Texas sunset captured at the close of a day

Taking the Spoil
(When the enemy comes, it can be an opportunity to take a spoil.)

    There is a principle in the martial arts that when the enemy comes to attack, it is an opportunity to take advantage of him. This same principle is also true in the spiritual realm. When the enemy comes, it can be an opportunity to take a spoil. 

I.  Taking the Spoil.  II Chronicles 14:1-15 (specific focus 13-15).


"So Abijah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David: and Asa his son reigned in his stead. In his days the land was quiet ten years" (II Chronicles 14:1).  God gave Asa ten years of peace from outside invasion.

"And Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God:" (II Chronicles 14:2).   When Asa became the king of Judah, he did what was right in the eyes of God.  "For he took away the altars of the strange gods, and the high places, and brake down the images, and cut down the groves" (II Chronicles 14:3).  Have you torn down the idols in your life? Have you renounced the evil things in which you were once involved?

"And commanded Judah to seek the LORD God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment" (II Chronicles 14:4).  Have you made it a priority to seek the LORD God?  Have you make it a priority to keep God's law and commandments?  Asa did it in his life and in the country.

"Also he took away out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the images: and the kingdom was quiet before him" (II Chronicles 14:5).   When he took away all of the places of idol worship and the statues, he experienced peace within his country.  We can also experience peace on the inside when all the idols and statues (that may be heroes or concepts) are cast down.

During this time of peace, he didn't just become a couch potato. "And he built fenced cities in Judah: for the land had rest, and he had no war in those years; because the LORD had given him rest" (II Chronicles 14:6).  We should not only tear down the strongholds (II Corinthians 10:4) in our lives but also fortify ourselves with the Word of God.

"Therefore he said unto Judah, Let us build these cities, and make about them walls, and towers, gates, and bars, while the land is yet before us; because we have sought the LORD our God, we have sought him, and he hath given us rest on every side. So they built and prospered" (II Chronicles 14:7).   God had given Asa ten years of peace and he recognized that God was the source of his peace.  However, he also recognized that it was a time to build and prosper during the time of peace and not just sit around and do nothing. It was a time to become productive.

"And Asa had an army of men that bare targets and spears, out of Judah three hundred thousand; and out of Benjamin, that bare shields and drew bows, two hundred and fourscore thousand: all these were mighty men of valour" (II Chronicles 14:8).  During the ten years of peace from external invasion, Asa built up his army.  Why?
It was because, sooner or later there was be an invasion from the outside!  Even after Jesus, the Son of God, was tempted, the devil only left him only for a time.  "And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season" (Luke 4:13).  This means that he RETURNED again.   Are you ready to pursue the enemy WHEN (not if) he returns?

Sure enough, an enemy much greater in size and strength than Asa came to attack him.  "And there came out against them Zerah the Ethiopian with an host of a thousand thousand, and three hundred chariots; and came unto Mareshah" (II Chronicles 14:9).   I know of no human being in the natural is a match for the devil!

However, look at Asa's response.  He didn't run as a coward.  He didn't hide.  "Then Asa went out against him, and they set the battle in array in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah" (II Chronicles 14:10).  He set himself to fight against the enemy.

Look at what he did before he entered into battle.  "And Asa cried unto the LORD his God, and said, LORD, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou art our God; let not man prevail against thee" (II Chronicles 14:11).

1. Asa cried unto the LORD (Yahweh, the creator and ruler of all creation).  The word "cried" implies a cry like that of a child calling to his dad for help.
2. Asa acknowledged that God was well able to help and it doesn't matter how strong or weak the individual is.
3. He petitioned God specifically to help.  "Help us, O LORD our God."
a. This is based upon his personal relation to God, "our God".
b. It is based upon the fact that the people were trusting totally in God.
c. Then they go out into battle in the NAME of God.
4. He declared that the battle is God's battle, not his own battle.
What were the results?  "So the LORD smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled" (II Chronicles 14:12).  Note that it was God who defeated the Ethiopians.

 "And Asa and the people that were with him pursued them unto Gerar: and the Ethiopians were overthrown, that they could not recover themselves; for they were destroyed before the LORD, and before his host; and they carried away very much spoil.    And they smote all the cities round about Gerar; for the fear of the LORD came upon them: and they spoiled all the cities; for there was exceeding much spoil in them.  They smote also the tents of cattle, and carried away sheep and camels in abundance, and returned to Jerusalem" (II Chronicles 14:13-15).
Asa not only defended his land, but also pursued after the enemy to gain a great spoil.  We are to be more than conquerors.  "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us" (Romans 8:37).

II. Losing your life. II Chronicles 15 and 16.

The prophet, Azariah, came to both encourage and warn Asa. "And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded: And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you" (II Chronicles 15:1-2).

God gave Asa PEACE for thirty-five years this time.  Asa continued to put away much of the idol worship, but allowed some idol worship to remain in the land.  This time another enemy came against Asa.  "In the six and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa Baasha king of Israel came up against Judah, and built Ramah, to the intent that he might let none go out or come in to Asa king of Judah" (II Chronicles 16:1).

This time Asa tried to hire Benhadad king of Syria to fight for him using the money that was collected for the LORD in the temple.  BAD NEWS!  Many people today use their tithes and offerings to pay secular counselors and physicians to get them out of their problems.

Benhadad went out to fight against Baasha for Asa and he was defeated and backed off; therefore, this seemed to bring a temporal end to Asa's problems.  However, God sent a prophet to Asa.  "And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said unto him, Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on the LORD thy God, therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thine hand" (II Chronicles 16:7).  This time Asa let the enemy escape and didn't get a spoil.

This time instead of receiving the blessings of God, he got a scolding from the prophet.  "Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubims a huge host, with very many chariots and horsemen? yet, because thou didst rely on the LORD, he delivered them into thine hand. For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars" (II Chronicles 16:8-9).

However, instead of repenting and turning to God, Asa becomes furious at God's messenger and puts him in jail.  "Then Asa was wroth with the seer, and put him in a prison house; for he was in a rage with him because of this thing. And Asa oppressed some of the people the same time" (II Chronicles 16:10).   His anger also spread to the people as well.  Furthermore, the anger opened the door for the enemy to work even  more in his life.  "And Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he sought not to the LORD, but to the physicians" (II Chronicles 16:12).    Again, instead of seeking God, he sought "professional" help.

The sad result ... "And Asa slept with his fathers, and died in the one and fortieth year of his reign.  And they buried him in his own sepulchres, which he had made for himself in the city of David, and laid him in the bed which was filled with sweet odours and divers kinds of spices prepared by the apothecaries' art: and they made a very great burning for him" (II Chronicles 16:13-14).

III. Other Scriptural examples of taking the spoil.
A. When the people repented and turned to God in the midst of being slaves God gave them the spoil of the Egyptians. "And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians" (Exodus 12:36).   "He brought them forth also with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person among their tribes" (Psalm 105:37).

B. Goliath and the army of the Philistines came against the army of Saul, but David acted in faith and Israel took the spoil  "And the children of Israel returned from chasing after the Philistines, and they spoiled their tents" (I Samuel 17:53).

C. Jehoshaphat was surrounded and outnumbered by his enemies, but when he turned to the LORD, the LORD gave him a great spoil.  "And when Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away the spoil of them, they found among them in abundance both riches with the dead bodies, and precious jewels, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away: and they were three days in gathering of the spoil, it was so much" (II Chronicles 20:25). It took THREE whole days to gather the spoil.

D. The enemy had Paul and Silas put in prison, but they took the spoil of the salvation of the jailer and his family.  "And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway" (Acts 16:16-33).

E. The devil sought to kill and destroy Jesus, but Jesus took the spoil.  "Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors" (Isaiah 53:12).  "And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it" (Colossians 2:15).  "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:12).

IV.  You as a Believer may also take a spoil when the enemy comes.
A. You are to overcome the world.  "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.  Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" (I John 5:4-5).

B. You are to overcome the powers of darkness.  "Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:  And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world" (I John 4:2-4).

C. You are to be MORE than a conqueror.  "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us"  (Roman 8:37).  A conqueror may defeat the enemy, but you are to be MORE than a conqueror.  You are to take a SPOIL!

V.  A personal experience which I had.
Some years ago, I was involved in a ministry showing Christian movies in a nearby prison (Eden Detention Center).  Several other men and I would drive from San Angelo to Eden which is about a 45 minute drive away.  One evening just as we were entering the city limits of Eden, I sensed that something was wrong in the spiritual realm.  I told the men that we must stop and pray before entering the detention center.  We prayed for about ten minutes and then got permission to take our equipment to the back of the prison where we were to show the movie.

We showed the movies in cafeteria of the prison.  Usually, when we arrived, we would have a number of inmates there awaiting to watch the movie.  However, on this occasion, there were only several inmates cleaning up after the evening meal. I remembered that I needed to talk with the administrator about something; therefore, I got a guard to escort me to the administrator's office.  We casually talked for about ten minutes.  I glanced at my watch and commented to the administrator that I best get back to show the movie.  We only had a certain time period to get in, show the movie, give a gospel presentation, and get out.  We had already lost a portion of that time.  I got the guard to escort me back to the cafeteria, but to my surprise, there were still several inmates still cleaning and no one was waiting to watch the movie.  We waited for a few more minutes and still no one showed up to watch the movie.

I got one of the men with me who was bilingual to ask a hispanic inmate what was happening and why no one had showed up for the movie.  The inmate informed us that there was a RIOT going on in one part of the prison.  There was a very uncomfortable feeling that came over me.  Here I was in prison and there is a riot going on.  By this time a half hour or more had passed.  In the natural, I could not see how we could show the movie in our allotted time and get out.  However, I thought, "The devil isn't going to have victory here" and told the men with me to pray.  We prayed for another thirty minutes.

Finally, the doors were opened for the inmates to come to watch the movie and about twice as many men as usual showed up for the movie.  The inmates wanted to get away from the riot area .  A Christian movie was a good excuse.  The guard in charge of us informed us to take as much time as we needed since it was not our fault that we had started late.  That night we took the spoil ... about twice as many men as usual got saved when we gave the invitation to accept Jesus as Lord. When the enemy comes, it can be an opportunity to take a spoil!

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