A video game called ‘Battlefield’ has recently captured headlines in many parts of the world, yet out in the jungles of Papua New Guinea the Simbari church is hearing about another battlefield described in Ephesians chapter 6 (mekamiyo is the word for battlefield in Simbari). On this battlefield a spiritual battle is in progress. Eph. 6:12 says that in this spiritual battle God’s people are at war with the spiritual forces of darkness. The Simbari are familiar with fighting so it’s not just an empty metaphor for them. Fighting to protect your land is a common practice in Papua New Guinea.
Domestic fighting is also a common practice in this country. Ephesians has teaching for the family that is shedding new light on what the home life of Christ-followers should look like. Wives submitting to husbands as they do to Christ. Husbands loving their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for it. Fathers training children to follow the Lord and children obeying their parents. And all of these under Christ as the head. These truths have been shedding new light into the family lives of the Simbari church. One couple just came wanting to confess how they had been away in the jungle doing garden work when they had a fight with each other. The man was in tears as he recalled how frightened his children had become. These two knew that they had sinned against God himself even though nobody else outside their family even knew what had happened. The Spirit quickly convicted them and they talked through the issue finally sitting the kids down on the floor of their hut and holding hands as they prayed together as a family. Asking forgiveness from each other and from God and later from the rest of the church for something done privately is evidence that God’s Spirit is really using these truths from Ephesians in their hearts.
The battle is already under way but God has given His people everything needed to be prepared for the fight. We need to put on His armor so we can stand up strong no matter what the enemy brings against us. In the lesson we recalled the Israelites at the edge of the Red Sea having already been delivered from the king of Egypt who was then chasing them down because he wanted to put the Israelites back under his rule. That king of Egypt was symbolic of Satan who wants God’s people who have been delivered from his power to be back under his rule. And like Moses stood strong in faith we need to put on God’s armor and stand strong while on the battlefield.
One other man shared today how he and his wife have been wanting a pocket Tok Pisin Bible so they can study verses we haven’t yet translated for them. They have been praying and praying for a long time and saving as a couple and they finally were recently able to purchase one for each of them. It was humbling to consider that all this couple wished for was a little pocket Bible. Yet what about us, with all that we already have and even more under the Christmas tree, what are we wishing for? Today there is a tribe out there wishing for a missionary to come to them with the Good News of the Bible. Is there a better present that could be given? Thanks for praying for the Simbari but please remember to pray for the tribes who haven’t yet heard.
David & Shari Ogg