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Possess The Gates of The Enemy
Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of [children born in his youth]. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate (Ps 127:5)
The city gate was a combination of the public square, court, and, of course, a strategic point of battle. It was in the city gate that Boaz dealt with the other kinsman redeemer for Ruth to be his wife (Ruth 4). It was in the city gate where a man would plead his case to the elders of the city (Josh 20:4)
Yet, it is the strategic value of the city gates that I want to refer to now. The Lord promised that blessed man Abraham that his children, his descendants, would possess the gates of their enemies (Gen 22:17). This is a clear reference to conquering and dominating your enemies. In WWII, FDR vowed we would not stop till we had crushed the cruel tyrants on the march in Europe and Asia. We did not reach negotiated settlements with either Tojo or Hitler. No, we annihilated them and their armies. We achieved total and complete victory, and possessed the gates of our enemies. After the smoke had cleared, the public and legal conduct of those two defeated nations was taken from them and came under our rubric.
Notice, it is the children of the blessed man who contend with the enemies in the gate, not the blessed man himself. The bible is clear - Abraham himself never possessed those gates. He was a stranger in a strange land, and owned none of the land promised to him, beyond a burial plot for his wife and him. His descendants worked out that prophetic promise of God.
The promise of God is that these children will not be put to shame! Ps 127 isn't a curse of contention. It is a blessing of victory in contention, of peace through victory. As in Joshua's day, they will put their feet on the necks of their enemies. (Josh 10:24)
Now consider: Jesus Christ came as the SON of God, as the son of the blessed King of Heaven. Therefore, He contended with God's enemies, both human and demonic. Yes, "consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls." (Heb 12:3) They lined up to question Him sharply; they questioned His motives; they rebuked Him for both His words and His deeds. They even marched Him out to the edge of a cliff to throw Him down! But He silenced them all. He put them all to shame. He left them all shaking their heads and trembling at what He would do next. Nor did they ever prevent Him from doing what He came to do "Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected!" (Lk 13:32) Yes, Jesus triumphed with a deep and abiding triumph that resounds to this day!
But Jesus Christ is also that Blessed Man spoken of in Ps 127, with children of His own. As it is written, "And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, EVERLASTING FATHER, Prince of Peace." (Is 9:6b) He is "the Last Adam" (1 Cor 15:45). It is written, "It was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand." (Is 53:10) Therefore it is written, "Here am I AND the children whom the LORD has given me! We are for signs and wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, Who dwells in Mount Zion." (Is 8:18)
It is now our turn, as the children of God, to contend with the enemy - His and ours - and to prevail! Jesus Christ declared "the gates of Hell" would not prevail against His Church. (Mat 16:18) The Greek word translated "prevail" can also be translated "too strong": "the gates of Hell will not be too strong for the Church of Jesus Christ".
The earth belongs to the living. We may be the lesser sons of greater fathers, but we have treasure in our jars of clay! (2 Cor 4:7) Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world! (1 Jn 4:4) If God be for us, who and what can be against us? (Rom 8:31) We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us! (Phil 4:13) As it is written, "The God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen!" (Rom 16:20)
Is there something in your life that you want to conquer? Is there something trying to conquer you? If you are a child of Abraham and of Christ, then you will not be put to shame, but will conquer when you contend. Therefore, contend! These signs only follow those that believe! (Mk 16:17) And, "My righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back. But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved." (Heb 10:38-39)
Let me bold here: Sickness and disease cannot prevail over you, but you are to prevail over them. That ominous note from the doctor is not the end of your story, it is the preface to your testimony! The whirlwind of this culture cannot sweep away your marriage or your children, but you will push back against this profane age and preserve your family. The mountain of debt bearing down on this generation will not crush you, but you will be free of it, and stand on top of it. This modern world may have set a basket of addictions at your feet to choose from, and be destroyed by. But you will kick over that basket and trample its contents.
But you say some of these enemies are already at work in your life? Battles have already been lost? Weeping may have endured for many nights, but He will turn your mourning into laughter and swallow up defeat in victory. I tell you Fredericksburg was a terrible defeat for the Army of the Potomac in the Civil War, but Gettysburg was their answer, and was the more profound victory. As the rebels retreated in defeat, General Lee commanded General Pickett to take his division and form a rear guard. "But sir," Pickett lamented, "I have no division". Fight back and crush them, till there be none left - just a few to carry back word of the terror of the Lord to the weeping camp of the enemies of God.
Now is not the time to quit or to sulk away in fear, but to stand and fight. I have considered here how I might stir you on toward love and good deeds (Heb 10:24) Now it is your turn, beloved, to build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit" (Jud 20) that you, too, might prove "no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through Him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God!" (2 Cor 1:20)
© Matthew Schilling October 2016
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