Do not be afraid of them for tomorrow at this time I will give over all of them, slain, to Israel. You shall hamstring their horses and burn their chariots with fire. Joshua 11:6
And Joshua did just as the Lord said to him: he hamstrung their horses and burned their chariots with fire. Joshua 11:9
Judah captured Gaza with its territory…And the Lord was with Judah, but he could not drive out the inhabitants of the plain because they had chariots of iron. Judges 1:18-19
When Israel grew strong, they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but they did not drive them out completely. Judges 1:28
The people of Israel cried out to the Lord for help because Sisera had 900 chariots of iron and he oppressed the people of Israel cruelly for 20 years. Judges 4:3
† If you followed the progression of these verses, the Israelites started out being able to defeat the northern Canaanites who had chariots of iron. The Israelites didn’t have chariots, so it had to be intimidating. They must have been afraid, because God told them, “Do not be afraid.” In other words God was telling them, “If you trust in Me, I’ll drive them out for you.” And they did trust in Him and it worked! He drove them out.
But not too many years later, after Joshua died, Judah could not drive out the inhabitants of the plain. It doesn’t say because they lacked faith or because they didn’t rely on God. We didn’t get God’s commentary on this situation. It just reports that they couldn’t drive them out. As a result, the people that they were supposed to drive out stayed in the Promised Land. God told them in Judges 2:3, They shall become thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you.
You might not think that this is a big deal, but in Joshua 1:3-6 God promised, Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses…No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life…I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them.
So we move from God defeating the Canaanites with iron chariots for the Israelites, to the Israelites not being able to drive them out because of their iron chariots. Then the Israelites didn’t drive out the Canaanites completely, as they were commanded to do. Instead, they compromised and just put them to forced labor. Funny, later on the shoe was on the other foot and the Israelites were the ones put to forced labor.
Then in Judges 4:3 we see that Sisera had 900 chariots of iron. My take on that is the number of iron chariots grew. They didn’t defeat them when the number of chariots were small in number and now they are great in number. And Sisera oppressed them cruelly for 20 years. The consequence of not driving out the Canaanites as God commanded bore fruit. They had become thorns and snares.
The reason I point all of this out is because this is exactly the nature of strongholds in our own lives. Strongholds are structures or fortresses that demons hide behind in our spirit man. It’s like when you decide to have a big snowball fight and you build a snow fort or wall to hide behind first. That snow wall is the stronghold. Demons operate best in secret, because if you knew they were there you would call them out and get rid of them.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 tells us, For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.
† Just like with the Israelites, we can drive out the strongholds in our lives with faith in God. He has given us the same promises that He gave Joshua, that every place our foot touches is ours, that He is with us and will never leave us or forsake us. If we have faith in God, He can and will drive out all of the things in our life that are “iron chariots.”
Those things can be abuse from your childhood, addictions, sin traps that you fell into that still hang on, patterns of negative thinking that need to be renounced and replaced, a rebellious spirit, bitterness from rejection, hurts and failures, and other faulty ways of dealing with life.
God tells us to stay away from things in the form of commandments. We don’t do it, disobeying, thinking “I can do it, it won’t hurt me.” Or we think, “I’ll repent of it later.” God warns us that the same thing will happen–those things we played with will become thorns in our sides and snares. Guess what? What we sow, we reap. We have to now get rid of the residual effects of our rebellion, cleaning spiritual house.
† This is not easy and takes determination, bold obedience and humility to renounce and to repent of things that have maybe been a part of your life for years. I have heard people say for years that it is like peeling an onion, that it comes in layers. I kind of rolled my eyes inside at that, but now I’m beginning to understand it. That is most likely because I have been experiencing it. You would think that I am old enough to have driven out all of my “chariots of iron.” But maybe we never are.
Over the last few months God, in His mercy, has revealed several new chariots to me that have been expelled. I have been humbled through a series of medical issues and a car accident that was not fun. This has caused me to seek God’s face in a different way for healing and emotional health. In the process, He has given me some dreams that have led me to breaking free of some demonic harassment that has been there since my childhood.
A couple of resources that have been helpful have been Youtube teachings by Derek Prince. He is dead now, but there are many of his sermons on deliverance, strongholds and hearing the voice of God. They are Scriptural and well laid out. Another guy that is on Youtube is a man named John Ramirez. He was a Satanist and teaches how to uproot and cast out strongholds.
His book Armed and Dangerous has many good warfare prayers to break any ties that Satan may have. As John puts it, if Satan knows that he owns property in our life, he will come and collect. He will strip and rob us any chance he can get. He teaches how to cut the rope. This teaching on spiritual warfare is valuable and is a tool for the Holy Spirit to reveal doorways that need to get cut off for Satan to no longer be able to cruelly oppress as Sisera did to the Israelites.
Galatians 5:1 declares, It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Are you ready to be free?
*Image from Ryan Boyer/Google Images