So we name God after a victory as our first step in worshipping. Then we deconstruct the process to savor the nuances. The third step in our worship is to specifically define the enemy’s objective, so we can celebrate how God came against that objective.
In the case of the Egyptians, Moses was clear.
“The enemy boasted, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake them. I will divide the spoils; I will gorge myself on them. I will draw my sword and my hand will destroy them.’ But you blew with your breath, and the sea covered them. They sank like lead in the mighty waters.
“Who among the gods is like you, O LORD? Who is like you— majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? You stretched out your right hand and the earth swallowed them.” Exodus 15:9-12 NIV
There are three issues here. Hubris. Greed. Revenge.
As you look at the big picture of the ten plagues, you see God drilling down on those three themes. He humiliated them again and again. He understood the economic exploitation of the Hebrews, and He saw to it that the Egyptians lost far more value than they ever gained through the slave labor. And God made it very clear to all the Egyptians that this had next to nothing to do with the Hebrews – this was His beef with the Egyptian wanna-be-gods and He was going to grind their brand into toxic powder.
Knowing the devil’s agenda helps a lot in knowing how to frame the battle, but once we have won, we need to celebrate where God is celebrating.
I walked with an individual who was under the Midianite curse which causes bad things to happen when you are about to have a celebration. All of a sudden, she developed some strange health issues. We HAD to deal with the health issues because they were a real problem, but I understood that the devil’s intent was to defile the significant time that was coming in her life.
So we fought and won on the health issue, BUT when the big day came, I focused on sanctifying the time with her, not on her physical health, because I knew the enemy’s primary focus was to re-empower his control over her celebrations, and God wanted to be known as The God of Divinely Orchestrated Seasons, not God the Healer.
He certainly heals and we are not disrespectful of the healing that happened, but on THIS occasion, the devil’s agenda had to do with time. Her body was only the battlefield.
I am working in an area where things start and then die. Clearly the spirit of premature death is an issue that has to be addressed, but the objective of the enemy is to keep people in a place of complacency. Their pain is uncomfortable, but it is less offensive to them than the productive pain needed to change.
So the primary focus of the enemy is to minimize the current pain and to amplify the perceived cost of productive pain. My strategy – and my point of celebration – is to bring people out of denial so they can see the real costs of both items. The core issue is perspective, not pain, not premature death.
The enemy is blinding them to the glory that God has for them. I need to fight there, and I need to celebrate victories there.
We read about Daniel in the lion’s den and rejoice over the fact that he lived. Nonsense. That misses the whole point. God basically purged the opposition to Daniel’s leadership. He was doing a good job as a bureaucrat, but he had to work hard against all the back stabbers at high levels all through the administration.
God’s agenda was to clear the deck of the instigators, and to establish utter fear of Daniel in the whole realm, so that he could up his game and have the freedom to do a lot more good God-work than ever before.
Seeing THAT objective changes the way we celebrate. Yes, Daniel needed to live. But the devil’s objective was to discredit the God of this alien bureaucrat, and God’s objective was to build His brand by defending Daniel. So often it is about branding, not peace or pleasure or the other things we celebrate.
Join me as we revisit some familiar and unfamiliar stories, seeing the devil’s agenda and God’s laser focus on cutting to the core of the devil’s intentions.
Copyright January 2016 by Arthur Burk
From the Hub