Josh, why did you name your website Standard 59? What does that even mean?
That's a great question, Person X. It comes from a chapter in the book of Isaiah where the prophet drops this comment about raising a standard. Because we as men, we have to learn how to fight.
So let me just get into this verse really quickly here for you. So I'm gonna go to Isaiah 59:19,
So shall they fear
The name of the Lord from the west,
And His glory from the rising of the sun;
When the enemy comes in like a flood,
The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.
This standard is a battle cry. This passage in Isaiah 59 is actually a prophetic picture of Jesus Christ coming back to rule and reign the earth in his battle raiment at his second coming.
There are many men out there and reading this who are faced with crazy situations. Maybe you are feeling beat down or overwhelmed. There's so much we have to deal with in the present culture, what's happening with the economy, your job, what's happening with all the things that I have to do in managing and being the leader of my household and just living my day-to-day life.
It Can Be Overwhelming Because Men are Under Attack
You are under attack because you carry a mandate, and are on a mission from the Father to represent Jesus Christ in the earth. And if the enemy can take out men and fathers, then he can take out families.
And if you take out families, you can take out communities.
And if you take out communities, you can take out cities.
So on the opposite side of that, if we build the man, we take over our families. We're the true leader of our family, leading like Jesus commands us to lead.
And then we can change cities and cultures, and we can bring the kingdom of God into our sphere of influence and change the culture around us.
And Jesus made this statement in John 16 that we will have tribulation in this life. You will have trouble. Maybe you’re reading this and it doesn't apply to you right now, that's great! But the day's coming where you will face challenging circumstances. It could be with health, it could be with a loved one, a relationship, and so on.
But the day is coming because we live in this life in a fallen world.
What Do You do When You're Facing Trouble?
As ambitious Christian men, building your business, hustling, doing what you have to do and multiplying and sorting everything that comes into your hand, don't forget the first thing: you need to be spending time with Jesus and you need to be in the word.
You must be reading and studying your Bible.
If you don't know the story about Joshua taking the city of Jericho, it's very relevant and applicable to us as men, especially with taking territory and battles we face.
We see in Joshua chapter 1 that he will be guaranteed success if he does certain things. And those things have to do with listening and obeying and being who God is calling him to be, no matter how much they don’t make sense to the natural mind.
You can read about it in Joshua 1:6-9 when the Lord is commanding Joshua to be strong and courageous and to do everything that is according to the word.
So Joshua is the leader who is going to take the nation of Israel into the promised land. Moses was their deliverer and led them out of Egypt and through the Red Sea and through the wilderness. But at the end of his life, Moses disqualified himself and did not get to pass over into the promised land. Instead, Joshua will be the man that's raised up to bring the second generation of Israel into the promised land.
By this point the promised land is theirs. However, it’s still occupied by enemy forces. Just because they have a legal right to it and God promised it to them doesn't mean they don't have to fight for it. There are still forces occupying the land that they have to go to battle with.
At which point they come to a mighty fortress of a stronghold with a walled city called Jericho within this promised land, also known as Canaan.
This is Not Joshua's War – This is the Lord's War
God's the one who promised them the land. He's the one who's leading them into battle and he's waging this war through Joshua.
The Canaanites were the people occupying Jericho. They were involved in black arts, deep black magic, sorcery, witchcraft, and all sorts of things that were out of bounds for us as human beings to engage in. So God is going to battle against these satanic forces through Joshua.
It's important to realize that this war is not against humans but against the dark forces that the Canaanites had yielded themselves to.
Joshua 5:13 says as he was by Jericho, he looked up and beheld a man standing opposite him with his drawn sword in his hand. You can read the rest of chapter five, but this man tells Joshua he is the captain of the Lord of hosts.
This is Jesus as a man leading them into battle; the same man that led them through the wilderness that they observed many times and we can see throughout the journey. He's here at the scene of this battle, and he's the one waging war through Joshua and through the Israelite warriors.
When he says “shout!”, they will release a victory shout and we see the walls come down at that very moment.
This is a Picture of a Prayer Victory
Imagine with me: you're watching this mighty fortress, a powerful walled city that's been there for perhaps centuries, inhabited by a hybrid race of people that are engaging in black magic. Then one day we see the army of Israel come in and instead of attacking it with natural weapons and in typical warfare strategies…
…they march around it and they just walk around the perimeter seven times.
What would that have looked like to the natural mind?
I wonder what the Canaanites were thinking as they looked over the walls and said, "when are they going to attack? What are they doing?"
To the natural mind, this strategy would make no sense!
This is a picture of not working in your own might; it's not using your own willpower nor using the conventional weapons of warfare. It's a picture of going to battle in an unconventional way that defies everything we would know and understand in our human nature.
When we see these battle illustrations in the Old Testament we need to ask ourselves, what is the application? What's the spiritual application for me as a Christian right now?
And the application here in this victory in this aspect of war is through prayer. As I said, you need to learn how to fight.
You Need to Learn How to Pray, Because That is How We Learn How to Fight
Perhaps for some of you reading this it truly is not your fault; you've never been told this. You've been trying to battle, you've been trying to get over your circumstances that come out on top, and you've been using all these different strategies.
Maybe it's a coach, maybe it's a counselor, maybe it's your natural mind thinking, if I do this or if I just do that, I can overcome the circumstance I'm in.
But you haven't even gone to the Lord in prayer, because you haven't been taught how to fight.
So when the enemy comes in, and when you find yourself in the middle of a battle, I want you to remember Isaiah 59 to lift up a standard. And the way we are going to do that is through prayer.
Maybe you think of prayer like this thing where you say nice little quiet prayers. Depending on your stream of Christianity, or the type of church you grew up in, prayer as you have known it might not sound anything like what I’m talking about.
What Prayer Looks Like in the Bible
So I wanna break this down for you, and I'm gonna take you to the book of James which gives us amazing instruction in chapter five. He says, the heartfelt, persistent prayer of a righteous man, a believer, can accomplish much when put into action and made effective by God.
It's dynamic, and it can have tremendous power! There are a couple of words in there we really must get: it's persistent, it's heartfelt, and it can accomplish a lot.
The Passion Translation says it this way,
tremendous power is released through the passionate, heartfelt prayer of a godly believer!
The one that I memorized as a kid growing up, the New King James Version, says “the effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
There's a fervency, there's a passionate cry, there's something that's persistent.
This is passionate prayer.
This is speaking out loud audibly.
Josh, Do I have To Do it That Way?
Yes, if you are in a battle, you better raise your voice, speak out loud, and start crying out to God and declaring your victory, because that is how the battle's won!
When they march around that wall, at the end of it, they just don't stare at it. They don’t just bow their heads and mentally think some “amens”. They shout! They open their mouth, they speak the word and they follow the commandment of the Lord.
And when they do, that's when they get the victory.
And it's the same thing Scriptures tell us in James chapter five; be effective, be passionate, be fervent, and bring energy into your prayer. When the Holy Spirit puts his energy into it, there's a dynamic force that is released, and that is how you overcome.
When you lift up your voice, when you shout, and when you speak out loud, you are changing the atmosphere around you. You are shifting the climate where you are right now, and you are lifting up the standard.
This is How we Fight our Battles
There is an urgency in the hour right now where we as men have to start praying. We have to start praying for our family and not only about a dire situation.
We need to do this every day.
You need to do this all the time, but especially when you're in the battle, especially when war is brought to your doorstep, especially when you're in the day of trouble, this is how you overcome it.