THE BATTLE BELONGS TO THE LORD

"Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear;
 for the battle is the Lord's...." (1 Samuel 17:47)

 

 

Lesson 1: The Lord is Mighty in Battle

Key verse: Psalm 24:8, "Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, The LORD mighty in battle."

Lesson Objective: To open eyes to God's great might (cf. 2 Kings 6:17).  To use the defeats of the Egyptians (Exodus 14), Amalek (Exodus 17:8-16) and the Assyrians (2 Chronicles 32) to illustrate God's overwhelming power.

Introduction:  We serve a God who is all powerful and who uses His power for the benefit of His people.  Long ago, the King of Syria sent a great army after Elisha the prophet (2 Kings 6:8-14).  When Elisha's young servant saw that the Syrian army had surrounded them he asked Elisha "What shall we do?"  Elisha said, "Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them."  At Elisha's request, the Lord opened the eyes of his servant, and he saw the Lord's army, vastly superior to the army of the Syrians, guarding Elisha - "the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha" (2 Kings 6:17).  The Lord's angelic army "encamps all around those who fear him" (Psalms 34:7).  His might is illustrated in the victories He gave to His people throughout the Old Testament.

 

VICTORY OVER THE EGYPTIANS (EXODUS 14-15)

1. After the tenth plague, the children of Israel fled Egypt.  The Lord commanded that they camp by the Red Sea (Exodus 14:1-2).

2. The Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart and he pursued the Israelites with hundreds of chariots, his horsemen and his army; he overtook them by the sea (Exodus 14:8-9).

3. The Israelites were dismayed, but Moses commanded them to "stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today&ldots; the Lord will fight for you" (Exodus 14:13-14)

4. That night, the Lord caused the "pillar of cloud" that had been moving before the Israelites to move behind them, shielding them from the Egyptian army (Exodus 14:19-20).  He also caused a strong east wind to blow all night, creating a strip of dry land through the middle of the sea. (14:21)

5.  When the Israelites began to cross over, the Egyptians pursued (14:22-23).  But the Lord removed their chariot wheels, making progress difficult.  At this point, the Egyptians said, "Let us flee from the face of Israel, for the Lord fights for them&ldots;" (14:24-25).

6. At the command of the Lord, Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the waters came back over Egyptians, covering them completely (Exodus 14:26-29).

7. Exodus 15:1-19 records The Song of Moses which praises God for the strength and power He demonstrated in defeating the Egyptians.  This victory song is referred to in Revelation 15:3, where it is sung before God throne.

 

VICTORY OVER AMALEK  (EXODUS 17:8-16)

1. Not long after crossing the Red Sea, the nation of Amalek came out to fight with the Israelites.  Moses commanded Joshua to take some men and fight with Amalek.  Moses himself stood on top of a hill overlooking the battle with Aaron and Hur; when Moses held up his hands, the Israelites prevailed in battle, but when he let them drop, Amalek prevailed.   So Aaron and Hur stood on either side of Moses and supported his hands until the sun went down.

2. Although Moses, Joshua and the Israelite army expended much energy in defeating Amalek, Moses recognized that the victory belonged to God.  He erected an altar to the Lord and named it "The-Lord-Is-My-Banner" because, he said, "The Lord will have war with Amalek" (17:15-16).

 

VICTORY OVER ASSYRIA (2 CHRONICLES 32)

1. Much later in the history of Israel, the Assyrians invaded Judah and tried to overthrow the fortified cities. 

2. Hezekiah was King in Jerusalem.  He shored up the defenses of Jerusalem and encouraged his people saying, "Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him; for there are more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God, to help us and to fight our battles..." (32:7-8).

3. The Assyrians besieged Jerusalem under their King Sennacherib who declared that, "As the gods of the nations of other lands have not delivered their people from my hand, so the God of Hezekiah will not deliver His people from my hand" (32:17).

4. So, "the LORD sent an angel who cut down every mighty man of valor, leader, and captain in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned shamefaced to his own land." (32:21).

Conclusion: God is ALMIGHTY!

 

 

Lesson 2: The Lord is Wise in Battle

Theme Verse: Proverbs 21:30-31, "There is no wisdom or understanding or counsel against the LORD. The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but deliverance is of the LORD."

Lesson Objective: To show that God's wisdom is superior to man's wisdom by examining His battle plan in the defeat of the Midianites (Gideon -- Judges 6 & 7)

Introduction:  In the last lesson we saw that God's gives His people victory by His great power.  In this lesson we will see that God uses His power in accordance with His superior wisdom.  All of man's clever schemes come to nothing before God.  God's wise plans not only bring victory, but glorify Him and remove any basis for human pride or boasting (1 Corinthians 1:27-29).  This is illustrated clearly by the victory that God gave Israel over the Midianites in the days of Gideon.

 

THE MIDIANITE OPPRESSION (JUDGES 6:1-10)

Because the Israelites had disobeyed the Lord, He allowed the Midianites to oppress them for seven years.  When the Israelites planted crops, the Midianites would come up and destroy the produce.  As a result, Israel was impoverished and cried to the Lord for deliverance.

 

GOD'S CHOICE OF A DELIVERER (JUDGES 6:11-40)

   From the standpoint of conventional military wisdom, Gideon was wholly unqualified to lead Israel against the Midianites.

  In choosing Gideon, the Lord chose a man who would ultimately trust and obey Him.  Gideon may not have been the leader we would have picked, but God in His wisdom knew that Gideon was exactly the man He could use to accomplish His purpose.

 

GOD'S CHOICE OF AN ARMY (JUDGES 7:1-8)

 

GOD'S CHOICE OF MOTIVATION (JUDGES 7:9-15)

  On the eve of conflict, generals and coaches may employ motivational speeches to inspire those they lead.  The Lord chose to allow Gideon to be motivated by hearing his enemies themselves declare the certainty of Gideon's victory (7:9-15).   Nothing motivates effort and allays fear as well as trusting in God (Psalm 56:1-4).

 

GOD'S CHOICE OF A BATTLE PLAN

  From a human standpoint, a successful battle plan might involve extended training of soldiers and the development of superior weapons.  The Lord's battle plan on this occasion did not include such things. 

 

Conclusion:  We can learn at least three important lessons from the story of Gideon.  

1. God's way is better than man's way. Psalm 18:30 states, "As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him."

2. We should trust God's way even if we don't understand it.  Solomon wrote, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; {6} In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6). 

3. We should trust God's way even when man's ways and weapons seem superior.  "It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man" (Psalm 118:8). "Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the LORD our God" (Psalm 20:7).

 

Lesson 3: The Lord Gives Victory to those who Trust and Obey

Key Verses: 1 Chronicles 5:20 ". . . they cried out to God in the battle. He heeded their prayer, because they put their trust in Him." Joshua 23:10 "One man of you shall chase a thousand, for the LORD your God is He who fights for you, as He promised you."

Lesson Objective: To show that we must trust and obey God if we expect to Him to give us victory.  Bible stories such as the victory at Jericho (Joshua 6), the defeat at Ai (Joshua  7) and David's victory over Goliath. (1 Samuel 17) will be used to teach the objective.

Introduction:  In the first two lessons, we learned that God's people do not have to be stronger or smarter than their adversaries to gain the victory.  God is stronger and smarter, and it should comfort us to know that He will give us the victory if we rely on Him.  The Bible stories in this lesson, illustrate this important truth.

 

THE VICTORY AT JERICHO (JOSHUA 5:13-6:21)

  As the Israelites crossed the Jordan to begin the conquest of Canaan, the first city they came to was Jericho.  Jericho was a fortified city with thick walls and mighty soldiers to defend it.  The Commander of the Lord's army appeared to Joshua to inform him that the Lord had "given" the city of Jericho to the Israelites and to reveal God's plan for taking the city.

    Joshua 6:6-16 confirms that the Israelites followed God's plan precisely, and in this way they "took the city" that God had "given" them (6:16, 20-21).

 

THE DEFEAT AT AI (JOSHUA 7 & 8)

   When Israel conquered Jericho, the people were told not to take anything from it for themselves, and that "all the silver and gold, and vessels of bronze and iron, are consecrated to the LORD; they shall come into the treasury of the LORD" (6:18-19).   But an Israelite named Achan took some silver, gold and a garment for himself.  As a result, "the anger of the LORD burned against the children of Israel" and He did not give them the victory over Ai.

 

DAVID AND GOLIATH (1 SAMUEL 17)

   The importance of trusting God, even in the face of what seem to be insurmountable odds, is also clearly seen in the familiar story of David and Goliath.  By human reckoning, Goliath should have had no trouble defeating David.  Consider the match-up:

  David's faith and trust in God's power gained him the victory.  David trusted that God had the power to deliver Goliath into his hand (1 Samuel 17:34-37).   As he approached to join battle with Goliath, he had no sword in his hand, ye he boldly declared, "This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you&ldots;. Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord's, and He will give you into our hands" (17:46-47).  David brought Goliath down with a stone from his sling and then slew the Philistine with his own sword (17:49-51).

Conclusion:  For God's children, the key that allows us access to God's power and wisdom is trust and obedience.

 

 

 

Lesson 4: Jesus Christ -- The Victorious Lamb

Theme Verse: Genesis 3:15, "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel."

Lesson Objective: To show how Christ gained the victory over Satan through His death burial and resurrection (Hebrews 2:14-15; Colossians 2:15)

Introduction:  A newspaper headline that read "Lamb Slays Dragon" would probably catch our attention. How could a seemingly helpless lamb defeat a fearsome and fiery dragon?  Yet, that is the essence of what happened in the conflict between Christ and Satan.  In the book of Revelation, Satan is depicted as a "great fiery red dragon" (Revelation 12:3, 9).   Jesus is the "Lamb of God" (John 1:29, 36).  When the forces of the dragon and the forces of the Lamb engage in combat, the forces of the dragon do "not prevail" (Revelation 12:8).  Revelation 17:14 states that the forces of Satan "will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings."

  God decreed in the Garden of Eden that there would be enmity (hostility and conflict) between Satan and the Christ, who is the seed of woman (Genesis 3:15; cf. Galatians 4:4).  While Satan would slightly injure Christ (bruising his heel), Christ would bring a crushing blow down on Satan's head. Our lesson focuses on this epic struggle between Satan and Christ, and the ultimate victory of God's Son.

 

SATAN'S TACTICS AGAINST JESUS

  Satan is shrewd, ruthless and powerful (1 Peter 5:8; Ephesians 6:11-12; 2 Corinthians 2:11; 11:3).  When Jesus walked the earth, Satan made every effort to destroy Him. Satan's tactics included the following:

 

JESUS' VICTORY OVER SATAN

  Jesus was sent to earth to conquer Satan.  In 1 John 3:8 the Scriptures declare, "For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil."  Here's how He did it: 

Conclusion:  The apostle John saw the final scene of the victory of the Lamb over the dragon; on the judgment day "the devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever" (Revelation 20:10).   Far outshining the greatest heroes of history or legend, Jesus Christ triumphed over man's eternal adversary. Truly, "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!" (Revelation 5:12).

 

Lesson 5: Gaining Victory in Jesus

Gaining Victory in Jesus

Theme Verse: Romans 8:37 "&ldots;in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us."

Lesson Objective - To show that the wisdom and power of God are available to all through the gospel of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:21-24).  Obedient believers can overcome Satan (Ephesians 6:10-17) and his weapons of temptation, doctrinal error (1 John 4:1-6), sin, and death (1 Corinthians 15:54-57).

Introduction:  Those who were adversaries of Christ will also be enemies of His followers (John 15:18-19).  Satan and his powerful forces are arrayed against Christians (Ephesians 6:12).  We cannot hope to be victorious on our own, but through faith in the power and wisdom of God, and by obedience to His will, we can become "more than conquerors" through Christ Jesus.

SATAN'S TACTICS AGAINST CHRISTIANS

   The devil uses many weapons against Christians.  One of the keys to overcoming Satan is to recognize his attacks. We should not be "ignorant of his devices" (2 Corinthians 2:11). Here are four weapons Satan commonly uses, along with a discussion of the means God provides for thwarting them:

 

THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD

All that God was provided for us to gain the victory over Satan is summed up in "the whole armor of God" which Paul describes in Ephesians 6:11-18.  Note the following truths about this armor:

1. It is provided by God.  We are not relying on our own weapons and strategy in the conflict against Satan.  The battle belongs to the Lord, and when we take up His armor we are trusting Him to give us the victory.

2. It is necessary because of tremendous might of our adversary (6:12)

3. We must take all of it to be successful. (the "whole armor")

Conclusion:  Although Satan's power is great, we can overcome him through the power and wisdom of God found in the gospel (1 Corinthians 1:18, 24).  God's grace has provided all we need to gain the victory.  We must trust and obey Him in order to be victorious.  "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).

 

 
The Battle Belongs to the Lord
(VBS Theme Song)


In heavenly armor we'll enter the land 
  The battle belongs to the Lord 
No weapon that's fashioned against us shall stand 
  The battle belongs to the Lord 

When the power of darkness comes in like a flood 
  The battle belongs to the Lord 
He's raised up a standard, the power of His blood 
  The battle belongs to the Lord 

When your enemy presses in hard do not fear 
  The battle belongs to the Lord 
Take courage my friend, your redemption is near 
  The battle belongs to the Lord 

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