I was praying a little while ago and a picture of someone striking the ground with something flashed through my mind’s eye. It reminded me of a Bible story I hadn’t read in a while:
2 Kings 13:14-19(NRSV) Now when Elisha had fallen sick with the illness of which he was to die, King Joash of Israel went down to him, and wept before him, crying, “My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” Elisha said to him, “Take a bow and arrows”; so he took a bow and arrows. Then he said to the king of Israel, “Draw the bow”; and he drew it. Elisha laid his hands on the king’s hands. Then he said, “Open the window eastward”; and he opened it. Elisha said, “Shoot”; and he shot. Then he said, “The Lord’s arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Aram! For you shall fight the Arameans in Aphek until you have made an end of them.” He continued, “Take the arrows”; and he took them. He said to the king of Israel, “Strike the ground with them”; he struck three times, and stopped. Then the man of God was angry with him, and said, “You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck down Aram until you had made an end of it, but now you will strike down Aram only three times.”
The Arameans were oppressing Israel. God gives us what we need to completely wipe out every oppressor, but we must not stop short of totally destroying the enemy. God often gave Israel victory over pagan nations that were oppressing them, but the oppressors arose again as Israel became complacent and fell into idolatry.
To some people, the Arameans symbolize something causing personal oppression, such as an addiction or unforgiveness.
Many Christians have had a great victory in an area of their life, only to fall back into oppression. Satan the liar says “You never had victory! You’ve always been a slave.” If you’re in that situation, remember the victory that God gave. It was real! Call on the Lord again, and He will save you. Now is the time to completely destroy that enemy once and for all! Don’t become complacent after only striking the oppressor two or three times.
I believe that the arrows symbolize our words. We strike the enemy by declaring Jesus’ victory. We strike the enemy by declaring the gospel and speaking “God’s will be done now!”
Often when we minister healing, a person has reduced pain after the first time we lay our hands on them but they aren’t yet completely pain-free. That’s why we teach people to use a scale of 1 to 10 when they minister healing. A person could have half of the pain after a minute of healing ministry, but if we simply ask “does it still hurt?” they will say “yes.”
I’ll be honest, I’d love to see more people instantly whole and pain-free the moment I touch them, but it’s far more common that I pray 5 times, each time speaking life and rebuking the disease for a minute or two, or just saying nothing and holding my hand over the problem area. The pain decreases until it’s nothing. The tumor or cyst gets smaller each time until we can no longer find it. It’s not instant, but it’s still worth getting rid of the problem!
In this area, I’ve learned to keep striking until my enemy is totally destroyed. My enemy is the sickness or pain that is afflicting that person. Often, I minister to someone who is happy enough to have less pain, to be pain-free but have limited mobility, or to be free from one physical issue even though they have others. That’s why I keep interviewing the person and I keep striking again. I want them free of every bit of pain and every problem.
In Dealing With Surgical Steel, I shared the example of one man who was happy to be free from pain but still had restricted mobility. I had to be assertive about ministering to him again, and the next time he touched his toes!
Praying For Your City And Region
Early in 2017 God spoke to us about declaring the dominion of His peace in our neighborhood. I began focusing more on praying for my neighborhood and striking the enemy by declaring the dominion of God’s peace. However, since leaving on my trip to the US in October I’d been really busy and I had let up on praying for my neighborhood.
Not long after the Lord reminded me to keep striking the enemy, we saw some old enemies show themselves again. Remember, the “enemies” I’m talking are the spirits of violence and evil that deceive people.
Some of you will remember our two car wrecks earlier this year, due to highway bandits. On Tuesday my wife was going around a curve on the highway ramp and a guy popped up in front of her waving a gun. She didn’t have time to stop so she just ducked and accelerated even more. Thank God, this time the car wasn’t damaged!
In earlier posts, I shared the story of how we rescued an old man from bandits and then the guy behind the crime threatened to kidnap our daughter. In Jesus In Me Can Love People When I Can’t, I shared the story of how I ended up praying for the guy who threatened her, and then things calmed down. Well, on Tuesday this guy robbed the church my in-laws used to go. He also entered and threatened to kill everyone if they didn’t give him money. Then he came to our place, shoved my father-in-law, and threatened to kill him and my wife. Again, the old enemy of a spirit of violence rearing its head!
When the enemy rears it’s head again, Satan says “Did God really say you are to declare the dominion of his peace? It’s useless. You can’t change anything” Our Adversary tries to get us to doubt the victories we have already seen. Don’t be discouraged!
King Joash of Israel lacked zeal and only struck the ground three times. Don’t lag in zeal! Keep striking the oppressor and don’t settle for just a temporary victory!
Romans 12:11 (NRSV) Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord.
P.S. I’ve been near the end of my rope this week, but God rescues us. I highly appreciate your prayers in these difficult times, for us and for Brazil. I can relate to Paul’s words:
2 Corinthians 1:8-11 (NRSV) We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, of the affliction we experienced in Asia; for we were so utterly, unbearably crushed that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death so that we would rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He who rescued us from so deadly a peril will continue to rescue us; on him we have set our hope that he will rescue us again, as you also join in helping us by your prayers, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.