When Moses and Aaron asked Pharaoh for permission to take the people of Israel into the wilderness to worship God, Pharaoh gave an unexpected response. I believe this conversation between Moses and Pharaoh reveals an important truth we need to know if we’re going to bring our entire families into the kingdom of God.
So Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh. “All right,” he told them, “go and worship the Lord your God. But who exactly will be going with you?”
Moses replied, “We will ALL go—YOUNG AND OLD, OUR SONS AND DAUGHTERS, AND OUR FLOCKS AND HERDS. We must ALL join together in celebrating a festival to the Lord.” Pharaoh retorted…“Never! Only the men may go and worship the Lord….” And Pharaoh threw them out of the palace (Exodus 10:8–11 nlt).
From these verses of Scripture, we can see that Pharaoh tried to limit who could and couldn’t go to worship God. He didn’t want Moses and Aaron to take their families with them.
Here’s the key I want you to pay close attention to: Pharaoh’s words reflect the strategy of our enemy, the devil. You
see, the devil doesn’t want your family to be free. He wants to hinder as many people as possible from worshipping God. So if he can’t keep you from serving the Lord, then I believe the next step he’ll try is to attack your family. He’ll try to make them his prisoners, just as Pharaoh tried to do with Israel’s families.
But thank God, Moses didn’t surrender. Instead, he kept responding to Pharaoh with a rescue plan that came straight from the heart of God. And as a result, ALL the Israelites—young and old, sons and daughters— were free to leave Egypt and worship God.
Just like Moses, you and I don’t have to cooperate with the devil’s schemes against our families. God’s Word has given us the authority to bring His light into any darkness that tries to imprison our families and keep them from God.
FAMILY PROBLEMS ARE NOTHING NEW
Attacking families is an age-old strategy the devil has used against God’s people. The Bible tells countless stories of family struggles. Look at the strife that arose between Cain and Abel, Joseph and his brothers, and David and his son Absalom. But the Bible teaches us that God has a way to free our relatives from darkness. And we can get a good look at His family rescue plan in action by looking at the life of Abraham. God spoke to Abraham and his wife, Sarah, when they lived in Ur of the Chaldeans…a place located around modern-day Iraq. He told them, in effect, “Get up,leave your country, and start traveling. I’ll show you where I want you to settle down when you get there.” (See Genesis 12:1.) Talk about walking by faith! Abraham and Sarah didn’t even know where they were to go. But in obedience to God, they gathered their belongings and traveled until the Lord told them where to settle—in what we know today as Israel, the Holy Land.
It wasn’t long before their household began to increase. But as their family multiplied, their family problems multiplied too. Eventually, an argument arose over the land where Abraham and his nephew Lot were feeding their herds. There wasn’t enough room for all the cattle. Abraham wanted to resolve the dispute peacefully, so he told Lot, “Let’s not allow this conflict to come between us or our herdsmen. After all, we are close relatives! The whole countryside is open to you… You pick the area you want, and I’ll take whatever is left” (Genesis 13:8–9 nlt).
Lot chose the fertile plains near Sodom and Gomorrah, while Abraham occupied the hillside. For a while, things went smoothly…until the day that Abraham got bad news. Four kings had attacked Sodom and Gomorrah, and they had kidnapped Lot and his family! (See Genesis 14:1–14.) Just like Moses, Abraham refused to leave his family in the enemy’s hands. Instead, he armed his servants with swords and went to rescue Lot and his relatives from those four kings.
You and I can be just as determined as Abraham and Moses to see our families set free…and we can use the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, to do it!
RECOGNIZE THE ENEMY’S HANDIWORK
God showed me that the kings who kidnapped Lot give us insight today into the enemy’s tactics as he tries to rob our families. But thank God, we can know the truth, recognize how the enemy often works, and use God’s Word to help set our relatives free.
The first king was from Elam. His name means “binding up.” It suggests the idea of someone who is tied up or stuck in place. The devil sometimes comes against our loved ones by tying them up spiritually and keeping them stuck in addictions and bad habits, or some other kind of rut. Or they may get uncontrollably angry with “pent up” or “bound up” frustrations, especially when someone tries to talk to them about the Lord or spiritual things. The name of the second king, Tidal king of nations, means “to make afraid, shrink back, and crawl away.” To me, this represents the spirit of fear. It terrorizes people, and it can keep them away from God. Or it can show itself in a relative who is discouraged and in fear, always shrinking back from what’s right or even shrinking back from a relationship with God.
The third king was from Shinar, and his name literally means “sayer of darkness.” He represents the enemy’s plan to keep your family in the dark concerning the things of God, so that they can’t see the truth in God’s Word that can set them free. People struggling with this darkness may lack joy and hope in their lives. The fourth tactic of the enemy is represented by the king of Ellasar, whose name means “lion-like.” The Bible says that the devil goes about roaring like a lion (1 Peter 5:8). He tries to overwhelm or paralyze his prey—your relatives—by deafening them so that they can’t hear God’s voice. You may feel like you can’t get through to these family members because they’re so confused or distracted.
SPIRITUAL BATTLES NEED SPIRITUAL WEAPONS
What I’ve just described may seem very familiar to you. In fact, it may seem as though your family has struggled for years with some of the problems I’ve described.
But it doesn’t have to stay that way! God can step in and begin to deliver your relatives, restore broken relationships, and shine His light into any darkness your family is struggling against. It’s important for us to remember that our fight is not with people, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places, according to Ephesians 6:12. Our fight is against Satan and his demons, not against our loved ones. And here’s the good news: I believe that according to the Bible, there is no lying spirit, no addiction, no sickness, no lack, no bad habit, or anything else you may be facing that has not been defeated by Jesus through His death and resurrection (Colossians 2:15). And He is more than willing to bring His miracle-working power into your family.
PRACTICAL THINGS YOU CAN DO
I believe that if we want the devil to flee from our families, we must resist him with our faith and obedience to God’s Word. (See James 4:7.) Give no place for any spirit other than the Holy Spirit to operate in and through your life. Guard your words and behaviors. Remember that the Biblical way you act toward your loved ones may speak louder than any words you could ever say to them. Refuse to allow yourself to be pulled into unforgiveness, just as Abraham didn’t let himself fight with his nephew over where they would live.
Even when your relatives speak negatively and act as if things are hopeless, you don’t have to join them. You can speak in agreement with God’s Word. When fear tries to step in, you can take authority over it with Romans 8:15 and 2 Timothy 1:7: For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
When anger rises up in you, remember Elam, and the authority we have over that spirit. You can choose not to let it get out of control. And whatever you do, don’t allow yourself to give up hope. Keep holding on to God and remember that He is working in your behalf. Take time to worship Him, no matter what your situation looks like. Trust Him to see you through it all. I want to assure you of this: The Bible clearly says that God loves you, and He loves your family! He wants your entire family to be set free from darkness and brought into the freedom that He has for all of us in His kingdom of light.
LET’S FIGHT IN FAITH FOR YOUR FAMILY
I want to stand in agreement with you for the changes that your family members need. The time to take a stand is NOW! Let’s stand together in faith for the deliverance of our loved ones. I want to pray for you right now: Father, I join my faith with my Partner’s faith right now, and I break any evil influences off of their life and the lives of their loved ones. Through the authority of Jesus’ name, I break any spirits that are binding up or paralyzing those we love in an attempt to keep them from Your mercy and goodness, or any spirits that are bringing fear and intimidation or causing loved ones to feel as if they’re all alone in their struggles. I command any addiction or compulsion to be gone that would try and hold on to family members, including any spirits of pornography, abuse, violence, suicide, life-crippling depression or loneliness, or thoughts of doing harm either to oneself or someone else.
By my faith, I pray for a new freedom and a new spirit of openness to the things of God in these loved ones. I pray for anyone who does not know You to open their heart to receive You as their personal Lord and Savior. I pray they have a hunger to know Your Word. And I pray for Your peace and harmony to grow among these family members, to glorify You. In Jesus’ mighty name, I pray and believe. Amen.