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Territory Worth Guarding

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I stood on the still-damp grass, scanning across the long field. The surrounding trees obscured people’s movements, but not their voices. Intermittent shouting and even laughter came from various directions. I paced and looked in all directions, even behind me. The old pumphouse near the end of this clearing was the perfect base for our game, but as the one guarding it, I resented its walls that blocked my vision of the trees beyond.

Suddenly I heard cries from across the field. Two teammates followed by one opponent burst out of the tree line. I squinted, gazing intently at my buddies’ hands, but they were empty. They must’ve been spotted before they could capture the other team’s flag. Now, they were avoiding capture themselves.

Just as they neared the safe zone, I saw movement to my left. An opponent was sneaking into the clearing, followed by another. My two teammates, who were being pursued, now became the pursuers.

In a flash, the three of us chased the two of them as they retreated down the field. However, seconds later, I realized—I had a job to do—I was guarding our flag!

It was a realization that came too late. When I turned my head, I gasped at the sight of an opposing player edging around the pumphouse, snatching our flag, and sprinting toward the opposite side of the field.

I shouted to my teammates to stop chasing the decoys, but I could tell the opposing team’s sly maneuver was playing out to perfection. To truly intercept the thief, my teammates would have to enter the opposing territory, where their old pursuer waited. I ran after him as fast as I could, but he was still faster.

In less than two minutes, the game was over. Our flag had been captured.

It all came down to territory. I had walked all over the heart of our territory, but left it unoccupied for just one unexpectedly critical moment.

So much of the Bible focuses on territory. When God called Abram, he traveled to a new land and established his camp in the geographical center of that territory. Yet he did more than just pitch a tent:

“After that, Abram traveled south and set up camp in the hill country, with Bethel to the west and Ai to the east. There he built another altar and dedicated it to the Lord, and he worshiped the Lord.” (Genesis 12:8 NLT)

Building an altar was like planting a flag: it’s a way one claims physical territory and claims supernatural help to defend it. Interestingly, Bethel and Ai were not far from the town which was later renamed Jerusalem. Clearly, God was on the move in the heartland of that territory.

Millennia later, another Traveler arrived. Almost directly east of Abram’s altar, Jesus was baptized. After this, “Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil” (Matthew 4:1 NLT). In overcoming the great opponent, Jesus continued the work of being on the move in this territory. Yet now it was more than the heartland of Israel, He was making a way to move into our hearts. We had been taken prisoner, and now the perfect Rescuer was here, setting captives free.

Free for what?

Free to move into and occupy the territories God calls us to. Free to not be tricked by Satan’s maneuvers as he attempts to recapture lost ground. Free to encourage and equip our Christian teammates as they press on to new territories.

Questions for Reflection: Where is God currently calling you to stand guard? Where might He be prompting you to advance next?


Scripture is quoted from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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About The Author

Ben Ledger

Ben has worked at CBN since 2014. He's the sort who will watch historical or geographical videos just for fun. He especially enjoys outdoor activities with his wife and three young boys.

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