• It was Pharaoh whose persecution served to multiply the Israelites into a mighty nation (Exodus 1).
• It was also Pharaoh who, by multiplying the power and influence of Moses, forced this fugitive to become the historic leader of a mighty nation (Exodus 5–12).
Carpenter writes, “You already know that God’s ways, including His view of enemies, are different from our ways. But an understanding of how God uses people coming against us and situations that are very negative can change everything. If we are to make authentic progress in life, we have to face up to the necessity of an enemy.”
“The Bible is clear: because we live in a natural world with natural authority established by God as unbreakable, people can be used by God to be the windows of heaven or by Satan to be the gates of hell. That’s how your real Enemy shows up, through people he uses as enemies. Enemies, therefore, aren’t people who cut in front of you in the lunch line, or cut you off at the traffic light. They are people who have allowed Satan the opportunity to work through them, as the gates of hell into your life, to oppose your destiny and your purpose; they set their desires against what God has in line for your life.”
He observes, “In a matter of days, my successful, comfortable life as the pastor of a growing, effective church crumbled. I had done nothing wrong, but people were accusing me of misdeeds, trampling on my good name, and calling me foul names. I felt surrounded by enemies.
The truth is, it’s not really them—it’s the ultimate enemy, Satan, who is using them to try to sabotage and abort your future.
What this means is that all our afflictions or problems in life, no matter how horrible they seem, are not a big deal compared to the payoff for facing and enduring them. And the results for us in heaven will be great and eternal. You may not know me, but if you did, you would understand that I sometimes say things that have an edge to them. I grew up in a wide space in the road called Possum Kingdom, South Carolina. People there are known for saying what’s on their minds in a blunt fashion. That’s how I am as a pastor, and now I’m going to say something that may rattle you a bit:
I had always prayed that God would use me exceptionally, let me stand out from the crowd, have me do things that had never been done before. But what I concluded, primarily after living through the story that is the basis for this book, was that I was going to have to fight battles I’d never fought before. And until this major crisis in my life, I had never put those two concepts together. What I know now for sure is that we all need a really good enemy now and then.
And if there are no enemies on your horizon, don’t worry, they will show up in due time if you sincerely want to follow God in this world. The Bible’s perspective on adversity is that it is always working for you. Sometimes God sends it. And even if He doesn’t, He still uses it. So, as a biblical believer, I conclude:
I believe if we understand why we might be going through something, the grace and strength to see it through will be there. But if we don’t know why tough things have fallen in our laps, it’s hard to stay focused………
The arrival of an enemy in your life is a sign to you that this present season you’re in is finally coming to an end. God often assigns an enemy as a catalyst for you to exit one season and enter another.
We might never have known anything about David if God had not arranged for Goliath to arise between David and his kingship. It’s a compelling story—one day David was delivering cheese and biscuits and ended up killing a giant. The next day he was carried through downtown Jerusalem, with women hanging over balconies singing songs to his name. Would any of that have happened without a great enemy?
Even Jesus lived in anonymity until Satan determined that He was more than Joseph the carpenter’s oldest boy.
Enemies are indicators to you that God is planning movement in your life, and transition is right around the corner.”
Carpenter cautions, however, “My intent here is not to turn you into an obsessive enemy hunter. The Bible teaches us to watch, not to search, for trouble. It can happen that the Enemy will use a demonic spirit to challenge your purpose and rob you of your potential, but I believe this is rare. The vast majority of the time, your enemy will show up in the form of a person, a mindset, a situation, or an internal struggle. And, I want to issue a particular heads-up to husbands and wives and moms and dads. The enemy is not your spouse or your child! Marriage and parenthood are examples of a covenant relationship. These are meant to go the distance in life. They are usually incredibly challenging relationships and require huge amounts of work.
As a result of my journey, I want you to know that if you are in crisis or feeling beaten down for any reason, life has not handed you something sour just because life doesn’t like you. Life has handed you an opportunity to open a great door. But you need a correct perspective on your difficulty. This is how I like to describe it: An enemy arising in your life is a key indicator that the next stage of your future is about to be born.”
There’s something about facing life’s enemies that enlarges your capacity. I’m not just talking about external challenges. I’m talking about internal changes that increase our ability to grow stronger, to have the “fuel” for future battles. You can see what battles with enemies did for Joseph, Moses, Samson, David, Paul, and others.
I could hear the cheers of David, Joshua, Moses, and the others ringing in my ears: “Get up! Get up! This is not your worst day! This is God’s greatest opportunity!”
Sometime we are surprised to discover that we have enemies. Other times we will simply bear the burden of being viewed as someone else’s enemy. At that point, prayer and trusting God’s good plan and purpose, for their lives as well as for one’s own, is a good response.