All Bible texts are from the King James Version.
While having worship one day worship I read this Scripture and the highlighted words jumped out at me. When you think of putting on armour it usually goes along with going to battle, searching out the enemy, preparing to fight, marching or riding a horse. However, with God's armour we are told to stand! Not only this, but most of the armour of God is for defence. The only weapon we are given to attack our enemy is the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God!
As I meditated on these Scriptures I could not get the word "stand" out of my head. It seemed so opposite to what we are taught as Christians. Take the song, "Onward Christian Soldiers, marching as to war". That is the usual depiction of Christian warfare, not standing. These thoughts really got to me so I did some study into what it meant to stand with only the Word of God as our only offensive weapon and this is what I discovered.
"While Paul possessed high intellectual endowments, his life revealed the power of a rarer wisdom, which gave him quickness of insight and sympathy of heart, and brought him into close touch with others, enabling him to arouse their better nature and inspire them to strive for a higher life. His heart was filled with an earnest love for the Corinthian believers. He longed to see them revealing an inward piety that would fortify them against temptation. He knew that at every step in the Christian pathway they would be opposed by the synagogue of Satan and that they would have to engage in conflicts daily. They would have to guard against the stealthy approach of the enemy, forcing back old habits and natural inclinations, and ever watching unto prayer. Paul knew that the higher Christian attainments can be reached only through much prayer and constant watchfulness, and this he tried to instil into their minds. But he knew also that in Christ crucified they were offered power sufficient to convert the soul and divinely adapted to enable them to resist all temptations to evil. With faith in God as their armor, and with His word as their weapon of warfare, they would be supplied with an inner power that would enable them to turn aside the attacks of the enemy." Acts of the Apostles by E. G. White, page 307 para. 1.
"May God help us to fight the good fight of faith, and to clothe ourselves with the whole armor, and, having done all, to stand. . . . Let us watch for souls as do those that must give an account.--Manuscript 102, 1904." Reflecting Christ by E. G. White, page 250 para. 7.
"Did not the first disciples have to meet the sayings of men? did they not have to listen to false theories; and then, having done all, to stand firm, saying, ‘Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid'? So we are to hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end." Gospel Workers by E. G. White, page 307 para. 2.
So according to these quotes from E. G. White basically:-
We wear the armour of God to defend ourselves against the attacks of Satan who wants to destroy our souls in any way he can. We know that he has had thousands of years of practice in doing this so he is very, very good at it. We are also told that he is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour because he knows his time is short (1Peter 5:8; Rev. 12:12). This armour helps us to make sure our souls are well with God which is a day by day, moment my moment job.
Then we are to watch out for the souls other who may have been led astray and reach out to them and assist them in any way we can.
We are also to stand firm on the Bible and not accept any theories that cannot be fully substantiated from it as they are false. We should read and study the Scriptures, comparing Scripture with Scripture, and then mould our beliefs to what we read. We are not read and study the Scriptures to find quotes that support our beliefs.
If these points are true, then we should be able to find multiple examples in the Holy Scriptures where people followed these guidelines. Here are a few that came to mind, and what they stood up for.
Conflict arose between Able and Cain, because while Able offered the specified offing and God honoured it, Cain did not and God did not honour it. Cain talked to Able about this, but resentment grew in his heart and he slew his brother, Able.
Despite losing his life at the hand of his jealous, angry brother, God deemed that Able was righteous.
For one hundred and twenty years while building the ark, Noah preached to an unbelieving world repentance and remission of sins, and warned that things were coming that had not yet been seen to an unbelieving world. He became the laughing stock of all who came to see him and his boat which was on dry land with no large body of water nearby.
Noah stood fast and God honoured him by saving him and his family in the ark along with all the animals, and God found him righteous.
Jochabed, Moses mother, refused to obey the command of the Pharaoh and throw or allow someone else to throw her son into the river Nile. She prepared a basket in which to hide him, placed him in it and hit him in the bulrushes on the water's edge. Jochabed instructed Miriam, Moses sister, to stay near by and watch over the basket.
How differently the history of Israel and the entire Bible would be, if Jochabed had not stood up and said, "No, I won't kill my son."
God told Moses to take Aaron and ask Pharaoh to let his people go out into the desert so they could worship their God. Moses stood up to Pharaoh time and time again pronouncing one plague after another for Pharaoh's refusal. God caused these 10 plagues to occur, and eventually Pharaoh released God's people as Moses and Aaron had asked.
Moses stood up to Pharaoh and God made him the leader of the Israelites, and he led them all the way to the land of promise. He also became one of the most well know Bible characters.
Trapped with the Red sea one side and Pharaoh with his army on the other side, the Israelites started complaining. Moses prayed and God told him to stand by the sea, lift up his rod, stretch out his hand over the sea and part it. The Lord caused a strong wind to make the sea dry land and the Israelites crossed safely. When the Egyptians tried to follow, Moses once again stood by the sea, stretched out his hand over the sea and it came together gain swallowing the whole Egyptian army.
What a victory for Israel! What a triumph for Moses who stood by the Red sea.
At Rephidim, the camping place before Mount Sinai, Amalek decided to attach the Israelites. Moses did stand on top of the hill and when his hands were up Israel prevailed, but when his hands were down Amalek prevailed. Aaron and Hur found a rock for Moses to sit on and steadied his hands and the Israelites won the battle.
By obeying God and making a stand for Him Moses won the battle for the Israelites.
King Ahab accused Elijah of being a trouble making in Israel and causing there to be neither due nor rain for the past 3 years. Elijah told the King it was his fault because he had turned Israel away from worshipping the true God and worshipping Baal instead. He then proposed a challenge - meet him on Mount Carmel with the 450 priests of Baal. They will make sacrifices to their god and Elijah to his God and the one who answers with fire is the true God. Baal, who was only an idol, could not do anything. However, the true God answered with fire and all Israel acknowledged Him. Elijah then killed all the priests of Baal.
What a challenge! What an even greater victory for Elijah who stood up for and worshipped the true God!!
Samson was brought up a Nazarite according to God's command to his parents. However, a lot of his actions during his life were the complete opposite of what God wanted him to do. When the Philistines captured Samson and put out his eye he saw for the first time what God had wanted him to do. Before his very last act Samson prayed for strength from God that he might be avenged for the loss of his eyes. He then caused the building which he was in, to collapse killing more Philistines with him than he had during his life.
It makes me stop and wander what Samson could have achieved if he had been faithful all his life, yet he is an example of how people can change from doing wrong to standing up for God.
Joshua gathered together all the elders, heads and judges of Israel and spoke to them about their history from Abraham to that day. He then challenged to them all to choose today who you will serve. He made a couple suggestions - gods of their fathers before the flood or the gods of the Amorites. Then he told them that as for him and his house, they would serve the Lord. As history records, the Israelites were prone to wandering away from the Lord and serving other gods so Joshua took this opportunity to fortify their stance for the Lord. The people answered him, "God for bit that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods;"
How honoured Joshua must have been that day to have all Israel stand with him in service for the Lord.
Joshua sent out two spies to bring reports about Jericho. All the inhabitants of Jericho had heard of the children of Israel and were terrified of them. Security was on high alert. Yet instead of alerting Jericho's authorities of the spies' whereabouts, Rahab hid them. Then she lied about their whereabouts. Only after this did she plead for her live and all those who were in her house, to which the spies agreed. However, when the Israelites attached she was to place a scarlet cloth in her window so they could identify her. It must have taken a lot of courage for this non-believing woman to stand up against her own people and protect God's spies./
Rahab and all in her home on the day that Jericho was overrun were saved. What a reward for standing up.
In one day Job lost seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, along with his seven sons and three daughters. Then Job was smote with sore boils from the sole of his feet to the crown of his head. His wife told him to curse God and die. While his three friends came to comfort him, but ended up sitting for seven days and night in silence because of his grief. They then proceeded to blame Job for doing some evil to bring this disaster upon him. Although Job wished he had never been born, he remained true and faithful to God.
God blessed Job for standing up for Him with twice as many animals as he had before, along with another seven sons and three daughters.
The prophet Jonah after trying to flee to Tarshish, enduring a terrible storm, being swallowed by a great fish and spat out again, finally obey God's command and went to Nineveh. There Jonah stood up and preached a message of doom - yet forty days and Nineveh would be destroyed for its wickedness. The people of Nineveh were known for their fierce, hostile and barbaric ways.
What strength Jonah must have received from God to stand up amongst such people and present this message. What is more, the king and all the people of Nineveh repented of their sins and God saved them.
David and his men had helped to protect the herds of Nabal, and now it was the time of shearing when Nabal received goods for his wool. David sent some of his men to ask Nabal for some of these goods, namely food, but Nabal refused. When his men returned to David he was outraged, and told his men to arm up for they were going to slay Nabal and his household. When Abigail heard of what her husband, Nabal, had done she was afraid what evil might befall them. Behind her husband's back, Abigail quickly packed up a large quantity of food and along with servants, took it to David and his men. She asked David to forgive her and take what she offered for his services which he did. The next morning Abigail told her husband how he nearly died the night before at the hand of David because of his selfishness and greed, at which he dropped dead. David then asked Abigail to become his wife.
Abigail was doubly honoured for standing up against her wicket husband. Firstly she was honoured with her life and the lives of those in her household. Secondly she was honoured by becoming the wife of David, a man much loved by God and a man after God's own heart.
When Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon conquered Jerusalem he took many prisoners with him from there. He ordered one of his servants to pick out the good looking, intelligent, knowledgeable youth, and they were to be given a portion of the king's meat and wine. Daniel and his three friends didn't want to eat this kind of food, so asked the prince of the eunuchs, Melzar, that they might have pulse to eat and water to drink. Melzar was afraid they might look sickly, so agreed to a ten day test. At the end of the test they appeared better and fatter than all the others, so they were able to continue on this diet. This reminds me of a hymn, "Dare to be a Daniel, dare to stand alone. Dare to have a purpose firm, dare to make it known."
What a blessing Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah received because they stood up for eating plain healthy food and water to drink.
After God gave King Nebuchadnezzar the dream of the multi-metal man, he decided that his kingdom would last forever so made a statue of gold. It was about 27.5 metres tall or approximately the equivalent of a 9 story building. This huge, glistening image of a man was set up on the plain of Dura. When the King was ready to dedicate it he gathered all the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces of his kingdom. Also, there was a huge orchestra and when they played music everyone was supposed to fall down and worship the image, with refusal being punishable by death in a fiery furnace.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego only worshipped the true God, so they stood while everyone else bowed. They were arrested, spoke with the King, and then they were bound and thrown into a furnace made seven times hotter than usual. The furnace was so hot the men that threw them into it died. Yet, the King saw them walking around in the flames along with one who looked like the Son of God!
Can you imagine how thrilling it was for these three men, and how terrifying for the King. Because of their stance to only worship the true God the King decreed that nobody should say anything bad about their the true God on pain of death, and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego not only had this thrilling experience, but the King promoted them.
Esther, a Jewess, married King Ahasuerus and became queen of Babylon. Haman was above all the princes, who bowed to him as he passed by them. However, there was a Jew called Mordecai, who refused to bow to him. After a time of constantly reminding Mordecai to bow, Haman decided to take out his revenge on all the Jews. He talked the king into making a decree that on a certain day all the Jews in every province of Babylon should be killed. The king gave Haman his ring and told him to write it up himself. Esther arranged for all the Jews in Shushan including her and her maidens, to neither eat nor drink anything for three days and nights, and then she would approach the King unannounced. If the King was displeased she would die for such an act.
The King was not displeased, so Esther requested that he and Haman attend a banquet that night. At this banquet the king asked Esther what her request was and she asked they come for a second dinner. At the second dinner Esther begged for her life and the lives of all her people, the Jews, whom Haman was going to have killed because of Mordecai. The King ordered that Haman be hanged on the gallows he had constructed for Mordecai and that on the designated day when the Jews were to be killed, that they were to arm themselves and fight anyone who dared to try and kill them. Mordecai was also given Haman's position in the kingdom and all his wealth.
How thankful Esther must have been to God for helping her to stand up to save her life and the lives of all her people throughout all the regions of Babylon.
Often, when Jesus was out and about in the towns and villages, people would call out to him. He would stand still and ask them what they wanted Him do to for them. Some of them asked that their eyes would see. One day while attending the last day of a great feast, Jesus stood up and cried - "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." Shortly before His death, Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate, the governor. Pilate asked Jesus if He was the King of the Jews. Jesus replied with, "Thou sayest." After His resurrection Jesus came and stood on the shore by the sea of Tiberias, to show himself to some of the disciples.
Jesus Christ our Saviour and example of how we should ever live our lives, stood up to listen to people's requests, to deliver messages, to answer to those in authority, and to reveal himself to his beloved disciples.
On the day of Pentecost, after spending much time in the upper room in prayer and supplication the disciples including women, who numbered one hundred and twenty, received power from the Holy Spirit. The twelve apostles went out onto the street and started preaching the gospel so that every man heard them speak in their own language. All were amazed, but some people said they were drunk. Peter, who was standing with the eleven, told everyone that they were not drunk, but filled with the Holy Spirit.
How it must had thrilled Peter to be able to stand up for God that day, wiping away the memory that a lot of people had of him denying Jesus while He was on trial.
Stephen was chosen to work amongst the people because he was full of faith and power, and did great wonders and miracles among the people. One day certain people from the synagogue started a dispute with him. He was brought to stand before the council to answer for his so called erroneous ideas. At the end of his statement to the council Stephen told them that he saw the glory of God and Jesus standing on the right hand of God. With this they stopped their ears, cast him out of the city and stoned him to death.
Stephen was blessed by God for standing up and preaching what God had revealed to the disciples, by showing Stephen a vision of God in heaven and Jesus standing on God's right hand side.
Dorcas was a woman was full of good works and charity, especially for the poor and widows. One day she fell sick and died. The people of Joppa knew that Peter was nearby, so sent someone to fetch him. When Peter came many people with tears in their eyes, showed him what Dorcas had made for them. Peter went into where she had been laid out. He knelt down and prayed, the told Dorcas to arise which she did. He then called all the saints together to show them that she was not alive. News of this went throughout Joppa and many believed because of it.
What a blessing Dorcas must have been to those she stood up for and helped, and how thankful she would have been for them to seek out Peter to pray for her resurrection. I am sure she continued with work with great fervour and devotion to God.
Will you follow all these Godly men and women that we are told about in the Holy Scriptures and stand - not go out to fight, not make a name for ourselves, not travel far and wide, not get into conflict and confrontation - but just make a stand where we are.
Stand for truth! Yes we do have armour to defend ourselves, but the only thing that we are given to attack our enemy with is a sword which is the Word of God.
"Ye shall not need to fight in this battle:
stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you,
O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed;
to morrow go out against them:
for the LORD will be with you."
2 Chronicals 20:17.
© S. D. Goeldner
For those who are interested I have complied some Ellen White quotes on this topic that I found interesting.
"Those whom God has appointed to become instructors must know by personal experience what it is to have Christ made unto them wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. But let no soul imagine that the gaining of eternal life through the finished work of Christ, will involve no struggle, no conflict. There will be constant battles against their own inclinations and hereditary and cultivated tendencies. The apostle declares, "We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." We are continually to be found fighting the good fight of faith. We are to behold Christ, to study his character in the light of his word with fervent prayer, dwelling upon his attributes and virtues, until we shall become changed into his image. There is no time to halt and rest upon the ladder of progress. The command is to go forward and upward, looking to God, who is above the ladder. To look back is to become dizzy, to relax your hold, to lose all, to fall back into darkness. You must keep hold on Christ your Mediator, ascending step by step, being changed from glory to glory, from character to character, as by the Spirit of the Lord. Stretch up the hand of faith, taking hold of one line after another in the work of the Redeemer for the saving of precious souls. Those who think to labor for others should not wait till they know it all, before they begin to communicate to others, nor should they think that they have attained all that belongs to the work of the minister when they can preach a discourse. Such an one should set the standard high, and seek to become a minister of the word, teaching the souls for whom you labor precept upon precept, line upon line of divine truth. Your work cannot be a success unless you educate those for whom you labor. Seek to enlighten the minds of the seekers after truth by giving them clear and definite explanations in their own home circle, in the prayer meeting, and from the pulpit. Instead of spending all the time in sermonizing, open your Bible, and invite the people to engage with you in studying its precious truths. Let those who desire ask questions concerning that which they do not comprehend, that the plan of salvation may be more clearly revealed to their minds. Plant the feet of all that you possibly can, one step after another upon the divine ladder reaching from earth to heaven. Lift up Jesus, lift him up as the only One whereby men can be saved. Then will the truth you present become the power of God unto salvation." Bible Echo and Signs of the Times, April 1, 1892 par. 4.
"Brethren and sisters, when these workers go to their fields of labor across the seas, will you close up the ranks in the home conference? Will you put on the Christian armor? 'We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.' Will you stand firm for the truth, even though your church may not often be visited by a minister? I ask you, in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, to put on the whole armor of God;' and be sure to wear the gospel shoes. Do not neglect to put them on. They will enable you to tread tremblingly, softly, in approaching the souls that you desire to lead to the Saviour." Pacific Union Recorder, November 20, 1902 par. 13.
"There are many who are at ease, who are, as it were, asleep. They say, 'If prophecy has foretold the enforcement of Sunday observance, the law will surely be enacted;" and having come to this conclusion, they sit down in calm expectation of the event, comforting themselves with the thought that God will protect his people in the day of trouble. But God will not save us if we make no effort to do the work he has committed to our charge. We must be found faithfully guarding the outposts, watching as vigilant soldiers, lest Satan shall gain an advantage which it is our duty to prevent. We should diligently study the word of God, and pray in faith that God will restrain the powers of darkness; for as yet the message has gone to comparatively few, and the world is to be lightened with its glory. The present truth--the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus--has not yet been sounded as it must be. There are many almost within the shadow of our own doors, for whose salvation no personal effort has ever been made. We are not prepared for the time when our work must close. We must take a firm stand that we will not reverence the first day of the week as the Sabbath, for it is not the day that was blessed and sanctified by Jehovah, and in reverencing Sunday we should place ourselves on the side of the great deceiver. The controversy for the Sabbath will open the subject to the people, and an opportunity will be given that the claims of the genuine Sabbath may be presented. Blindness, disloyalty to God, so prevails that his law is made void, but the psalmist says of such a condition, "It is time for thee, Lord, to work; for they have made void thy law.'" The Review and Herald, December 24, 1889 par. 3.
"Satan is ever seeking to destroy; he is casting his hellish shadow between our souls and the light of the Sun of righteousness. When you talk doubts, and distrust your Heavenly Father's love, Satan comes in, and deepens the impression, and that which was only a shadow is made the blackness of despair. Your only hope is to cease talking darkness. In dwelling on the dark side, you cast away your confidence in God, and this is just what Satan wants you to do. He wants to sift you as wheat; but Jesus is making intercession for you. His love is broad and deep. Perhaps you will say, "How do you know he loves me?" I look where you may look, to the cross of Calvary. The blood shed upon the cross cleanseth from all sin. When tempted to go in the dark cave of doubt and despair, sing:--"
"'Arise, my soul, arise,
Shake off thy guilt fears;
The bleeding Sacrifice
In my behalf appears;
Before the throne my Surety stands;
My name is written on his hands.'"
The Review and Herald, August 25, 1891 par. 4.
"Every Christian must take a part in the warfare against sin. The enemies of God would crush his law. They hate it because it reproves their sins. A profligate man once said that he wished all evidences of the truth to be destroyed; for they were so convincing that they could not be controverted. So today many cry, "Away with the law of God!" for the same reason that the Jews, in condemning Jesus, cried, "Away with this man!" The word of God rebukes iniquity, and his law condemns the lawbreaker. "Sin is the transgression of the law," John declares. The law is the sin-detector, and therefore the very mention of the commandments of God stirs up the evil attributes of him who is wilfully sinning against God." The Review and Herald, January 26, 1897 par. 2.
"Do not imitate men. Study your Bibles, and imitate Christ. Do not lend yourselves to any selfish confederacy. Do not bind yourselves to stand by one another in any questionable matter. Scheming, underhand working, and untruthful practises, which much talk has made apparently justifiable, have been and are still carried on. Church-members have engaged in lines of work that have corrupted their sense of honor. They can never be saved unless the Lord, by his Spirit, shall touch their hearts, leading them to see that their entire system of working is condemned by the Bible." The Review and Herald,, May 9, 1899 par. 16.
© S. D. Goeldner
© S. D. Goeldner, February, 2020. Last updated February, 2020.
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