NO WEAPON FORMED AGAINST YOU SHALL PROSPER
A. HUMOR: THE MUMMY
1. Israel is a place where the ground is full of artifacts. Did you hear the other day about the archae-ologist who was digging in the Negev Desert in Israel and came upon a casket containing a mummy?
2. After examining it, he called the curator of the prestigious Israel Museum in Jerusalem. “I’ve just discovered a 3,000 year-old mummy of a man who died of heart failure!” the excited scientist exclaimed.
3. To which the curator replied, “Bring him in. We’ll check it out.” A week later, the amazed curator called the archaeologist. “You were right about the mummy’s age and cause of death. How in the world did you know?”
4. “Easy. There was a piece of paper in his hand that said, ‘10,000 Shekels on Goliath’.”
B. BERLIN WALL
1. How many times have our enemies boasted they would take us down, but didn’t?
2. Communists (Khrushchev/Stalin) said they would walk over our graves; that our children would speak Russian. There were moments it looked like they might succeed. They build up their military, launched their ships and submarines. Placed their nuclear missiles as close as Cuba.
3. But God had different plans. In 1988 we watched as the Berlin wall -- the symbol of Communist domination -- fell. It's fall represented the fall of communism. Never forget that someday we will see Satan's empire fall!
4. I believe we may have some spiritual Berlin walls that God wants to bring down this morning. Read this morning’s passage with me.
11 "O afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted, I will build you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with sapphires. 12 I will make your battlements of rubies,
your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones. 13 All your sons will be taught by the LORD, and great will be your children's peace. 14 In righteousness you will be established: Tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear. Terror will be far removed; it will not come near you. 15 If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing; whoever attacks you will surrender to you. 16 "See, it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work. And it is I who have created the destroyer to work havoc; 17 no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me," declares the LORD.
The title of this morning’s message is “No Weapon Formed Against You Shall Prosper!”
I. PROMISES TO GOD’S PEOPLE
A. THE AFFLICTED CHURCH – COMFORTED
1. God begins by telling the Israelites -- the Church of the Old Testament -- that He is distressed with them and in all their distresses.
2. Some of you are experiencing tough times and may be devastated this morning. God is hurting with you! He is "touched with the feelings of our infirmities."
3. But God doesn't stop there. He begins to prophesy how He will turn everything around for them/ you in verses 11-14.
4. In verses 15-16, He hints at your enemies and to His ability to control those enemies. The term "blacksmith" is the One who makes the weapons. The "destroyer” is the one who takes the weapons out to fight.
5. Point: Since God created the one who forges the weapons and the one who uses the weapons, He knows everything about the weapons and their uses against us.
Tell your neighbor: I’m getting through this!
B. THE FIGHT IS FIXED
1. God assures us of victory. With God's help we can't help but win. Right? “If God be for us, who can be against us?”
2. In the boxing world where there’s always a lot of gambling, there have been times when the obvious favorite somehow lost the fight. That’s when charges would surface that the fight had been fixed!
3. What that means is that someone had paid a large amount of money to the favored boxer to get him to lose the match. Those who bet on the weaker boxer, with long odds, were sure to make a fortune!
4. So when it’s said that a “fight is fixed,” it means that one combatant is guaranteed to win before the fight even starts!
5. The exciting thing is, our fight for Christ is fixed! With God on our side we can’t lose! This means you’re your adversary the devil is predetermined to be defeated by you! Your victory is guaranteed!
6. It may not be in the first round, or the second round or the third round, but my faith tells me the devil is going down!
7. Jesus said, “Behold I give unto you power to tread upon serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy and nothing shall by any means hurt you” Lk. 10:19.
8. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” 1 Cor. 10:13.
9. Victory is assured: "No weapon formed against you shall prosper!" Glory!
II. TWO THINGS IMPLIED BY VERSE 17:
A. YOU HAVE A DETERMINED ENEMY WHO IS OUT TO DESTROY YOU
1. There is a real enemy who seeks to destroy us. That is why we can’t be lackadaisical, or get too comfortable. When you're in a conflict, you cannot forget there's an enemy out there trying to knock you off.
2. Can you imagine a soldier in the battle, putting his gun down and idly standing there trimming his fingernails? No! He’d be one dead soldier! Quickly!
B. THAT HE HAS FORGED WEAPONS AGAINST YOU
1. The weapons that the enemy forms are uniquely crafted for each one of us. Our weaknesses are studied; our vulnerabilities are observed. What people around us can fail us? What situations can shake our faith?
2. The enemy designs weapons best fitted to penetrate our defenses or most effective in causing us spiritual confusion and damage.
3. Haman schemed/plotted to destroy Mordecai and all the Jews. Haman imagined Mordecai swinging from a lofty gallows, and so had one built just for him! [Why 90 ft high? So the surrounding city could see it! The devil wanted to shame the people of God!
4. But there is a God in the courts of heaven and an Esther in the Palace of Shushan. Instead of Mordecai hanging on the gallows, it was Haman!
5. Pharaoh pursued Israel to the Red Sea. Pharaoh said to his men, "Do you fear to tread were slaves are bold?" And his men boldly dashed between the walls of water.
6. “Israel! Don't fear the uplifted spear or rattling chariots; their weapons will not prosper!” Moses waved the rod and the mighty waters crashed on the Egyptians!
C. TEMPTATIONS AS WEAPONS
1. The devil uses some things you wouldn't expect -- things difficult to detect -- like a stealth bomber is hard to detect. The enemy uses these things against you to hinder you, and throw you off track.
a. Your Past b. An Addiction
c. Sickness d. Friends, family betray
e. Depression f. Series of catastrophes
g. A Job mishap h. Car troubles
3. If the enemy can’t stop you, he wants to make you ineffective and unproductive for the kingdom. But you don't have to allow that; "No weapon formed against you shall prosper!"
III. GOOD NEWS: YOU’RE INVINCIBLE IN CHRIST
A. WEAPONS WILL NOT PROSPER AGAINST YOU
1. What does the Hebrew word translated "prosper" mean? The root meaning means to "push forward." Imagine a man trying to push a massive elephant; the elephant would be immovable. It is similar to the ocean waves crashing against a mountain of rock; the waves break unheeded and the rock stands firm. In such a way, we will be unmoved by the attacks of the enemy.
2. This doesn’t mean it won’t hurt, or that we won’t be momentarily stunned and confused, but keep holding onto God, and the great ship Zion will right itself! (Some boats have so much Styrofoam they can’t sink!)
3. Nothing the enemy can throw at us will succeed if we're walking with God. We can only self-destruct!
4. Balaam (Numbers 23), a sorcerer, tried to curse the Israelites, but couldn’t: his curses were turned into blessings!
5. STORY of the MISSIONARY & THE WITCH
a. Glenn Thompson was an AG missionary to Lat. America, went to Cuauhtemoc, Veracruz, Mexico (Island) to began a big crusade.
b. On the second day, a witch confronted him; "You won't build a church here. I am the oldest and most powerful witch -- we are going to cast a spell on you!"
c. Thompson replied, "I've had a spell on me since I was 10 years old -- when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. Nothing you can do can influence my life." The witch danced around him, chanting and sprinkling salt and pepper.
d. Thompson replied, "Save your salt and pepper for your supper! Were covered by the blood of Jesus; you can't stop us."
e. On the last night of the campaign, she was saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit. She burned all her paraphernalia. She won 22 other witches to Christ. Matthew 16:18 says, "I will build my church and the Gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
B. YOU ARE PERFECTLY SAFE
1. "NO Weapon." Think how diverse are the weapons of man. From hand grenades, to guns, to missiles, to bombs and land mines, to booby-traps, planes, drones, to all kinds of explosives; laser beams, atom and neutron bombs, tanks and artillery, soundwave weapons, EM pulse, cyber, etc.
2. And imagine that out of all of them, universally, not one could harm you! Not even one! You are PERFECTLY SAFE! There is no way that harm can come to you. You should have no fear; you should rest in perfect peace.
1. Dutch Sheets says, “We had been ministering in Guatemala for one week with very few people coming to Christ. The people were listening, but not responding. I was to preach on the final night of our trip. Just as the service was about to begin, a team member told me about something he and others had found on the far side of the village, a little girl, six or seven years old, tied to a tree.
2. Not believing what they were seeing, they asked the family that lived there, "Why is this small girl tied to that tree?" It was obvious she lived there, much like a dog, in the back yard -- nasty, filthy, helpless and alone.
3. "She is crazy," the parents replied. "We can't control her. She hurts herself and others and runs away if we turn her loose. There is nothing else we can do for her so we just have to tie her up."
4. A voice said to me, “Tell them you are going to pray for the little insane girl across the village tied to the tree. Tell them you are going to do it in the name of this Jesus you've been preaching about. Tell them that through Him you are going to break the evil powers controlling her-that when she is free and normal, they can then know that what you are preaching is true.”
5. I responded to the voice in my heart with fear and trembling. I believe the words were something like, WHAT DID YOU SAY??? Same instructions.
6. Then I prayed. On that moonlit night in a tiny, remote village of Guatemala with a handful of people as my audience, my life changed forever.
7. Jesus came out of hiding. He became alive: Relevant... Sufficient ...Available! A "hidden" Jesus emerged from the cobwebs of theology. A yesterday Jesus became a today and forever Jesus. A Galilee Jesus became a Guatemala Jesus.
8. For the first time I understood the heavenly pattern: Jesus is the Victor-we're the enforcers; Jesus is the Redeemer-we're the releasers; Jesus is the Head-we're the Body.
9. Yes, He set the little girl free. Yes, the village turned to Christ. Yes, Jesus prevailed through a sent one. So the partnership goes on -- God and humans. [Intercessory Prayer by Dutch Sheets, p.42-45]
B. DON’T IGNORE YOUR PROBLEMS
1. "Maybe if I ignore the devil, he'll go away." No! You cannot peacefully coexist with the devil! God wants you to see How Big He is.
2. STORY OF DAVID & GOLIATH
a. David -- small and not trained.
b. David said he'd kill Goliath with a sword although he had no sword.
c. Goliath, years before, had a sword made, to kill Israelites. It was unique; David said there was no other sword like it!
d. David ended up using Goliath's own sword which had been forged against him, to cut off Goliath's own head. What a victory! That’s the victory God has for us!
C. ALTAR CALL
1. It’s time for you to be set free! You’ve been bound long enough. Come forward in Jesus’ name and let Him loose you. Prayer partners come.
2. Do you have some areas in your life that you want to get victory over?
3. Like Dutch Sheets, Do you want to be prayed for to begin the partnership with Jesus to be one of His enforcers?
4. Salvation call.