Sunday, July 27, 2014

How to Discover God in the Midst of Your Battle

By Odon Bulamba

It’s a blessing to be here again this morning.  Many people believe that blessing means only material things. If they get a nice car or money they believe they are blessed but blessing means more than that.  Sometimes you can go through suffering but that is a blessing.  E.g. a mother going through pain to give birth. 

How to discover God in the midst of your battle?

Truly, life is so short.  During this short period of time God gives to us, there are a lot of challenges.  Some are physical others are spiritual, moral and sometimes psychological.  No one will tell you that they have never faced a challenge in their life.  Challenges have different degrees and we all think that the challenge we are facing is harder than the challenge others are crossing.  When we cross a challenge we all say, “Oh God, why me?” but when we go through a blessing we don’t say, “Oh God, why me?”  We all want to grab it and enjoy it.


Joshuaua 5: 13-15, Now when Joshuaua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshuaua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”  “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Then Joshuaua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?” The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshuaua did so.”


This verse sounds a little bit strange.  Joshua was a servant of Moses.  When Moses passed away, God told Joshua he was now to become a leader to lead the people of Israel and take that big role.  That was a blessing wasn’t it.  God raises you up to become the leader – lead my people.  I’m sure Joshua couldn’t stop smiling all night to be chosen to lead the people of God.  God promised to walk by his side to fulfill the mission.  Joshua was happy.  Everybody could salute and bow down in front of him when he walked passed and they showed him they loved him.  He walked pass them proudly.  When he spoke, everybody listened to him.


You and I are leaders of our lives.  When you grew up, God said you won’t be the same anymore, you won’t be a child anymore but a mother of a family, a wife of someone, you must become someone in your society, in your church, workplace etc.  You were a little boy yesterday but I’m taking you somewhere else, I’m raising you up.  You are not five years old anymore, I’m taking you to another step and finally you become a leader who others will learn from.


During the week a someone was telling me about our brother Hugh.  A lady told me about this man who runs every day and he is very strong although he is very old.  I wondered how a person can measure another person’s strength just by looking at them.  This lady told me that this man that she sees running has the courage to push himself to run every day. People have seen this man running for hours, for many miles.  How many have seen him, we don’t know.  Those who see him every day, they know him very well but Hugh does not know them.  Whatever we are doing with God bringing us up, people start to discover who we are.  They will say to Hugh, “I know who you are, I see you running everyday”.


Joshua was put up to the level where he was noticed by everybody and this was a blessing.  Now it is the time for him as leader to organize an army to fight Jericho.  We are the leaders of our own life, we make the decisions in our life such as when we will eat, go to bed, take a walk etc.  We who are the boss of our own life must take that role of commander in chief of our own lives.  Joshua was a commander and he was preparing now to fight Jericho. 



Jericho had a big wall surrounding the entire city made of solid bricks or concrete.  The Israelites had no rockets or missles or bombs to break the wall.  They would have had to climb ladders to get over it which is very hard because you can’t tell what or who is on the other side of the wall and they knew many soldiers would die. 


Joshua believed he was blessed with leadership and had strong army but he didn’t know how to cross this wall.  He thought hard to find a way to get into the city without losing people.  Today you have your family, friends, community and all those people can make a big wall in your life.  You talk to your child and they don’t listen, there is a big wall.  You talk to your husband and he doesn’t want to listen, there is a big wall.  You talk with your family, your friends and others in your community but they build a big wall to keep you out.  The people God gave you are like a barrier with a big fight.  God told Joshua, he would give him the city of Jericho but he is there now and doesn’t know how to take it.  The blessing started to become bitter.


Imagine someone giving you a car but no key.  Or like this morning, our family faced this a big battle because we couldn’t find the iron.  The clothes we prepared yesterday had to be changed all because someone had borrowed the iron without letting us know.  We all felt in our hearts anger and we felt like killing the person who took the iron.  He took an iron without thinking about us.  You will always find challenges along the way and those challenges will take you somewhere you never dreamed of.


Joshua went outside the city to pray and have a look.  He started to examine the big wall to find a solution of where the Israelites could go, what strategy to use, how to climb, who will go first.  He started to think maybe some will die and how he would feel as a leader.  Then Joshua saw this man with a sword in his hand.  Imagine you are going to fight an enemy and you know the uniform of your people and suddenly a stranger standing in front of you, you will think the person is the enemy because you don’t recognize the uniform and you expect a salute but the person says nothing. Joshua asked him, “Are you on our side or the side of the enemy?” He did not recognize it was God.


Sometimes when the battle field is in front of us and we are planning our attack, we start to tell God to choose whose side He is on, mine or the enemy?  We start to tell Him, “Hear what they did against me?” and we ask Him, “Where are you God? Do something?  One time when I was a child my cousin needed to go to the toilet so I did a whistle and she retaliated by smacking me.  I started to cry to my mum but my mum said, “bring me the machete to cut off her head, is that what you want, do you want me to kill her for you?”  sometimes your children will come to you and want you to be on your side and to punish the other side.  Sometimes we as children of God, want God to take revenge for us.  God will tell you clearly, I’m not on your side or the other side.


That brings us back to Jesus who told us to love our enemies and pray for them.  That is the first blessing.  We tell God, “God look at what I’m going through, look at all my problems, be on my side”.  How will you feel when God says He is not on your side?  You will feel rejected and disappointed.  Maybe we will ask ourselves, how can God say He is not on my side when I gave my life to him?  We have been given the role of commander of the army of the Lord so we wonder why God is not on our side.  We still have problems and challenges in life.  What is the role of the commander?  It is to command which does not mean to negotiate it means when God says to “do this”, you have to immediately do what you are asked.  There is no time to ask questions. 


When the commander of the Lord came to Joshua, maybe Joshua thought, “But God says I’m the commander in chief.  Who is commanding who?” Sometimes in your life you believe you are in charge but God pushes you aside and he puts Himself in charge.  We try to stay in charge but God says no, I’m the one who is going to do something here.  We might complain, “O God, what type of husband have You given to me?” or “What kind of child have You given me?” or “Oh my God this situation again”. 


For example, you can teach your child multiplication day after day after day and you put so much effort and struggle so they can learn but after two years they still can’t multiply 2x2.  You try your best but they fail it again.  Or you ask someone nicely, can you please do this and they turn up the volume of the television or they walk out and you start to ask God, “God, did you really give me this husband? They don’t really fit with me.  Everything I want they don’t do what I want.  You promised me God that I would be here to help them but they don’t accept anything from me”. 


Continuing with the story of Joshua, God told Joshua in chapter 6 that the whole of Israel must walk around the wall, “Go tomorrow around the city of Jericho”.  How long would it take us to walk around the city of Hamilton?  A long time.  They were to keep silent with seven priests with trumpets.  Next morning, go again.  Third day…how will we feel?  Maybe they started to think, “God You can find a solution immediately, why are You taking so long. We are tired of waiting”.  These people who were motivated on the first, second even third day will lose their motivation after the fourth and fifth day and yet they are told to walk again on the sixth day, around the whole city.  Then, on the last day, instead of going once they have to go around 7 times.  Maybe they thought “What are you thinking God, are you thinking of me?  It’s foolish, crazy”.  God told them, “That is what you have to do?”  Was it a blessing or a punishment? 


Sometimes you are asking God to solve a situation but God takes you around and around until you feel disappointed.  I once asked something from God but I didn’t get it until 11 years later and by the time I received it, I didn’t need it anymore.


After the 7th time walking around the city, they were told to shout after all this time of not talking.  Now you see the glory of God.  The commander is fighting.  God doesn’t need your thoughts or skills or power to change the situation when He uses you.  Your skills or power are nothing without you.  You can have children without you being a mother.  To be a mother means to have responsibilities and know the role of the mother.  Dogs can give birth to puppies and when someone takes their puppies away, they forget about them after a few days.  If a mother loses their child, they will never forget them and will go everywhere to find them.


The blessing of Joshua was in front of the door.  Maybe if I was Joshua I would consult with others before doing what God asked of me.  Maybe I would tell them the story of this man who said he was not on our side or on the side of the enemy and he proclaimed to be the commander of the Lord but he had no army.  Maybe I would ask for their advice since the man gave no proof of being the commander of the Lord’s army.  Sometimes God will tell you the solution to your problem by coming to you as a simple person.  Sometimes God sends you someone that you don’t believe is the solution to your problem.  It could be your children or neighbors or friends who bring a solution but we are not sure they could be the answer.


Joshua was told, “The place you stand is holy”.  Can a battle field really be a holy place?  It doesn’t seem possible.  The holy place for me is church or where we offer sacrifices.  The situation you are crossing is the holy place because God is in the midst of that situation, no matter how bad or tough it is, God’s presence is there.  It is not for you to tell God what to do but for God to act.


God can solve the problem with a new strategy and you don’t even have to fight.  Maybe Joshua thought (and sometimes us also), “I have an army and I’m trained, I want to see blood” but God says, “That is not what I want”.  We hold our heads in our hands and say, “I’ve tried this and that but nothing works” and God tells you to walk around in silence and God will work.


Psalms 1:1-2:Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night”.


Blessed are those who do not get together with the counsel of the wicked.  When we have problems, we run towards people and ask for advice.  I remember when I was a child, I couldn’t memorise all of the citation that was given to me to recite in front of the class. The advice I got was to smoke marijuana and I was only 7 years old. Sometimes we go to the wrong people to get advice.  Once you are with the wrong person you will get wrong advice and then you will be discouraged to do what you should.  Once you have a bad advice, you keep it and believe it will be fine.


How often do we take our burdens to our family or friends and put God aside?  Will that advice bring a better solution?  We can ask others for assistance but we have to pray first to know who we should speak to and ask God for a solution from that person.


If you want to be blessed:


  1. Put aside the counsel of wicked people.  Don’t live according to their way of living, don’t try to imitate them.  If the world is wearing a hat, you don’t also have to wear a hat.  E.g. this person used his cellphone to read a bible so that others won’t know he was reading the bible.  Sometimes we try to look like them, to fit ourselves in their lives.  God says if you are ashamed of me, then I was also be ashamed of you.


  1. Don’t stand in the way of the way of sinners.  We should not live like them.  E.g. some will tell you that they are going to nightclubs to make lots of friends so they can bring them to Jesus but while there they drink they slowly, slowly lose their salvation.  Be far away from danger.  Joseph ran far away from Potiphar’s wife.  There were many advantages for Joseph if had accepted that women plus she was attractive but he saw the danger and ran.


  1. Don’t sit in the seat of scoffers.  Scoffers are people that are just different when they make a decision.  For eg, I use to write comments on-line.  Some people’s comments are not good such as “go to hell” and their message is bitter for no reason.  E.g. Saul wanted to kill David for no reason.  These people have negative thoughts with no intelligence. Scoffers don’t accept other people’s point of views, you are wrong no matter what you say.  These kinds of people only talk negatively about others. We have people in our communities like that, full of bitterness and destroying wherever they go. We should avoid these people.  Ange can tell you she has a problem with Annette and in comes peter and tells ange negative words about Annette.  We should avoid those kinds of people.


God told Joshua he was chosen.  Why were others not chosen?  God chose you for a good reason, to be the wife of the one you have and the mother of the children you have.  How many walls do you have between you and your family?  How many battles do you have per day? 


I was telling a friend recently, you should give your life back to Jesus.  He answered, “But I do”.  I said, “No you don’t because the life you live doesn’t reflect the life of the one that the Creator gave to you”.  He answered, “maybe when I’m 90, I will”.  I told him many young people die and they have to stand in front of their God.  For me it was a battle, he doesn’t want to listen, to follow Jesus, he doesn’t care about his soul.  God is standing there in the battle field and God tells you that He is not on either side but continue to pray and do what you should do.  For how long?  Should I give up?  That is the way God works especially with those he loves the most.  If he takes very long to respond, that means He loves you the most.


A good parent will not give everything to their child.  A mother that gives everything the child asks  does not love the child because the child will learn wrongly and things will turn bad one day. 


You are not alone in your battlefield, God is standing next to you giving you new strategies and that is a blessing.  Avoid those that can mislead you and avoid scoffers.  It is time to remember that although I’m crossing this problem, God will deliver me from it.







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