After you prayerfully read these chapters I promise you will better recognize his slimy little lies. It truly is a must that you learn to recognize his voice... because he will speak to you. No one is exempt. If Jesus was not exempt why on earth would we ever even consider that we should or would be?
As you read to learn his voice, you must also pay close attention to how we are to respond to his voice. The only way to fight the voice of the enemy is with the Voice of Truth, the Word of God. Jesus showed us that. Hezekiah shows us that in Isaiah 36-37.
What's important to know as you look at Isaiah 36-37 is the condition of Hezekiah's heart before this enemy was permitted by God to approach him. You see only a short while earlier Hezekiah had become deathly ill, but he prayed to God and asked God to heal him... and God did. However, the Bible tells us that "Hezekiah gave no return for the benefit he received, because his heart was proud; therefore wrath came on him and on Judah and Jerusalem" (2 Chronicles 32:25).
So God permitted this enemy to come against Hezekiah.
It can be hard to swallow can't it?
It's hard to believe that this God that loves us so much allows our enemies to come against us. It can be hard to take in that it was indeed God that allowed this calamity, this enemy, this illness, this voice that hurts to the core and shatters you to the bone.
Many refuse to believe that.
Even men from the pulpit many will try to convince a congregation that a God of love wouldn't do that... to say that is to negate much of the Word of God. For God clearly says "...I am the LORD, and there is no other, the One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these." (Isaiah 45:6-7)
Many will hear God in this light and say well, that's not my god. To that I must say, then you serve a false god.
So why would God allow "calamity"? Why would He allow an enemy to come against us? Why would He allow an illness into our lives? We must learn "that an enemy is more than an enemy and an illness is more than an illness. It has been permitted by God for our good." (Kay Arthur)
Here is some insight, some life lessons, to hold on to that I learned while studying these chapters of Isaiah with Kay Arthur through Precept. These insights will help you learn how to recognize the enemy and also how to understand how if you have faith any enemy or illness becomes a blessing:
-> An enemy wants to take you into captivity
-> An enemy challenges your faith (faith just is not faith until it has been tested)
-> An enemy tests your loyalty (he will offer compromise and compensation and even rewards if you will just come on over to his side)
-> An enemy can talk with God talk (yes the devil can quote Scripture)
-> An enemy talks will test your knowledge of God's Word (the enemy always speaks God's word out of context and he uses words of truth but perverts the truth)
-> An enemy will challenge your ability to hear God's voice for yourself (you know, "well God told me that...")
-> An enemy attempts to rule you by fear
-> An enemy seeks to divide and separate
-> An enemy will drive you into the presence of God and cause you to remember who God is
-> An enemy will drive you to your knees in prayer
-> An enemy will cause us to remember our dependence upon God
The thing about enemies is that they can blindside you. A lot of times they can come out of no where, well personally I think most of the time they come out of nowhere. Life can be great and wonderful and then BOOM!
So when these enemies come we have a choice, to quote Kay again, "we can faint or we can wait".
We can fall down and faint before this enemy or we can stay silent and wait on God to fight for us or for God to tell us clearly how to respond. What we cannot do is respond out of our flesh.
I have learned that my biggest challenge in this process is not the attack, it is not staying silent or waiting for God to tell me how to respond to the attack, it is what I do with the hurt. I have a tendency to stay silent before the enemy and then become an enemy myself to someone else. I can just see the devil rolling over with laughter when he accomplishes this in me.
So why does God allow enemies and illnesses and calamities in our life?
To make us more like Him.
That is His goal.
I have learned that it also is to prepare us for the future. Before David ever faced Goliath he first faced a lion and a bear. If God has plans to use us for great things in His kingdom we have to be ready for the battle. Jesus tells us that we are not greater than our Master and if they hated Him they will hate us as well. If we are on the side of God we have just made an enemy of the world, our flesh, and Satan himself.
However, let us never forget...
"If God is for us, who is against us?" Romans 8:31
"But in all these things
we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death,
nor things present,
nor things to come,
nor any other created thing,
will be able to separate us from the love of God,
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."