This article was first published last Wednesday. Here is the concluding part.
An arrow does not fire itself; it needs a bow to send it forth. The bow, too, is useless without an arrow to send on assignment. Sometimes when an arrow stings somebody, they are quick to begin prayers against that arrow, ignorant of the bow somewhere out of sight, from which the arrow had been launched; a bow that might he ready to fire another slender missile while the victim remains engrossed with the initial ‘agent.’ Sometimes those we contend with, because they have stung us, might not be the main issue in our conflicts; they might have been pawns; victims also, like us. We need to note not only the arrows that smite us but also the bows from which they were fired.
What of the archer who uses those weapons? Any soldier is useless without his weapons, just as the weapons are mere decorations without the soldier. In Jesus’ parable on spiritual warfare, about the strong man that should be bound before his goods can be spoiled, Jesus showed that the effective culmination of the conflict is not merely in overcoming the strong man but, further still, in the appropriation of “all his armour wherein he trusted” (Luke 11 :22). Only thereafter can the stronger man “spoil” the goods of that strong man. In other words, in effective spiritual warfare, we need to recognize and address both the men and the materials of the enemy; both the army and their armaments, both the enemy and his arsenals; otherwise we could win a battle today merely to start another the following day.
The Israelites sang a song of triumph after God had seen them through the Red Sea, in spite of Pharaoh’s advancing host; a song that offers great insights into the present discuss:
Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea (Exodus 15:1).
They recognized that they had been up not only against the dreaded horses of Pharaoh but also against their fearsome riders, both of which, (?— according to their song, God had taken out of their way. If you should kill a horse, but the rider escapes, that escaped warrior could ride out against you some other day with some other horse, perhaps a stronger horse. Subsequently, the conflict could degenerate into the kind of unfortunate re-captivity against which Jesus warns in another parable on spiritual warfare:
Then goeth he [the previously overcome and expelled single devil], and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; alld they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first (Luke 11 :26). Alas, the many times the crafty devil keeps distracting us with expendable horses on which to waste our missiles, while he keeps the pressure on our diverted futile labours of warfare!
And I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand (Ezekiel 39:3).
In this passage, Jehovah the Man of War appropriately addresses Himself, firstly, to the “bow” [singular] that sends arrows on assignment, and, secondly, to the dispensable “arrows” [plural]. Implicitly, however, the primary reference is to the warrior behind those weapons, whom He disarms by the process.
May God, this day, break the bow out of the left hand of the warriors poised against you, and may He smite the arrows out of their right hand, thus rendering them impotent. Yea, may He also smite the warriors themselves, with blindness and madness, in Jesus name (Deuteronomy 28:28; Zechariah 12:4). May your God defend you this day as He overthrows not mere! y the pursuing horses that everyone readily sees, but also their riders the intelligence that directs the horses, in Jesus name. Amen.