually go in circles and just keep going through the towns and the spies that would be in the towns would have the idea that there was a lot more of them there than Then there were because they were thin personating specific army divisions they would actually learn the style of the radio operators the Morse Code style of the radio operators so as a division of soldiers thousands of soldiers would move out of an area the ghost division would move in and their radio operator would carry on as if nothing had changed sending fake messages convincing the enemy that this whole division of army soldiers was still there of course. They also had a sound unit they they recorded all kinds of military sounds back here in the U.S. and had speakers in generators such that the sounds could be heard for 15 miles from where they were playing the sounds. And they could mix the sounds to match whatever it was they were trying to simulate was going on and they're fake airbase Now this was all top secret at the time in fact is still some aspects of that are classified but it was mostly these classified in the last 20 years or so movies been made of it but the question I had was how much actual How many victories did these inflatable tanks actually win I'm sure they had a purpose and a part to play but they were really just a spoof army they really just were meant to make the enemy think they were all there the Bible records the Philistines were on one side of the valley and the Israelites were on the other side of the valley we call the valley of Ila and there you can still go today and there's a stream that runs through particularly when it rains hard it's usually dry but on one side Israel is camp on the other side the Philistines were camped and the Bible says they were in battle array who were the Philistines Well this was not a time of national borders as you know those are fairly recent in human history national borders borders are are a fairly recent phenomenon these were city states basically and the 5 cities that made up of the the Philistine nation Gaza Ashkelon Ashdod EK Ron and gas these were the 5 cities of the Philistines that when we talk about the Philistines the lives of the people that we are talking about the kings of the cities where the Philistines. And so they're gathered here and by the way the the valley of each law is right here that we're talking about these are different battles historic battles that were fall between the Philistines and Israelites but this is the one we're talking about right here and if you were to go there today this is the the area and fact this hill is where it's believed the Israelites would have been encamped and over here the Philistines and the creek is between here and the road that the Philistines eventually would flee down is this valley here back to their territory and so this was this was a this was a significant challenge to Israel's we look back in our Bibles we find in beginning in verse 3 the Philistines stood on a mountain on one side and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side and a valley between them and a champion verse for a champion went out from the camp of the Philistines named Goliath from Gap whose height was 6 cubits and a span he had a bronze helmet on his head and he was armed with a coat of mail on the weight of the coat was 5000 shekels of bronze and he had bronze armor on his legs and a bronze javelin between his shoulders now the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam and his iron spear had weighed 600 shekels and a shield bearer went before him not you don't know what all of those different measurements are you just should be impressed this is a really big man he's got big armor he's got a big sort of god big spear and this is not an ordinary human being we're talking about here we'll visit that a little later in our series but the reality is that this was a giant who was terrorizing the armies of of Israel this is what he would say verse 8 he came and stood and cried out to the armies of Israel and said to them Why have you come out to the line up for battle notice he did not say why do you come out for battle he said Why do you come out to line up for battle because as day after day after day passed. There was no battle there was lining up there was battle array but they might as well have been blow up in fours they weren't going to fight why have you lined up for battle he says Am I not a Philistine and you the servants of Saul choose a man for yourselves and let him come down to me if he is able to fight with me and kill me then we will be your servants but if I prevail against him and kill him then you shall be our servants and serve us and the Philistines said I defy the armies of Israel this day give me a man that we may fight together then Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine they were greatly dismayed and dismayed and greatly afraid now this didn't just happen once or twice it happened morning and evening for nearly 6 weeks 40 days they were lined up for battle but there was no battle they were in battle array but nobody was moving and as I thought about this I thought of the proverb I have heard out west little more the little saying people have when someone talks a lot but doesn't have the ability to back up their talk you heard that saying big hat no cattle. This was the Philistines know them so this was the Israelites in the Valley of the law they were lined up for battle even the the opponent Goliath recognize they were lined up the Bible says they were in battle array they've had everything organized they were all ready but they were going nowhere because it was all hat and no cattle they were scared they were afraid. And they wanted to look impressive but they didn't want to act impress they wanted to look the part but they didn't want to act the part they were full of big talk but they were lacking action power or substance big hat no cattle in battle array I want to turn our attention to New Testament paths now keep your finger here him and go in for Samuel But we're going to look in 2nd Timothy because I think that we can take this story the Bible says these things were all written for our examples upon whom the INS of The Age or the INS of the world have come right they're written for our examples they're not just bedtime stories for us to sell Bible story books about or read them to our children these stories are there for our instruction that we might learn that we might be benefited that we might be strengthened for our own spiritual walk and in 2nd Timothy Chapter 3 and verse one it says but know this that in the last days perilous times that's dangerous times will come for men will be lovers of themselves lovers of money boasters proud blasphemers disobedient to parents unthink full unholy unloving unforgiving slanders without self-control brutal despisers of good traitors headstrong hati lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God Now this verse if we read this version of these verses this passage as we read this passage it's easy for us to say that's exactly the way the world has become but that wasn't what Paul meant because that wasn't what Paul said because he goes on in verse 5 he says what having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof. I want you to understand beloved that Paul here is not describing how the world would be before the end of time and the last days the dangerous times and by the way it's my personal conviction that those are the times in which we're living today they're dangerous times my personal conviction is we're living in the days which Paul is describing here but he is not describing the world he is unfortunately describing the church he's describing at a time when the church would have all of these negative things and characteristics but at the same time I have a form of godliness in my imagination forgive me a little bit but I get my imagination sometimes gets a little out of him but I my imagination Paul's imagining a church like the ghost army of 1904 having a form of godliness I'm talking about the tanks and the planes and the jeeps and the trucks and the sounds and the radio messages and all kinds of things going on the church would be drawn up in battle array but I'd be all hat and no cattle having a form of godliness but denying the power other dangerous times yes dangerous times because after all can get comfortable it can get comfortable in this standoff situation it becomes the new normal you know we're just living here yeah the Philistines over there shouting but we're just here for 3 days no motion maybe 40 years go by the Church of God doesn't change much. We've got a standoff going on yeah we talk about the world we talk about these things maybe in our own Christian experience and I look at this in 2 different ways but by the way I look at this as I mean applicable in our own Christian experience and my own Christian experience I could be like the ghost army of 1904 I could be a Christian in name only or at least mostly in name having a form of godliness but denying the power there that's a personal experience that I could have I pray it's not my experience of praise not your experience but that's the danger that Paul's describes as being very real in the last days not for the world but for the church for God's people it could be that we just become accustomed to letting the evil exist in our life to letting the giants in our lives terrorize us and demonize us and and challenge us and we don't even give an answer it could be that we've forgotten that we serve the living God It could be that we've forgotten that God expects and wants us to have a miraculous experience in our personal lives the freedom from those chains that bind us if the Son of Man sets you free you shall be free indeed but it could be there were cumbered so accustomed to the Philistines in our lives that we've just accepted it as the new normal we're allowing this thing to occupy our territory we're allowing this thing to become a part of our experience and to stay there and oh it's not that we accept it no because we're drawn up in battle re we've wind up for battle but it's all a farce because we're claiming we have a form we have a profession but we're not experiencing the power of God that could be our experience. The 2nd way that this can apply to us today and remember these are written for us today upon whom in the world or come the 2nd is the church in the world could it be that we as a church are willing to accept an uneasy standoff Oh yes we were organized for evangelism we've got the resources for evangelism we're even all lined up in organized and we have it all put in place but are we just in battle array are we in battle are we challenging the territory of Satan and alt are we going into those homes where people are hurting suffering under the power of Satan with addictions and sin and do we believe that those people those people not some strangers in the mission field but the people that are under Satan's influence here in Dalton can be set free by the power of Jesus Christ are we in battle array or are we in battle I'm asking these is rhetorical questions for us to ponder in our own hearts and our own lives am I as an individual Christian am I in battle array or I'm in battle are we as a church family are we in battle array or we engaging the enemy knowing knowing full well that the god the enemy is defining is the God of heaven and earth the God of creation the God of redemption the God of salvation the God of infinite power I'm thankful I'm thankful that the church and the Christian is not intended by Christ to be in this world as the ghost army of 1904 God didn't send us here and say you know just distract them as long as you can. Just make believe that God's powerful try to convince as many that that were real that's not the purpose of the Christians not the purpose of the church the purpose of the Christian is for warfare the purpose of the church is to conquer the strongholds of Satan Jesus said when speaking of the authority in the mission of his church and how he would study this before how he would build His church on Jesus Christ the solid rock member said you are Peter the pebble but on this rock on this pet truss I will build My Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it when we studied that passage from Jesus' words we recognized that the Gates of Hell are a defensive weapon they are not an often sieve weapon usually we as Christians we tend to think the God is saying that the devil won't be able to overcome us but that's not the message Jesus was trying to portray at all when he said the gates of hell will not prevail the gates of hell will not prevail because the church will beat them down. This is often Jesus is talking about he's saying the church ought to be going in the devil's strongholds and conquering because my power the power of the Rock Jesus Christ it will conquer you see my friends the church is not intended to be in this world as a an awkward standoff between holiness and worldliness is not intended to be the value. Is not it's not what divides us it's not meant to be the the things that divide our lifestyle from the lifestyle of others. The church is put in the world as an often thought of weapon in heavens hands to be used to win battles for Jesus the King of Kings spiritual battles I'm talking about here I'm not talking about militancy or anything else I'm talking about spiritual battle and so Israel 40 days they were lined up they were in battle array but there was no battle without dwelling upon the story which we don't have time to today the good news is it only took a little shepherd boy it only took a little shepherd boy to show that the church is not meant just to be lined up it's meant to actually do its job and the power of God sent the entire armies of the Philistines fleeing for their lives they were going to keep that promise by the way of slavery to the his relates they took off running when they saw that their hero had died the church is meant for battle the Bible says no this is the last day perilous times will come for men will be lovers themselves lovers of money boasters problem is disobedient apparent and think well unholy unloving unforgiving Flanders' without self-control beauty brutal despisers of good traitors headstrong haughty lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God having a form of godliness but denying its power and from such people turn away you see my friends God does not expect us just to be a blow up tank he wants you to be the real thing he wants you to be the real deal not big hat no cattle but but walking the walk not just talking the talk. He wants you to experience this week what it means to win in battle against to. To win in battle against the hosts of evil to win in rescuing someone from the delusions of Satan he wants you to experience that and he wants us as a church collectively corporately he wants us to experience what it means to not just be lined up drawn up in battle array but to be in battle he's not lost a battle and he won't lose the war and we have the privilege of being on his side is that your desire today you want to be not just in a ray for battle but you want to be engaged ask God this week to bring someone into your life that you can help in the battle against evil do something don't just sit there do something I'm speaking to myself do something every day ask God give me a way that I cannot just be the church sitting here drawn up all looking powerful but not engaging the enemy help me this week to be involved in winning a battle for Jesus your desire Father in heaven we thank you that you've given us the story of David and Goliath. Those poor Israelites they were scared the little shepherd boy wasn't because he knew Jesus he knew the God of Heaven was more powerful than all the hosts of hell Lord help us to be like David today and this week help us not just be drawn up in battle array not just to be lined up for battle not just to be on a standoff with the world and with sinners even worse. But help us to be beating down hells doors. Rescuing your children. In the power seat we asked for to Jesus. In this media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse if you would like to listen to more sermon or leave a Visit W W W audio verse or.


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