Most of us live in a nation that is not at war. And though some nations may be at war with other nations, or perhaps experiencing civil war in some areas, the rest of us who are far away from the actual battlegrounds hardly feel the turmoil and danger of battle.
I love reading the book of Psalms. I love King David. I want to be like him. A huge part of his life was lived in the tension of battle. We live in a time when most countries have agreed to the primacy of maintaining peace. Thus we have the United Nations. We have international laws that promote peace and international amity. And this is all good.
But King David lived in Old Testament times when nations fight for dominion over lands, to thrive and establish themselves as a people, a nation. Thus when we read the book of Psalms, we see violence, struggle, danger, betrayal, deception, fear. But we also see a mighty man of war pouring out to God his heart with much trembling, fear and insecurity. And then we hear this man exhorting the people, “pour out your hearts to God for He is our refuge.” (Psalm 62:8) Later we hear the very same man saying “with God I can scale a wall, I can lead an army…”
Without you God, I cannot do anything. But when I keep myself near you, even when I am drowning in the depths of the sea, I am not beyond salvation. Your nearness is my good. I am in constant danger and You are the ONLY steadfast thing I could cling to.
Most of us read King David’s words and we apply them to our day to day struggles. We say “God You are my strength,” equating “strength” with the strength to resist addiction or doubt or discouragement. And yes, some of us have burdens that are heavier than these…
But this morning, God showed me that when David cried out to God for strength, when David cried out for salvation, when David cried out for help, it was more often than not, in the face of DEATH, in a life-threatening situation, in the MIDST OF A WAR, in LITERALLY moments that could end his existence – and not just end his reputation, career or friendship.
He was in the midst of the cunning bloodthirsty foes, even enemies lurking in the very palace where he lives. He had enemies around his country and enemies inside his home. He faced death from every side. But in the face of these, BECAUSE HE HAS PURSUED GOD AS HIS ONE THING, THE ONE HE CLINGS TO AND THE ONE WHO SATISFIES HIS EVERY DESIRE, He was able to say “O God you are my rock, the one who is mighty to save me from the grave.”
Summon your power, O God… in another translation Your God has summoned power for you. Psalm 68:28
GOD, our God who is STRONG is a God who is strong for battle. And no, not just emotional battle but even the most violent conspiracy of nations laying siege kings and armies. A God who literally won wars for David. Real wars where blood was shed and men were killed.
But where are our enemies now? Sometimes, we have settled to fighting meager wars instead of taking territories for God. There is nothing wrong with facing personal struggles, I do have a lot of those too. We all have to face them. But today I am reminded that the battles we fight reflect our personal IMAGE and revelation of who the GOD we pray to is. The bigger the war we trust God to win for us, the bigger our image of who He is.
He is a MIGHTY GOD OF WAR. Remembering who God is and how he won battles for Israel make me wonder, where are the spiritual giants I should be fighting, what are the territories I should be taking, have I been contending against spiritual strongholds that exalt themselves against the knowledge of my Jesus? Or have I been shrinking back and magnifying the tiny giants of my day to day? God forbid! If yes, then this silliness has got to end now!
There is a reason why the Bible portrays God as a Man Mighty in Battle. There is a reason why some of us are restless and competitive. We were made to fight wars for God and with God. If we are not fighting God’s wars, then we might be wasting our energies on struggles, on distractions. It’s time to see God’s strength as MORE than just strength for the day to day. It is strength for salvation and victory for battles bigger than us, those battles that would seem to kill us and swallow us whole, until God comes up as our Source of Strength.
Don’t you just love Him? Our Mighty Man of War.