“For the Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you and give your enemies over to you; therefore your camp shall be holy, that He may see no unclean thing among you, and turn away from you.” (Deut. 23:14)
You may be familiar with a certain TV commercial of a well-known credit card company, which says at the end of the dialogue, “what's in your wallet?”
The church in a similar way needs to ask, “what’s in your camp?” Discerning exactly what is in your camp can make all the difference between victory or defeat, between rejoicing or devastation, and ultimately between life or death.
Clearly, God says He is ready to deliver our enemies into our hands that they may be defeated before our face. He promises us that He will make us the head and not the tail, and that we shall be above only, and not beneath (Deut. 28:13). While we have these great and precious promises, many Christians are still being defeated in their spiritual battles.
According to our lead scripture there is at least one concrete reason why believers are not winning in spiritual warfare.
Now, that one primary reason for defeat is if we allow any unclean thing into our camp. Take for example the defeat of the Israelites in the first battle for Ai (Josh. 7:1-26). After losing 36 men in battle, Joshua cried out to the Lord, in anguish of heart, basically saying, “Oh Lord why were we defeated in battle?”
God answered him and said, get up from your sniveling on the ground and face the fact that there is an is an accursed thing in the midst of your camp. God went on to say that because of this, Israel could not could not stand before its enemies, and that the nation was doomed to destruction.
Furthermore, He said, neither will I be with you anymore, unless you destroy the accursed thing from among you (Jos. 7:12).
Yeah, that's right, God guaranteed Joshua that His chosen people would suffer sure unmitigated defeat every time they went up against their enemies. Talk about taking the air out of your balloon, undermining your confidence, and releasing dread into your heart. So much for our well planned strategy to drive out the enemy, possess the land and, establish Gods kingdom purpose in our assigned territory.
It’s great to know God is with you in your battles, but it’s more than mind-numbing and down-right terrifying to know that He has distanced Himself from you, and your camp, and is sitting on the sidelines. Not only that, but now you’re a sitting duck for the relentless onslaught of your spiritual enemies.
Looking at the Israelite nation’s example we can see that all it took was one unclean vessel to pave the way for the enemy to defeat the whole nation. The whole Israelite nation team suffered because of one defiant, disobedient, and spiritually defiled individual. This should make leaders reconsider the vetting process when selecting their core team members, if they have one.
The leaders of God’s armies must understand their role as gatekeepers. God says to “set the gatekeepers at the gates of the house of the Lord, so that no one who was in any way unclean should enter” (II Chron. 23:19). We are admonished by God to make sure nothing unclean enters the area of our designated responsibility and stewardship. Yet, there are many leaders in the body of Christ that have not heeded God’s warning.