There are times when we are under attack that we must respond with a sense of spiritual violence. We must aggressively release the power of God that is stored up within us. Jesus said, “…the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matthew 11:12). When we face an enemy or difficulty, we must unleash the forces of God’s awesome power against that enemy without mercy.
An example of the awesome power of God was seen in the great prophet Elijah when he stood in the face of the prophets of the demonic god Baal. He alone challenged a total of 850 men and dared them to put their lives on the line, and to resolve the double standard Israel was living with. That day they would discover who was the true God, Baal or Jehovah.
With unshakable courage, Elijah mocked the false prophets as they attempted to conjure up a response from Baal. But there would be no response. When we trust in the wrong thing, we find ourselves helpless in a time of need.
Elijah prayed a simple and very powerful prayer, “Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word” (1 Kings 18:36).
The result was dramatic. Jehovah God left no question of Who the true God was. God will honor our courage just as He did Elijah’s, when our courage comes from the same source.
Notice again Elijah’s prayer. He said, “…let it be known…that I have done all these things at Your word.” He was acting on what he had received specific directions to do. We will have God’s favor activated regularly in our lives only when we are sensitive to respond to His direct leading.
Joshua learned this the hard way. Soon after the triumph over Jericho, Joshua seemed unstoppable. The city of Ai was the next to be conquered, and the Israelites expected there would be little difficulty with this less powerful people. Joshua confidently sent a small army to take the city.
But the result was not as Joshua had anticipated. Thirty-six men were lost in the battle, a disturbing defeat. When Joshua came before the Lord, he discovered he had not gone out against Ai at the direction of the Holy Spirit. Instead, he had only presumed it was time to go. If he had gone first into the presence of God, he would have learned that there was sin that had to be dealt with before any more land would be conquered. Once he dealt with Achan’s sin, then he could march to Ai with the power of God’s Word going before them.
But this man of courage was also a man quick to repent and quick to learn. From that time, he never went into battle again without God’s Word, “Do not fear them, for I have delivered them into your hand” (Joshua 10:8). Israel never lost another man in battle, nor suffered another defeat.
Each day we must follow the direction of the Holy Spirit instead of presuming what we are supposed to do. Only then will we have the assurance of victory.