In the recent months, I have found that as adept as I am in the art of spiritual warfare, circumstances surrounding my friends and myself have told me I need to overhaul my armory. To do that, I needed instruction. After an extensive search of Amazon, I found The Three Battlegrounds by Francis Frangipane and began studying. Much of what he says, I already know and practice, but there’s a section in it that keeps turning over and over in my head.
“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies” (Psalm 23:5, KJV).
I can quote the whole Psalm verbatim in the King James from the Sunday school drills of my childhood. And always before this verse has been sandwiched between the others, glossed over to get to the good stuff. You know, the surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life. And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. I mean, come on. Who isn’t excited about living in God’s house for all eternity?
But, I digress. So, He’s prepared a table in front of my enemies. Taken at face value, it’s an “Oh, hey, thanks for dinner, Lord. My enemies get to watch me eat—and probably envy the bodacious meal You cooked. That’s cool.” But Frangipane has found a gold mine in those words that I’ve overlooked. Yes, God prepares the table, the meal, and I sit there in front of my enemies. But here’s the kicker: I also eat that meal.
I know that seems rather obvious, but stick with me for a minute. In order to be able to eat a meal, my stomach has to be at some semblance of calm. After all, I’m not hungry when I have a stomach ache or indigestion. So, in order to eat the bountiful meal the Lord made, my stomach has to be calm, at peace—and, in most cases, hungry.
Now wait. My enemies are right across the table, watching every bite I take. Shouldn’t I be afraid? Or at least wary? After all, what if they’ve poisoned the food? What if as soon as I look down, they lunge across the table and take me out? What if? What if?
But remember, I am able to eat.
But remember, I am able to eat. The squeezing, the roiling, and the fluttering I feel in my stomach when I’m fearful isn’t happening. That means, to truly dine in front of my enemies means, I can’t be fearful.
Wait, what? How does that work? Frangipane says the reason I can eat is the peace of God and the confidence of His protection. He says peace is the ultimate weapon against the enemy. “When we maintain peace during warfare, it is a crushing deathblow to satanic oppression and fear” (pg. 56). I don’t know about you, but a crushing deathblow on the battlefields where I war sounds amazing. Matter of fact, I’ll take two.
So, how do I attain this weapon of mass destruction? What must I do to cultivate such a level of peace? Frangipane now returns to the basics. First and foremost, seek God. He is the ultimate source of it. He is never in a hurry. He is never worried or without an answer to a problem.
Second, fully accept and rest in the truth of His Word. Since God said He made Jesus’ enemies His footstool (Matthew 22:44), and Jesus said “all authority on heaven and earth has been given to me” (Matthew 28:18), and Paul said I am seated with Him in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6), then I need believe it. After all, God cannot lie – and while Paul is not God, few would argue his writing wasn’t inspired by Him. Ergo, if He said it, then it is true. Which means, Satan and his minions are my personal ottoman.
Can I truly believe that God is rooting for me in the war and has an arsenal prepared for me to use?
Almost sounds too good, right? So, the question then becomes, can I believe that? Can I fully believe something that audacious is possible? Can I truly believe God is rooting for me in the war and has an arsenal prepared for me to use?
Seems like an easy yes, but I know it isn’t. It never feels that black and white in the midst of the battle, when fear and circumstance confuse the mind and paralyze the body. It’s as if that level of peace is Excalibur lodged in a stone held apart for only one to wield.
And in a sense, that’s true. This weapon is wielded by a few. But not by God’s doing.
God has made it available to all, but it is I who releases the MOAB for my use. As I experience more of God’s goodness and the truth of His Word, I grow my faith. As I experience His faithfulness when all appears lost, I build my certainty in Him. And in doing each I grow in my ability to choose. I can choose to trust His promises in the presence of the giant. I can choose to seek His face first, last, and always in the midst of the battle. I can choose to be at peace even though the war rages around me.
And then, I am able to dine heartily, knowing that with every swallow I am laying waste to their ranks, armed with the ultimate weapon of mass destruction. Peace.