The Warrior

Zephaniah 3:17
The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.

Interesting how there are so many movies about WWII that have singing in them. I wouldn’t normally combine war and singing, but many have – even God.

This scripture comforts me with the thought that the God who is powerful and mighty, who is called the Mighty Warrior, not only saves me, but also rejoices over me with singing. That thought builds confidence. I’m in awe of a God who saves and sings.

In 2 Chronicles 20:1-30, the story is told of a faithful leader who knew how to work with God. King Jehoshaphat prayed about the fact that their enemies were coming against them, and he heard God’s response: “You will not need to fight in this battle…”(verse 17). Then the king appointed singers to go out before the army. The choir was leading Jehoshaphat's army when he led his people out to see how God was going to defeat their enemies. In verse 22 we read, “Now when they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated.” There is no reason to fear when God tells you in advance that he will give you the victory.

God had a praise choir going while all the dead bodies fell to the ground. Maybe He wanted a great movie soundtrack to listen to while pitting the enemy armies against each other.

Did the music matter? It did to God. He wanted to show Jehoshaphat’s people something important. He wanted them there so they could see God’s battle plan. No matter how strong your army is, God’s arm is stronger. God’s arm is longer. God’s arm is more protective than any man’s army.

Prepare for War

Judges 7:7
The LORD said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the others go home.”

It’s in the training that the battle is won. If your soldiers will not obey commands, you will have chaos and you will not win. If your soldiers don’t have a warrior’s heart, he will not fight like a warrior.

Gideon was given over 30,000 men to lead, but the Lord said he had too many men to win the battle. How often do you hear that you have too many soldiers to win?

God narrowed the number of soldiers down to 300. Many leaders would tell you that you can’t win with only 300 in your army, especially against an enemy whose camels were in number like the sand by the seashore. The real number of Gideon's army was much bigger if you include the reality that God was with them. With a fighting force of 302, including God and Gideon, the enemy was easily defeated.

Bold and obedient soldiers are prepared to win. Fearful soldiers are prepared to flee. Who do you want on your side? Thirty thousand men, of whom only 300 are prepared to win, or the few who were hand-picked by God?

In the middle of your battle, what do you want to do? Hide or win? Are you training for the job God has set before you? Be bold and obedient and know God is on your side. Read the full story of Gideon in the book of Judges. You might be surprised at how God shows up.

Fear No Evil

Psalm 23:4
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me.

70 years ago, WWII was causing destruction all over the world. Nazi German extermination camps were opening. Japanese forces were attacking nation after nation. In the US, women were taking the place of men in the work force. There were war bond sales to round up more money to send our troops the supplies they needed. People showed courage in the middle of destruction. Those who knew God were praying. Those who didn’t were sometimes found praying too.

Even in recent years when people have had to face death, they did so with Psalm 23 on their lips. Those who didn’t know it already might have been reading over someone else’s shoulder. The psalm inspires courage when people need it most.

By now, people have seen so many movies where Psalm 23 is quoted that using it in real life-threatening situations is instinctive.

It is in those life-threatening situations that people acknowledge that they need someone more powerful than themselves. They can’t control what’s happening, so now they need God’s help.

Saying this psalm is comforting and encouraging. It reminds us that we’re not alone in our tragedies. It reminds us of God's protection. He is strong when we are weak. He can carry us through. The words “I will fear no evil for you are with me” is acknowledgment that God is for us in our battle against evil.

God is for us. Remember that as you seek God with me.

Fighting the Battle

1 Peter 2:11
Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.
This month, I’m taking a look at war. There are so many different kinds of war. Overcoming conflict of any kind is a battle. Losing weight is a battle. When you announce your desire to lose weight, enemies show up to defeat you. You have to battle the urge to shove three servings of a decadent chocolate cake into your mouth. If you don’t use effective weapons, you’ll be overwhelmed by the enemy.

If you live among people who sin (that would be every one of us) and if you want to live in righteousness, then you have a battle on your hands. It’s a spiritual battle, so you have to go to God for your weapons. What weapons do you use in that kind of warfare?

The Word of God is a powerful weapon. It is a sword (Eph 6:17). It is living and active (Heb 4:12). And it is in you – if you read it and believe it and eat it up as if it were the only food around. You must go to God because he knows what is in you and can teach you how to use it (Psalm 32:8).

The battle against sin is not for you to fight alone. In any war, the soldiers must stay in constant communication with their commanding officer. Remember, no success is accidental. Nobody has ever won a war without a fight. And no fight has been effective without both knowledge and passion. Either one by itself is not enough.

KNOWLEDGE
For success in the battle against sin, you must know the enemy. The enemy is sometimes pleasant, otherwise sin would not be tempting. The enemy is sometimes intimidating and sometimes provocative and persuasive.

But you must also know your Commander-In-Chief. Jesus has given us the very same Holy Spirit who was leading him when he fought his battles on the dirt of this planet. God’s Spirit (John 14:26) reminds us of scripture we’ve read which tells us which direction to aim our weapons. We get important information by listening intently in prayer during our battles.

PASSION
Just knowing what to do will not win the battle. You must put effort into the fight. Your confidence in the method of success must match your determination to see the battle through to the end.

You must have a Happy-Ever-After mentality. You must not give up when it looks like you’ve lost. I watched one of the Narnia movies and didn’t turn it off when Lucy found that Aslan had died. I kept watching and saw that the battle wasn’t over. Aslan had not lost.

In your efforts to wage war against sin, you must put up sign posts to remind yourself of your successes and your continuing goals. Remember how far you’ve come, and remember that you’re not through fighting yet.

You are a success story in this war as long as you don’t go AWOL. Stay with God and win the victory. You can do it.