When we discuss “spiritual attack” within the Christian context, it’s essential to differentiate between the physical and spiritual realms. The New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible provides rich insight into these matters. The Ancient Israelites indeed engaged in physical battles, but they also had their spiritual battles, which hold lessons for us today.
I. The Theology of Spiritual Warfare
First and foremost, it’s vital to understand that the warfare believers engage in is fundamentally spiritual.
“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.” (Ephesians 6:12, NKJV).
This verse clarifies that our primary battles are not against human adversaries but spiritual forces. The Christian life is a life of spiritual warfare, requiring spiritual weapons and strategies (2 Corinthians 10:4).
II. When is Spiritual Attack Appropriate?
Scripture makes it clear that believers are not to be aggressors, especially in the physical realm (Romans 12:17-21). But, spiritually, they are to defend themselves and take action under certain circumstances:
- Defending the Faith: Jude 1:3 encourages believers to “contend earnestly for the faith.” This doesn’t mean physical confrontations but defending and promoting the Gospel’s truth.
- Resisting Temptation: James 4:7 states, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” This implies an active stance against spiritual attacks from the enemy.
- Protecting Fellow Believers: Galatians 6:1 instructs believers to restore those caught in sin with a spirit of gentleness.
III. The Ancient Israelites and Warfare Mode
Ancient Israel’s warfare provides both literal and allegorical lessons. While God commanded them into physical battles (Deuteronomy 20:1-4), it always pointed to spiritual truths:
- Complete Reliance on God: The Israelites were often outnumbered, but their victories came from God. For instance, Gideon’s 300 men against the Midianites (Judges 7) shows that success isn’t by our strength but by God’s might.
- Obedience is Crucial: The Israelites’ defeat at Ai (Joshua 7) due to Achan’s disobedience underscores the importance of obedience in spiritual matters.
- The Importance of Unity: Psalm 133:1 highlights how good and pleasant it is when brethren dwell in unity. The Israelites’ military successes often hinged on their unity.
IV. Preparing Physically and Spiritually
While the Israelites prepared physically for battle, training, strategizing, and equipping themselves, the spiritual parallels for us today are evident:
- Wearing the Full Armor of God: Ephesians 6:13-18 describes the spiritual armour believers must put on, including the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit.
- Prayer and Fasting: These are the believers’ communication lines and spiritual discipline tools. Esther 4:16 shows the importance of fasting before a significant spiritual battle.
V. Practical Application in Daily Life
In our modern context, spiritual attack doesn’t mean physical aggression. Here are real-life examples:
- Defending the Faith in Academia: Standing firm on Biblical truths in scholarly settings where scepticism prevails can be likened to defending the faith.
- Standing against Cultural Norms: In a culture that often promotes values contrary to the Bible, standing firm in one’s faith can be a form of spiritual warfare.
- Praying for Those in Bondage: Whether it’s addiction, depression, or any form of spiritual oppression, intercessory prayer is a powerful weapon.
VI. Impact on Our Spirit
When we engage in spiritual warfare:
- We Grow in Faith: Just as physical exercise strengthens the body, spiritual battles strengthen our faith.
- We Experience God’s Deliverance: Psalm 34:17 says, “The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles.“
- We Become Testimonies: Revelations 12:11 mentions that believers overcome the enemy by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony.
While the Ancient Israelites engaged in physical warfare, their experiences offer deep spiritual insights for believers today. Engaging in spiritual attack means standing firm in the faith, resisting the enemy, defending the Gospel, and praying for deliverance. Preparedness, both physically for the Israelites and spiritually for believers, is crucial. In our daily lives, this manifests in our stand against societal norms contrary to the Word, defending our faith in challenging environments, and praying for those oppressed. Engaging rightly in spiritual warfare not only brings deliverance but also strengthens our faith, drawing us closer to God.