June 2, 2014
The unfortunate inhabitants of Vicksburg were already experiencing ever-tightening deprivation due to Union control of the Mississippi River. Supplies were scarce and prices skyrocketed. Anyone who did not have the wherewithal or foresight to have left town, now sought uncertain refuge by digging into the hillsides to escape the imminent bombardment.
These “caves” were just an illusion of safety. While they may have afforded some protection from flying shrapnel, these glorified rabbit burrows were subject to unexpected collapse. As if cave-ins weren’t bad enough, the hot, humid and unsanitary conditions were a perfect breeding ground for disease and mosquitoes. An already weakened populace was facing certain starvation as well as a brutal “fever season”.
There are lessons to be learned from this sad page in history. We, like the citizenry of 1860’s Vicksburg, need to seriously evaluate our situation and plan accordingly.
What is your personal security based on? Are you placing your faith in things that could crumble and disappear? Are you prepared for warfare? Today, we may not be facing actual cannon balls but life can be brutal and real- life bombardment can feel as devastating than a 10 pounder blowing through your plaster and lathe walls.
First and foremost, don’t dig around in the dirt. The only sure refuge is in Jesus. Yeshua,( his name in Hebrew) actually means safety and salvation. He loves you. He died for you. He rose again and He’s coming back soon. If you haven’t already, you need to acknowledge Him as your Saviour and King. All you have to do is ask…Jesus is there, waiting to be asked. ( John 3:16 , 17)
It is important to note, that the Confederacy was extremely out-gunned. We all remember the scene from Gone with the Wind where Rhett Butler reminds that room full of blustering, cigar-smoking Southerners that they would need more than passion and bravery.
Too often we as Christians, due to faulty doctrine, pride or thoughtlessness, have left our best asset, our ” Biggest Gun” on the shelf collecting dust. The Power and Person of the Holy Spirit is our most vital ally in our Christian life. Walk away from Him at your own risk. We cannot fight or help bring in the coming end-time harvest in our own strength…nor were we intended to. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit: Don’t leave home without it! Isaiah 59:19, Acts 2:38-46, Acts 4: 29-33. ( Please don’t misunderstand me. We are SAVED from our sins and resultant coming judgement through our belief in Jesus and the blood he shed for us on that cross. He told us that we needed to be EMPOWERED- to do what He had tasked us to do, we must have the Holy Spirit)
Vicksburg’s primary defenses were focused on the river. They had no viable defenses for other strategies that would come against them. Vulnerability is never a good thing in battle. Paul in Ephesians cautions us to always be wearing the entire Armor of God. Why would the Apostle Paul tell me to put it ALL on if I weren’t going to need it?
No one knows, then or now, when the next battle will begin or end, tactics shift or a seige begin. Therefore, it is imperative that we understand the times we live in and know what to do with that information ( 1 Chronicles 12:32) If we rely only on information the world system purports through our governmental spokespersons, news media, educators and so forth ,then we are positioning ourselves for maximum irrelevance in the coming battle.
To accurately understand the times from a spiritual perspective we need to run all that information through the Goggles of the God’s Word,
Biblical prophecy and especially the voice of the Holy Spirit. If we avoid doing so, are we not actually saying that we don’t really care what God’s spin on reality is, what His plan is for us? That God’s Word is fine moral teaching for Sunday morning but not particularly relevant for real modern day life. What incredible arrogance!
Shortly after his water baptism and the Holy Spirit came on him , Jesus faced Satan in the wilderness. He fought off every single thing that Satan threw at him with the the Word of God. We need to get serious about memorization of Scripture and have it ready for use at a moment’s notice. We serve a supernatural God. It only stands to reason that the Words of the Living God carry supernatural power. Vicksburg learned a hard lesson that if you are weak, hungry and under-gunned you will be easy to defeat. ( Matt 4:10, Matt 4:4)
Vicksburg knew who and where the enemy was. Confederate forces had time to prepare and build up their defenses. The problem came when the expected battle did not come. Without reinforcements they didn’t have the resources to hold out when the enemy suddenly changed their tactics.
Many times we stop reading about the Armor of God a verse too soon. Paul, in Ephesians 6:18 finishes up his list with an abstract weapon,unlike a tangible sword or helmet. He teaches that Praying in the Spirit is the over all, invisible deflector shield for Spiritual Warfare. He further tells us to be watching. Spiritual Situational Awareness is critical.
We, as the powerful, abiding Body of Christ must pull our collective heads out of the “ostrich hole” of everyday life as usual. Fever Season is coming and we must be ready!