January 7, 2011

Day 7: The Game of Risk (Part 2)

A good day of rest. I took a detour from normal life and decided to give my kids my full attention today. It has been a lovely, quiet, and wonderful day. Not only did we enjoy each other's company, but we also got a big project done; one that I have been procrastinating for far too long. We cleaned everything out from under the couch (mostly toys) and put it all in a big box and then sorted it all out and started putting things in their proper locations.

We worked in 15-minute increments, with movie breaks, lunch breaks, and time spent reading books alternating between. By nap time, the box was nearly empty, and there has been hardly a raised voice in the house all day. Thank you, Jesus, for the wisdom of rest and living in the present moment.

I've been pondering for many months now the parallel between the Old Testament battles against kingdoms and the battles we fight against the principalities and powers in high places under the New Covenant. I've longed to take the time to study each of the old battles in order to learn strategy for taking ground in my life today.

God has been speaking to me about the year 2011 being my Joshua year...the year that I cross my personal Jordan River and step into the Promised Land. I know there will be battles on the other side. In fact, it may be that the battles will feel more intense, as they have already been feeling these past several months. However, I am no longer afraid of the battles. I'm eager to begin taking ground instead of just maintaining my own uncertain footing.
I hope you will enjoy this trek into the Word to find the parallels between the Old Testament and the New Testament battles as well as the parallels between spiritual warfare and The Game of Risk. In the official instruction manual for the game, it states that the objective is "to conquer the world by occupying every territory on the board, thus eliminating all your opponents."

My mind immediately jumps to the admonition God gives to the Israelites many times as they do battle in the Promised Land. Over and over again, the Lord commands the Israelites to utterly destroy their enemies, including their women, children, animals, wealth, and lands.

In Deuteronomy, we can read one example and the reasons the Lord gave for executing such a powerful (and even distasteful) command. I say distasteful, because it goes against our Western grain to believe there is ever a good time to kill children and animals or for that matter that there is ever a good time to destroy valuables and land. In this passage and many like it, God instructed them to do both of those things.

Deuteronomy 13:12-18 (NLT)
"When you begin living in the towns the Lord your God is giving you, you may hear that scoundrels among you are leading their fellow citizens astray by saying, 'Let us go worship other gods'--gods you have not known before. In such cases, you must examine the facts carefully. If you find that the report is true and such a detestable act has been committed among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock. Then you must pile all the plunder in the middle of the open square and burn it. Burn the entire town as a burnt offering to the Lord your God. That town must remain in ruin forever; it may never be rebuilt. Keep none of the plunder that has been set apart for destruction. Then the Lord will turn from his fierce anger and be merciful to you. He will have compassion on you and make you a large nation, just as he swore to your ancestors."
(I discussed the Lord's anger in this post, which also touches on some of the things the Lord has been showing me about tearing down strongholds.)

I was surprised in this particular passage by three different things; that this order was given not if someone from the outside was trying to seduce the Israelites, but rather if the seduction was coming from the inside; by the admonition that the town must never be rebuilt; and by the promise that the Lord will make Israel a large nation. I feel strongly that this promise is still on His heart today, now for the Church.

In light of this, how do I apply the lessons of Deuteronomy 13 to the strongholds in my life and in my family? Tomorrow, I will take a look at some New Testament verses that came to my mind.

Until then, I wish you Peace & Joy,

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