Thursday, March 22, 2007

Cities Far Away (4)

Review - If the shadow (or type) is in the Old and the thing casting the shadow ( or antitype) is in the New then the cross stands in the divide. The physical type or shadow in the Old translates into the spiritual antitype or ‘good thing’.
In other words the physical in the Old is the picture that teaches us about the spiritual in the New.
( if you just stopped by and have not read my last posts you may want to go back three days and pick up from the beginning – you can just click on ‘Shadows and the Real Thing’ listed under Labels)

We have been looking at the subject of our spiritual warfare and how the battles recorded in the OT give us the principles we need to understand in order to be victorious in battling our spiritual enemies today.

Yesterday’s post looked at the oppressing enemy or Satan and how it is God who fights for us in these battles.

The cities far away
Another type of enemy that the Israelites faced in battle were the ‘cities that were far away’.
The shadow ( or type) is the ‘cities-far-away’
the ‘thing’ ( or antitype) is ‘the world’.
Eph 2:17 unlocks the code by referring to us - while we were still in the ‘world’ - as being ‘afar’.

( An example of a OT battle against a city-far-away is in Num. 31:7-11)

These cities-far-away were the peoples that the Israelites encountered along their journey. They unavoidably had to interact with them , either peaceably or otherwise.

The principles or instructions God gave concerning relationship with these cities-far-away are recorded in Deut. 20:10-15 . God instructs the Israelites to have only intentions of peace when they approach these cities.. Does this initial counsel God gives the Israelites to make every effort to interact peaceably with these cities bring to mind a new testament scripture?
How about Rom. 12:18? “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”, which is of course referring to how we are to live in the world.

There was, however, a stipulation that God gave the Israelites concerning the peaceful relationship they may establish with a city. It was not to be an ‘equal’ relationship, the city must submit to the Israelites , serving them and paying them tribute.
I’m sure you see the parallel here immediately. We as believers are in the world but we are not ‘of’ it. (John 17:!4) The world ‘serves’ us – we are not to be slaves to it.
While the world around us is necessary for our temporal life here, we are to remember that the things of this world will pass away - we are just traveling through.
We are not to become entangled with the things of this world that will bring us into bondage.
(II Peter 2:19-21)

If the cities-far-away refused all offers of peace and declared war against the Israelites then God commanded His people to fight.
God did not fight this battle for them.
He ordered THEM to fight and to kill every male in the city, but the women and children and the livestock and all the spoil of the city was theirs to keep and enjoy.
This makes for a very interesting spiritual application. Do you see it?
What does killing all the males signify? Obviously with all the males killed , the city was helpless, unable to exert any power against the Israelites.

So the spiritual application is that if the things of the world threaten to harm our spiritual well-being then we are to ‘kill all the males’ rendering it powerless to control us, or to cause us to compromise the things of God.
I John 2:15 says “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world , the love of the Father is not in him”.
Jesus told the rich young ruler who was controlled by love of money to give his money away, so that his wealth would no longer have the power to cause him to stumble. ( Matt.19:21,22)
If the movie industry seeks to control our minds with its immorality and violence maybe we need ‘to kill’ the power of the entertainment industry and not be a willing participant.
If the internet draws us into unhealthy chat room relationships then maybe we should ‘kill the internet’ in our home.
Sometimes it may be seemingly innocent things of the world that threaten us.
When we came back to the Lord , it was at a time in our lives when Vic and I spent a lot of time and energy playing tennis. We played most every day and twice a day on week-ends. We knew that tennis had too prominent a place in our lives and so we decided to hang up our tennis racquets. We ‘killed’ the power it had over us.

And yet God says ‘take the plunder’. What does this mean? I Cor. 10:26 says that ‘the earth is the Lord’s and all its fullness.”
We are free to enjoy the things this world offers and to participate in the things that are good, but only as long as they do not take our focus off the Lord and as long as they serve us in living godly lives.
Two years after we hung up our racquets we felt that tennis could serve us in opening doors to interact with other people and also as a form of exercise. Even though we picked up the game once more it never again had any power over us. We just enjoyed it’s ‘plunder’.
But I think there is another kind of plunder that we can take from the world!

The very best ‘plunder’ that we take from the world are the lost souls when we win them for Christ !!! (John 3:16, Mark 16:15)

What ‘cities’ ( or things) of the world threaten war against your spiritual well-being?
What would it take to ‘kill’ the power those things have over you ?

I will save for tomorrow - the cities of inheritance ( I love the analogy of this one!)

3 comments:

Lovella said...

Well, I will be thinking on this one today. I don't want to , , but I will.
What is my city far away? We all have them don't we?

Yokoso~ said...

My cities?
Yikes!
That's huge!!
Can it be sugar? I wonder?

Carolanne said...

This is well written Julie and gives food for thought.
Kill that which has a hold over us and blinds us from seeing God - difficult to do so it's just as well God gives us the strength.
Enjoy the things of the world in the knowledge that God has given those things to us for our enjoyment. Every good and perfect gift is from God.
Thanks for sharing.