Roman soldiers usually carried two offensive weapons, a sword and a spear.
However, the Lord has given His soldiers just one, the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” [Ephesians 6:17]. It is a powerful weapon and in Matthew 4 we see how Christ wielded it in His great face-to-face battle with the devil.
Having just fasted for forty days and nights, the Lord Jesus was at His weakest physically when He entered that confrontation. Three times the devil tempted him. First, he challenged Him to turn the stones into bread to assuage His hunger. Then he encouraged Him to throw Himself down from a pinnacle of the temple. No doubt Satan’s plan was that if the Lord did that, and the people saw that He was unhurt, they would flock to Him in amazement. In the third temptation, from an exceedingly high mountain, the devil showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and promised to give them to Him if He would fall down and worship him.
How did Jesus answer such challenges to His sovereignty and deity? He could have, as the hymn says, “called ten thousand angels.” He could have called upon any number of supernatural powers available to Him to defeat this infernal foe. But He did none of those things. Three times Jesus rebuked Satan with the rebuttal: “It is written” [Matthew 4:4,7, & 10]. Three times He answered by using the sword of the Spirit, quoting from Deuteronomy, and routing the evil one.
Jesus has given us the very same Sword when we are called to fight. We have exactly the same weapon that Christ used to vanquish the devil. Let us use the word of God to defeat all the temptations the devil would hurl at us. The sword of the Spirit always cuts down Satan’s power. The devil hates God’s Word.
“The Holy Spirit wields no sword but the Word of God ….‘It is written’ is His master stroke”.
“To destroy one of Christ’s sheep Satan must first deceive or defeat the Shepherd. Who could ask for greater security?”
FAREWELL TO THE KELLYS
A very pleasant picnic was held at the farm of Steve and Carol Kelly last Saturday in Little Britain, about fifty miles north of Toronto. But an air of sadness also hung over the gathering, for its purpose was to say farewell to the Kellys as they have now moved to Vancouver.
For many years Steve and Carol travelled from their ancestral farm to church in Toronto until health problems overtook them. It was decided they should move to Vancouver to be under the care of daughter Esther and her family. It was a big move to leave the beloved farm where they had lived for over fifty years. Do pray for them that they will settle into their new home without much difficulty.
SOME THOUGHTS ON PRAYER
Prayer is an amazing thing, whereby we tiny creatures can speak to the almighty Creator of the Universe. And we can expect an answer, not verbally, but practically. Indeed, He invites us to speak with Him [Luke 18:1].
I suppose Adam and Eve would be the first to communicate directly with God. We are also told that in the days of Enos “began men to call upon the name of the Lord” [Genesis 4:26], and since then the Lord has received, and answered, billions of prayer requests. The current world population is just under 8 billion people. It would be impossible to say how many of them are genuine Christians, but it would be safe to say that God receives millions of prayer requests each day.
Sometimes we are so wrapped up in our own importance that we forget the bigger picture of God’s involvement with His people. When we read what D.L. Moody said, “Most men’s prayers should be cut off at both ends and set on fire in the middle” we are brought face to face with the poverty of our own prayers [‘A Word In Season’ p233].
But then we can take comfort in the statement, “But the prayer of the upright is His delight” [Proverbs 15:8]. Once more we marvel at the love, mercy and compassion of the Lord. He deals with us as He did with Adam and Eve, just as if there was no one else to answer.
Let us always keep in mind the relationship we have with the Lord. We are finite creatures of the dust, but He is the infinite God of heaven. Remember the words of Solomon. “Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.” [Ecclesiastes 5:2].