Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Studying God's View of Army and Warfare

“…But there was no sword in David’s hand. Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.” 1 Samuel 17:50

At first glance, it looks like David is unprepared. But the verse actually starts with: “Thus David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and he struck the Philistine and killed him,…”

It is just that a sling and stone did the job, but using the Philistine’s own sword was very effective in causing the enemy to flee. Goliath’s sword was probably very heavy and over-sided for Goliath’s nine feet. David rejected the heavy, too-big-for-him armor that King Saul provided. I love this concept that David, though young, ran toward the enemy, was a dead aim, and used weapons at hand---or in this case, a sword still sheathed.

1 Samuel 18:29 “then Saul was even more afraid of David. Thus Saul was David’s enemy continually.”

Another study to contemplate---this time of David rising and Saul living out a mean, hateful, disobedient life. David was anointed, but not crowned for some time. And David’s worst enemy sometimes was King Saul. David continued to be respectful of King Saul, and let his Heavenly Father decide the timing of Saul’s end. What a neat picture of Christ, our anointed King, but allowing history to play out. There is a lot to ponder in this relationship where King Saul is a type or picture of Satan.

And what do we make of King Saul’s own children helping David escape at different times? Michal, David’s first wife, and Jonathan, David’s best friend: see 1 Sam. 19:11 and 1 Sam. 20:16

1 Samuel 23:3 “But David’s men said to him, ‘Behold, we are afraid…’ verse 4 “Then David inquired of the Lord once more. And the Lord answered him and said, ‘Arise, go down…for I will give the Philistines into your hand.”

I love this verse because David’s men were not afraid to tell him what they thought. And David was not afraid to seek confirmation from his Heavenly Boss. Someday, our Heavenly Boss will speak directly to us and we won’t faint.

1 Samuel 24:5-7 “And it came about afterward that David’s conscience bothered him because he had cut off the edge of Saul’s robe. So he said to his men, ‘Far be it from me because of the Lord that I should do this thing to my lord, for the Lord’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, since he is the Lord’s anointed.’ And David persuaded his men with these words and did not allow them to rise up against Saul…”

David is a true leader. He has a conscience. He taught by example and words. Keep in mind that these men, these strong and valiant warriors will be honored at the end of his life, and honored for their brains, not just their skill.

1 Chronicles 27 speaks of the “men of outstanding capability” and “mighty men” and “counselors” and “commanders” and 2 Samuel 23:8 talks of what these mighty men did.

1 Chronicles 29 (from the middle of King David’s wonderful prayer) “…But who am I and who are my people that we should be able to offer as generously as this? For all things come from Thee, and from Thy Hand we have given Thee. For we are sojourners before Thee, and tenants, as all our fathers were, our days on the earth are like a shadow…”

1 Chronicles 7 “mighty men of valor” “ready to go out with the army to war” “choice” “archers”

1 Chronicles 12 “mighty men” “equipped with bows, using both the right hand and the left to sling stones and to shoot arrows from the bow…” “mighty men of valor, men trained for war, who could handle shield and spear, and WHOSE FACES WERE LIKE THE FACES OF LIONS, and they were as swift as the gazelles on the mountains.”

“famous in their fathers’ households” “who could draw up in battle formation with all kinds of weapons of war and helped David with an undivided heart.” “came with a perfect heart” “were of one mind” “like the Army of God”

The first Biblical army is found in Genesis 21 where Abimelech and Phicol, the commander of his army, spoke to Abraham, saying, “God is with you in all that you do..”

Abraham trained and lead his servants in an army to rescue Lot and the captured ones.

The Bible says a lot about Pharoah’s army. And as Israel begins as a nation, the book of Numbers lists their army as an intrinsic part of order and security and obeying God’s commands.

Deut. 23:9 “When you go out as an army against your enemies, then you shall keep yourself from every evil thing.” And verse 14: “Since the Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp to deliver you and to defeat your enemies before you, therefore your camp must be holy, and He must not see anything indecent among you lest He turn away from you.”

And lest you ladies think your are exempt from preparedness and using what is at hand, see Judges 4:21. “But Jael, Heber’s wife, took a tent peg and seized a hammer in her hand, and went secretly to (Sisera hiding under her rug) and drove the tent peg into his temple...”

I like that gal. Put him to sleep with a bottle of milk, and used weapons at hand.

If you word search “army” in Quickverse, you will see that it occurs 207 times.

Some are given a glimpse of God’s Army. 2 Kings 6:17

2 Chronicles 16:8,9 “Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubim an immense army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet, because you relied on the Lord, He delivered them into your hand. For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. You have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars.”

God delivers with small against great numbers again in 2 Chronicles 24:24 “because they had forsaken the Lord, the God of their fathers.”

And for you romantics---amazing how many army references in the Song of Solomon. Banners, as in an army with banners.

Armies of the future: Ezekiel 1:24, Ezekiel 37:10

Ezekiel 38, Daniel 11, Joel 2, and Revelation 19

One of my favorite army stories is when an enemy has come to destroy Israel, and God just takes them out, but leaves their stuff to feed and arm the city, and how God used lepers to alert the city that they were safe. But, I will save that story for another day.


joyce said...

Thank you dear, for pointing out Esther 1:13 where the wise men knew the times.

Bob said...

What must people think when they read all these posts about "war in the Bible"? On the one hand I'm tempted to say, "Who cares who understands?" But on the other hand, perhaps it doesn't hurt to let visitors know that placing Isaac on the altar isn't easy. But then where better to put sharp weapons than in the Lord's hands.