In the past few weeks, the world has been engulfed in a crisis that started with a terrorist attack on Israel and its response. We have seen Israel’s “Iron Dome” fend off a barrage of rockets from Hamas and Hezbollah militants. We have watched Israel striking back at the terrorists’ stronghold in the Gaza Strip. More recently, Israel has sent in ground troops maneuvering through underground tunnels determined to find the enemy and in hopes of rescuing innocent hostages. This war is being fought in the air and on the ground. Our greatest enemy, the devil, fights against us on the same two fronts.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
There are two important takeaways from this passage: The battle is in the air and on the ground.
First, let’s note that our battle is in the air. We don’t fight against flesh and blood but against “cosmic powers” and “spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” While we cannot see this battle going on, it is real. We can look at two accounts from the Old Testament to remind us of this reality.
Elisha was a prophet and a man of God. In 2 Kings 6, we read how he protected Israel from Syria with his prophecies. This angered the king of Syria, and he made it his mission to take Elisha out. The king sent “horses and chariots and a great army, and they came by night and surrounded the city” where Elisha was staying (2 Kings 6:14). When Elisha’s servant got up in the morning and saw they were hedged in by the Syrian army, he was terrified. Elisha assured his servant, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them” (2 Kings 6:16). In answer to Elisha’s prayer, God opened the eyes of the servant so he could see that “the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (2 Kings 6:17).
Here’s another example of the battle that takes place in the air. In 2 Samuel 5, David and his men prepared for battle against the Philistines. God told David not to attack until they heard the “sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees.” This was the heavenly army who “[had] gone out before [David] to strike down the army of the Philistines” (2 Samuel 5:17-25).
There is a battle going on in the air. And…there is a battle on the ground. This battle requires hand-to-hand combat with the enemy. Victory can only be attained when believers put on God’s battle gear and fight in his strength. Next time, we will learn how to be prepared for battle, but let’s end today with this—The God who wins the battles in the air is the same God who gives us the strength to win the battles on the ground. It’s time to make sure we are battle ready!
Thank you for fighting the battles in the air against the cosmic powers and spiritual forces. And thank you for giving us all we need to fight the battles on the ground. In Jesus’ name. Amen.