As we begin 2013, I have been looking at the idea of favor. I believe God wants his people to believe for favor during this year. We started by looking at Exodus 3 and Exodus 12, verses in which the Lord told his people to ask their slave masters to give them gold, silver, and clothing. There was no reason for them to do such a thing, but the Egyptians did it anyway. There can only be one explanation. God gave the Israelites favor with the Egyptians. The bible tells us that by this favor the Israelites plundered the Egyptians.
This term “plunder” is very important in the warfare of the day. You might defeat an enemy but the way you proved your victory was complete was by taking from them whatever you might have needed or wanted. I believe there is a New Testament equivalent to the idea of plunder.
In today’s verse, Paul says that we are “more than conquerors” through Jesus who loved us. If we look at the context of the verse, we see that Paul is talking about some very difficult things that he had gone through in the service of the Lord. What does he mean by “more than a conqueror?” One interpretation of this phrase means to win overwhelming victories. That is exactly the idea behind plunder in the Old Testament.
If you won a marginal victory, the enemy you fought was still a threat. His economy was still intact. His army may have been defeated but not destroyed. He could still come against you in the future and the next battle might not go your way. The only way to be sure that the defeated foe would not turn the tables on you was to win an overwhelming victory. This was proven and enhanced by the taking of plunder.
If you took plunder from the enemy, you hurt his economy. You hindered his ability to make war. Depending on the amount of plunder taken, you might destroy the enemy as a nation. In either case, the taking of plunder proved to the enemy that they were at your mercy. If they tried to rise against you again, you would simply come and take the rest of what they had.
This may seem cruel, but there were no civilized rules of engagement. The only protection that you had from a sworn enemy was to be stronger than they were and, if war came, to be sure that you won overwhelming victory. Your enemy would do no less.
This is why God instructed the Israelites to ask for spoil from their neighbors. I want to point out again that the vehicle God used to accomplish this was the women of Israel. The bible says that Israel plundered Egypt and they did it by their women. Could anything have sent a clearer message to Egypt in that day than to be plundered by women? Of course, we know that Pharaoh did not heed the message and paid the price for his mistake.
The other factor in plundering Egypt was the force that I believe God wants to release in the church during 2013. That is the force of favor. The bible says that God gave Israel favor with the Egyptian women and by that favor, they plundered Egypt. By the power of God, they won a victory. By the favor of God, they took plunder or won an overwhelming victory.
I want to tie this to Romans 8. Paul says that in all these things we are more than conquerors through Christ. To what things is he referring? He is talking about some major battles he has faced. He is talking about hunger and shipwreck. He is talking about persecution and various kinds of danger. However, in these terrible things Paul says he is winning overwhelming victories. It could be said that Paul is taking plunder from the devil.
How is Paul taking this plunder? I believe we can conclude that one way he is taking this plunder is the same way Israel took plunder from the Egyptians. God has given him favor with certain people and this favor has caused him to be more than a conqueror. If you read the story of Paul’s life you will find this to be true.
We conquer the sin nature by receiving the benefit of victory won by the power of God. Jesus was crucified by the devil. However, that was not the end of the story. The bible tells us that Jesus “cast off” the powers of darkness and “made an open show” of the devil. These terms indicate a battle won by the power of God. We received this victory as our own and were born again. However, there is more to our salvation than simply “missing hell and making heaven.”
God wants us to walk in victory. God wants us to partake of the benefits of our covenant promises. God also wants us to “spoil the enemy” and take plunder from the kingdom of darkness. I believe that one of the things that will enable us to do that is an increase of favor.
What kind of plunder does God want us to have? I believe part of it involves the wealth of this world.
Proverbs 13:22(NKJV) 22 A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.
Who are the righteous that the wealth of the sinner is laid up for? I believe it is the church. God always wants to provide for the needs of his children, so a certain amount of this wealth can and should go there. The main focus of this idea is for wealth to come into the hands of the church to meet the spiritual emotional and physical needs of people. By giving his people favor in relationships, business and myriad other areas, I believe the Lord wants to release this wealth to his church for the preaching of the Gospel.
There is an even more important way to view this “plunder.”
The gates of hell shall not prevail against the church. What plunder lies behind those gates? Men, women, boys and girls lie behind those gates and God wants them set free. The real plunder God wants to give is a harvest of souls for his Kingdom.
There is more to winning this plunder than just walking in favor. However, I believe God is highlighting favor in my heart. I believe God wants us to believe that he can and will move in such a way that we will have favor where we need it. We need to believe we will have favor to release the resources we need to do the work God has called us to do. I believe he also wants to release favor in the hearts of people so that they will receive the message of the gospel.
Let us win some overwhelming victories in the Lord. Let us take hold by faith of the favor that comes from God and take some plunder from the kingdom of darkness. This evil kingdom has taken enough from us. I believe now is the time to turn the tables and I believe favor is a major key.