Know How Your Enemy Works
And in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria
came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them.
(2 Kings 18:13)
The Assyrians were fierce fighters who showed no mercy to anyone. They’d kill their enemies, mount them on poles to show their might and to cause fear and intimidation to anyone who even thought about going against them. So by this we see they were skilled in psychological and physical warfare. Their army was organized, disciplined and versatile. They were quick in movement and they were large in number. Whatever they wanted, they took.
A few years ago, I felt led to research the Assyrian Army to learn about their battle tactics. Then the next thought came (which I know was from the Lord)… “who do you think is behind their strategic thinking and brutal warfare?” Easy answer…Satan. So in order to understand how our enemy, Satan, works we should understand how the fiercest enemy of the Israelites worked.
“Has any of the gods of the nations at all delivered its land from the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim and Hena and Ivah? Indeed, have they delivered Samaria from my hand? Who among all the gods of the lands have delivered their countries from my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem from my hand?’” (2 Kings 18:33-35)
The Assyrians were masters at psychological warfare. They used intimidation and fear to overcome their enemies. This caused their enemy to believe they were going to be defeated and that there was no chance that the Assyrians could be defeated. They were also great in physical warfare and used strategic military tactics to come against their foes. They would assign troops to dig under the foundation of the city in order to weaken that foundation. They would send in Assyrian archers and slingers to keep up a steady stream of fire support, and spear-men climbed wooden ladders to reach the top of the walls. They sent in battering rams to knock down the doors of the city. Some prisoners were led away into captivity, other captives were beheaded, and other groups were flayed, burned alive, or impaled on stakes in the presence of the population. They would take their prisoners and place them far apart from each other so there was no chance for rebellion. This sent a huge message to the people and to the armies they fought against.
Now, let’s look at this spiritually so we can learn how our enemy works to try and defeat us. Before going into any battle, any great army will first monitor the army they are going up against. They will be very patient and watch their moves, know their strengths and weaknesses and from there learn at which point they can attack them at. They will continue battering them in that area until they weaken and crumble, therefore taking them captive afterwards. We are no different. The enemy watches our movements, observes our strengths and weaknesses and begins attacking us in that area; sometimes little by little maybe over the course of time and sometimes with quick fierceness. It starts with our foundation. He will work on our foundation reminding us of all the hurts and pains we have encountered and all who have hurt us or whatever our weakness is at that time. While working on that, he will send in his archers to throw fiery darts at us and his spear-men to spear us to confirm what he is reminding us of. This comes in the way of other people’s words and/or actions. If you have problems trusting people, he will work on your foundation and bring up memories of all the people who have lied and deceived you. On the surface, in your everyday life, you will encounter people lying to you or seemingly trying to deceive you to enforce what you are being reminded of. Then comes the battering ram in order to get into the door of your heart. You will feel battered so severely that you crumble from all that you are remembering, seeing, and hearing and soon he has taken up residence in your heart and your heart becomes cold, bitter, and wounded. The final move is to separate you from others, even those who love you, because you feel you can’t trust them. By doing this, he keeps you apart from people who can help you and work together with you in order to strengthen you and help you to become healed. The enemy will work at isolating you from others so he can continue working on your thoughts which causes you to hear only his deceiving voice, therefore keeping you chained in your bondage of thoughts and addictions. This also happens with Christians in the form of church. Sometimes we find ourselves getting hurt by people at church in the areas we struggle with and soon we find ourselves leaving church thinking we aren’t even safe there. We don’t think to apply the scriptures to our situation in order to overcome that hurdle…love, forgiveness, truth, etc. Instead, we allow ourselves to be isolated from hearing the Word of God…a major tactic of the enemy to spiritually malnourish you so you will wither away and get cut off the vine of Christ.
When faced with any trial, our number one defense is the Word of God. We must combat the enemy with scripture when he reminds us of our hurts and pains. We must surrender our hurts and pains to God, resist the thoughts and the enemy will flee from us:
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
If the enemy is filling you with thoughts of failure and what you can’t do, you combat that with scripture such as the following:
Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.
If he is filling your mind with fear and anxiety, combat it with 2 Timothy 1:7 – For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
If he is telling you there is no hope, combat it with Romans 5:5 – Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
We have to remember that many times what we see on the surface isn’t always what we think it is. There have been many relationships that have been broken because of what something looked like on the surface as opposed to what it really was. There were times in the past that I was upset with someone over something and although I should have talked to them the thought would come “why talk with them? They aren’t going to listen anyhow” and then thoughts of all the times they didn’t listen came flooding to my mind. I failed to remember the times I didn’t listen and how I came across to them as well. But I wouldn’t talk and just allow it to stay and fester within me causing me explosive anger over little things. Instead I should have combat it with scriptures such as James 1:18-20:
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
Unfortunately I didn’t know better back then but I do now.
If you want to remain free from the enemy’s chains then you must not only know God’s characteristics and what He expects, but you need to know how your enemy works. You need to understand HIS ways and you will learn this through the Bible. In one scripture Christ gives a couple of Satan’s characteristics and rest assured Satan’s army has the same characteristics:
You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. ( John 8:44)
From here we see our enemy is a liar and a murderer. He’s a deceiver and will deceive us into thinking we are the worst people around and will use others to get that point across. He will try and make you believe that you will never be healed yet Christ states in Matthew 9:22 that it was the person’s faith in Christ that healed them. Many times we may want a physical healing and when we don’t get it the enemy will have us thinking we aren’t good enough or God doesn’t work OR that we didn’t have enough faith. But many times God may want us spiritually healed first because it is our spiritual state that needs to be healed in order for us to get into Heaven. He may use that physical illness to draw you closer to Him in order for Him to heal you spiritually and then use your physical illness to help others. How much more of a testimony is it when you encounter someone who has a physical disability or illness but you see their faith and perseverance through it and it encourages you to continue moving forward in your own situation? I once watched a video of a little boy who was blind and had autism and I was saddened for him but when I watched the video I realized how blessed he was because he was singing “Open the eyes of my heart, Lord” and his voice was beautiful! His physical disabilities did not hinder his faith and love for God. How many people has he touched through this video? How many people did he bring to Christ through that one video and in person! What we consider a disability God considers a useful tool to glorify Himself and bring others too Him.
Know how your enemy works. Watch his movement through others and your own situations and learn to identify his tactics. He wants you to battle with others, keeping the battle between people but it is written:
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)
To wrestle with means to grapple, contend with, or to battle with. We do not grapple with, contend with or battle with each other but with the enemy…Satan…and his army. We don’t go actively seeking them but we are to be alert to their work and defend ourselves and others with the Word of God when he crosses our path. We can’t fight the enemy with our own strength or human weapons, we can only fight him with our spiritual weapon…the sword of the Spirit…the word of God…the bible. We apply scripture to every situation. When the world says we are to get even with someone for what they did to us or cut them off, that thought is from the enemy. But the word of God states something entirely different:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matthew 5:43-45)
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:17-21)
By doing this you are setting an example and the more love you show your enemies and pray for them, the more it may open up their eyes to the truth of God and it will soften your heart.
Know how your enemy works so you can be alert and aware when you see his tactics and you can combat them with scripture.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the direction you give us in your Word, the Bible. Without it I would not be able to walk on the path of righteousness and set an example for those who do not know you. Keep me from falling into the thinking like the world because I know the enemy is of the world. Help me to take captive my every thought and make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). Protect my mind, my vision and my words. Thank you Jesus for your strength and for giving me a highly effective weapon to protect myself with…the Sword of the Spirit. In Jesus name I pray…Amen.