Warfare and the Word
- Peter Hammond
- April 04, 2020
“Now these are the nations which the Lord left, that He might test Israel by them, that is, all who have not known any of the wars in Canaan (this war only so that the generations of the children of Israel might be taught to know war, at least those who had not formally know it).” Judges 3:1-2 We thank God for those faithful soldiers who fought, and sacrificed, and bled, and in many cases died, for our Faith and Freedom.
Often we hear that all war is wrong, wrong for the defenders as well as for the aggressors. That war is wrong even when waged with the sincere purpose of defending the innocent and restraining evil.
Freedom is Never Free
Yet much of the religious and political freedoms, which we take for granted today, were won through wars approved of by the churches of those days.
The Battle of Tours
If the people of Europe had not resisted the Islamic invasions of the Moors and the Turks, then Europe would have been conquered. What is today called Europe would be Eurabia. Islam would have replaced Christianity and the mission-sending base from where our Faith was communicated to us. Recent history would be completely unrecognizable had Charles Martel the Hammer not rallied the knights of Europe on the plains of Portiers in the Battle of Tours.
It was A.D. 732, and in the century since the death of Muhammad, the Muslim hordes had massacred, looted and pillaged their way across the Middle East and North Africa. They had conquered Spain, crossed the Pyrenees and were threatening the heartland of Europe. Yet, by God’s grace, Charles Martel’s courageous Christian warriors stood firm and resisted six furious charges of the Muslim cavalry, routing them and sending them fleeing back across the Pyrenees Mountains.
Had the king of the Franks, and every man able to bear arms, failed to repulse the Muslim invaders that day, Europe would have become Eurabia, there would have been no Christian Europe into which the Reformation could be born, and from which the great missionary initiatives could have been launched.
If it had not been for the sacrifices and courageous achievements of the Crusaders in seizing the initiative and throwing back the Muslim invaders onto the defensive, Europe would have doubtless fallen to Islam. At a critical time, the Crusades united a divided Europe and threw the Muslim aggressors back; bringing a peace and security to Europe that had not been known for centuries. As a result of the tremendous sacrifices of the Crusaders, Christendom experienced Spiritual Revival and Biblical Reformation which inspired a great resurgence of learning, scientific experimentation, technological advancement, and movements that led to greater prosperity and freedoms than had ever been known in all of history. Praise God for courageous Christian Crusaders such as Godfrey who led the Crusaders through the walls to liberate Jerusalem in 1099.
We should thank God for courageous Christian Crusaders such as Richard the Lionhearted who, against all odds, threw back the Muslim Turks and secured Christian lands from the encroachments of Muslim aggressors.
The Reconquista and Columbus
Before Christopher Columbus could be sent out to discover the New World, the Reconquista of Spain had be completed with a final defeat of the Moors, the surrender of Grenada, the last stronghold of Islam in Western Europe – in1492. As this completed the liberation of Spain from almost 800 years of Muslim occupation, Queen Isabella felt free to sponsor the exploratory sea voyage of Christopher Columbus, with such far-reaching consequences.
The Battle of Lepanto
The Battle of Lepanto (off the coast of Greece near Corinth) on October 7, 1571 was one of the most critical battles of naval history. Don John of Austria led the European forces. The Christian fleet was manned by almost 13,000 sailors, 43,000 rowers and 28,000 soldiers, mainly Spanish and German infantry. The larger Turkish fleet of 230 galleys and sixty galliots outnumbered the Christian forces, with 206 galleys and six galleasses. During this furious battle, which lasted for five hours, the Christian forces closed in for the fight in hand-to-hand combat with the enemy. Spanish and Germany infantry flowed onto the Turkish vessels and in ferocious hand-to-hand combat, overwhelmed the Turks.
Over 240 of the Turkish ships were sunk or captured in this battle. The Turkish losses were estimated at over 30,000 dead and wounded and 15,000 prisoners. Among the Turkish dead was Ali Pasha, the Ottoman Commander. On their side, the Christians had lost 12 galleys and 9,000 men killed or wounded. However, they had freed twice as many Christian prisoners who had been galley slaves for the Muslims.
Lepanto was a crushing defeat for the Turks who lost all but 50 of their ships. The Battle of Lepanto, following the Turkish defeat at the great siege of Malta in 1565, restricted Ottoman expansionism in the Mediterranean. It broke the threat of Muslim dominance at sea. Lepanto was one of the great turning points in history. It ended the fear of Turks that had threatened to overwhelm all of Europe. It stopped the Turkish advance. Church bells tolled throughout Europe as many prayers of thanksgiving were offered by millions of grateful Europeans. As historian, Otto Scott, observed: “Only God could have saved so divided a Europe against so determined and savage, rich and heavily armed a foe.” After Lepanto the Turks remained a menace, but not an unconquerable one. Lepanto was the last major naval battle between rowing vessels.
The Spanish Armada
Another major battle in world history that continues to benefit us to this day was the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. Philip II, who had recently conquered Portugal, prepared to invade England with what the Spaniards call the Invincible Armada. The world had never before seen such a powerful naval force. With the Spanish having recently defeated the Turkish fleet, the tiny English navy was not perceived to be any significant obstacle to the Spanish Invasion and conquest of England. Philip looked forward to the destruction of the Protestants and the restoration of Catholicism in England. And with English support severed, it would be easy for him to finally crush the rebellion of the Protestants in what was then called the Spanish Netherlands.
While churches throughout England held extraordinary prayer meetings, a devastating storm wrecked the Spanish plans. The Duke of Palmer’s invasion barges in Holland were prevented from being used by Dutch action, and the English tactics of setting fire ships among the huge Spanish galleons created huge confusion. Courageous action by English seamen, and continuing storms, decimated and broke up the great Spanish Armada. Much of what was left of Phillip’s fleet was devastated by more storms off the coasts of Scotland and Ireland. Only a miserable remnant of the once proud Armada limped back into the ports of Spain. 51 Spanish ships and 20,000 men had been lost. The English Navy had not lost even one ship!
The greatest superpower of Europe at that time had suffered a crippling blow. The defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 marked a great watershed in history. It signaled the decline of Spain and the rise of England. Commemorative medals were struck with the inscription: “God blew and they were scattered!” and “Man proposes, God disposes.”
Before 1588, the world powers were Spain and Portugal. These Roman Catholic empires dominated the seas and the overseas possessions of Europe. Only after the English defeated the Spanish Armada did the possibility arise of Protestant missionaries crossing the seas. As the Dutch and British grew in military and naval strength, they were able to challenge the Catholic dominance of the seas and of the new continents. Foreign missions then became a distinct possibility.
Had the Armada succeeded, recent history would be unrecognizable. In the16th Century, Spain led the Catholic cause, England the Protestant. All of Europe feared Spain. It had defeated all its adversaries, even the Turks. The Catholic nations of Europe had every expectation that Spain would succeed in crushing Protestantism by conquering England and Holland. When the Armada failed, the mystique of Spanish invincibility was destroyed. With the defeat of Catholic Spain the Vatican cause floundered. In North America and South Africa were firmly established as Protestant nations.
Similarly, we should consider what would have happened had not Gustavus Adolphus and the Swedish army rallied to the support of Protestant Germany during the Thirty Years War? Gustavus Adolphus, the young King of Sweden, with his military innovations and dramatic victories in battle turned the tide in the Thirty Years War and saved Protestant Germany from annihilation at the hands of Catholic Austria. His timely intervention stopped the onward march and devastation caused by the Catholic League and the Austrian Empire. There is no doubt that Gustavus Adolphus and his Swedish soldiers helped changed the course of human history.
And if the English Puritans had not fought under Oliver Cromwell to establish the first parliamentary republic - then from where would the cause of freedom have received its first example of the Rule of Law, Lex Rex?
Oliver Cromwell was one of the greatest leaders ever to rule England. He was a dedicated Puritan, deeply and fervently committed to carrying out the will of God. He was relentless in battle, brilliant in organization, and with a genius for cavalry warfare. With a Psalm on his lips and a sword in his hand he led his Ironsides to victory after victory, first against the Royalists in England, then against the Catholics in Ireland, and finally against the rebellious Scots.
Oliver Cromwell pursued religious toleration which helped to stabilize the fragile country. His firm policy in support of beleaguered Protestants in Europe, and against Muslim pirates in the Mediterranean, was successful and established English supremacy of the seas.
Oliver Cromwell pioneered the New Model Army, created the world’s first global sea power, preserved the Common Law and laid foundations for both the Industrial Revolution and the British Empire.
The American War for Independence
Oliver Cromwell’s foundational work in establishing checks and balances for the Rule of Law triumphed in the United States of America. People inspired by his example instituted many of the same principles of government and restrictions of power in the USA as Cromwell had worked so hard to achieve in England. If the American colonists had not fought for the Rule of Law and a constitutionally limited republic, then there would have been no United States of America.
If Andreas Pretorius’s Wencommando had not made that Covenant with Almighty God and ridden out to confront Dingaan’s Impis in the Battle of Blood River in 1838, the history of Southern African would be unrecognizable.
Where would we be today but for the courage of Christian soldiers such as Lieutenant Chard’s men at the Battle of Rorkes Drift, 22 January 1879?
We should remember the courageous Boer commandos in the Battle of Majuba in 1881, Major Alan Wilson’s Shangani Patrol in the Matebele War of 1893, the courageous examples and achievements of General De La Rey, General Christiaan De Wet, General Jan Smuts and General Louis Botha during the Anglo-Boer War.
Distinguishing Between Just Defense and Unjust Aggression
Of course, in most wars, both sides shared the guilt and there have been many senseless and unnecessary wars in which neither side was at all concerned with righteousness.
Nevertheless freedom is never free, it has to be bought with sacrifice and suffering. “You have never lived until you have almost died, for those who fight for it; life has a flavor the protected will never know.”
God’s Strategy for Complacency
In Judges 3:1-2 we see God’s strategy for complacency. God’s strategy is to train His people through conflict. We need to be taught to trust God in battle, to be purged, purified and prepared as soldiers of Christ.
“The Lord is a man of war; the Lord is His Name. Pharaoh’s chariots and his army He has cast into the sea.” Exodus 15:3-4
When Joshua was preparing to attack Jericho he encountered a man standing opposite him with sword drawn. Joshua challenged him: “’Are you for us or for our adversaries?’ The Man with the drawn sword responded: ‘No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.’ And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to Him: ‘What does my Lord say to His servant?’ Then the Commander of the Lord’s Army said to Joshua, ‘take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.’ And Joshua did so.” (Joshua 5:13-15).
When Joshua met the pre-incarnate Christ, the Lord introduced Himself as the Commander in Chief. It was the Lord’s instructions that Joshua carried out so successfully in Chapter 6 to conquer the Canaanite stronghold of Jericho.
God directed Gideon to defeat the Mideanites and rescue Israel from their power. (Judges 6 and 7)
The Spirit of God led Saul and Israel to rescue the people of Jabesh-Gilead. (1 Samuel 11)
The Lord rescued Israel from the Philistines by the faith, courage and initiative of Prince Jonathan. (1 Samuel 14:6-23)
The Lord commanded Saul to utterly destroy the Amalakites. (1 Samuel 15:2-3).
The young shepherd boy, David, was enabled by the Lord to defeat the Philistine giant Goliath (1 Samuel 17:45-47)
David sought the Lord’s will and was guided to attack the Philistines. (2Samuel 5:19-20)
Deborah’s song of victory rebuked those who had failed to fight for freedom: “Why did you sit among the sheepfolds, to listen to the pipings for the flocks? The divisions of Reuben had great searchings of heart. Gilead stayed beyond the Jordan, and why did Dan remain on ships? Asher continued at the seashore, stayed by his inlets. Zebulan is a people who jeopardized their lives to the point of death, Naphtali also, on the heights of the battlefield. ‘Curse Meroz,’ said the Angel of the Lord, ‘curse its inhabitants bitterly, because they did not come to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty.’” Judges 5:16-23
When You Go to War
The Law of God plainly states: “When you go out to battle against your enemies and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the Lord your God is with you, who brought you up from the land of Egypt. So it shall be, when you are on the verge of battle that the chaplain shall approach and speak to the people. And he shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel: today you are on the verge of battle with your enemies. Do not let your heart faint, do not be afraid, and do not tremble or be terrified because of them; for the Lord your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.’” Deuteronomy 20:1-4
Many of the Psalms are prayers to God for guidance in war, or Hymns of thanksgiving to the Lord for victory in battle. “I will love you O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom, I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold, the pangs of death surrounded me, the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry came before Him, even to His ears. Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of the hills also quaked and were shaken, because He was angry, the Lord thundered from Heaven and the Most High uttered His voice, hailstones and coals of fire. He sent out His arrows and scattered the foe, lightings in abundance and He vanquished them. He sent from above, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, from those who hated me, for they were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my support, for by You I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall. As for my God, His way is perfect; the Word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. It is God who arms with His strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, and sets me on my high places. He teaches my hands to make war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your right hand has held me up. I have pursued my enemies and overtaken them; neither did I turn back again until they were destroyed. I have wounded them so that they could not rise; they have fallen under my feet. For You have armed me with strength for the battle; You have subdued under me those who rose up against me, the Lord lives! Blessed my Rock; let the God of my salvation be exalted. It is God who avenges me, and subdues the peoples under me; He delivers me from my enemies. You also lift me up against those who rise against me; You have delivered me from the violent man. Therefore I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the gentiles and sing praises to Your Name.” Psalm 18
Victory Comes from the Lord
In the Bible, wars were ordained as a means of restraining evil, judging wickedness, purging sin and purifying God’s people. When God’s people rebelled against His Law, then God allowed them to be defeated and enslaved or exiled by the Midianites, Philistines, Assyrians, Babylonians, Romans and others. “Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the Voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His Commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God, will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.” Deuteronomy 28:1, 7 (see also Leviticus 26:7-8and Joshua 1:5).
Defeat is a Consequence of Disobedience
“But if you do not obey Me, and do not observe all these Commandments, and if you despise My statutes, or if your soul abhors My judgments, so that you do not perform all My Commandments, but break My Covenants. I will set My face against you, and you shall be defeated by your enemies. Those who hate you shall reign over you, and you shall flee when no one pursues you.” Leviticus 26:14-17
The Scriptures reveal that God is a
God of war as well as a God of peace, because God is primarily a Holy God of justice.
“Execute judgment in the morning, and deliver him who is plundered out of the hand of the oppressor, lest My fury go forth like fire and burn so that no one can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.” Jeremiah 21:12
On various occasions God not only permitted war, but commanded it. In the Bible, military defense against aggressor nations is given the same status as capital punishment for murderers.
“When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous, but terror to evildoers.” Proverbs 21:15
Pacifism is Unbiblical
Pacifists claim that non-resistance and passive inactivity will break the cycle of violence. They say that refusal to defend one’s self will prevent war and that non-violence will result in peace. However, pacifism is an unbiblical position. Although being able to appeal to superficial arguments of conscience and quote the odd verse out of context; the whole spirit and thrust of pacifism is anti-Christian. Pacifists may be sincere, but they are sincerely wrong.
A Christian, by definition, must be active – with his or her sleeves rolled up, willing to get his hands dirty protecting the innocent, defending the defenseless and saving lives from unprovoked aggression. Christian love is not mere words and sentiments. True love shows itself in action (1 John3:18).
If all the people with a conscience refuse to fight, then it will leave the battlefields in the hands of men without a conscience.
A False Idea of Man
Pacifism finds its roots in humanism. Despite some impressive, but superficial, Christian pretensions, pacifism is humanism. In common with humanism, pacifism shares a false idea of man. It sees man as basically good. To the pacifist all people are just too good to kill. Neither rapists, nor murderers, nor terrorists deserved to be stopped, in the view of the pacifist. In contrast to this notion of the basic goodness of man, the Bible teaches us that: “Their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in their ways; the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Romans 3:15-18
A False Idea of God
Pacifism not only has a false idea of man, it also has a false idea of God. It fails to understand the holiness and justice of God. It ignores the wrath of Almighty God against sin. The pacifist seems to fail to understand the nature of God. Perhaps they see God as a pleasant, amoral softy, either too blind to see sinful man for what they are, or too gentle to actually punish evil. What kind of God would be unmoved by ruthless sadist, torturing Christians in concentration camps? Do you really think that God will not punish those who kill and cripple the innocent through car bombs, limpet mines and land mines? Do we really believe that God does not require us to stop murder; whether by abortion or arson, whether by muggers or Marxists?
Pacifists often display more concern for the aggressor than for the defender, more sympathy for the criminal than for his victim.
God is Not a Pacifist
However the Bible is clear. God, who is the Creator of all life, determines whether you live or die. God killed everyone on earth, except Noah, his family and the animals, in the Flood (Genesis 6). God killed every Egyptian firstborn as a judgment on Egypt in order to free His people on the night of Passover (Exodus 12:12, 29). God destroyed the Egyptian army in the Red Sea (Exodus 14). The Lord caused the earth to open up and to swallow Korah and his rebels (Numbers 16). God killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers who were attacking Jerusalem (2 Kings 19). God killed Ananias and Sapphira because of their lying (Acts 5:1-11), and King Herod because of his pride (Acts12:23). God continues to use: “My four severe judgments: the sword and famine and wild beasts and pestilence;” (Ezekiel 14:21) in order to lead sinful people to repent.
“Now see that I, even I, am He, and there is no god besides Me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; nor is there any who can deliver from My hand.” Deuteronomy 32:39
The Lord Jesus is Not a Pacifist
It is also clear from the Scriptures that our Lord Jesus Christ is not a pacifist. Our Lord may have been meek, but He was never mild! His teaching was powerful, dynamic, direct and uncompromising. This touch carpenter from Nazareth was able to survive 40 days fasting in the desert, and 40 lashes from the brutal Roman whip. He could walk hundreds of kilometers in the blazing heat of Palestine’s inhospitable terrain and he could walk through a murderous mob with such a presence that no one dared to stop Him (Luke4:28-30).
When our Lord Jesus saw how corrupt men were desecrating the temple, with their money grabbing greed, He made a whip, overturned their tables and drove them forcibly from God’s House. (Matthew 21:12-13)
When Jesus returns to this earth it will be as the conquering King of kings and Lord and lords. The Bible teaches that the first time Jesus came as a Savior, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. All who turn from sin and trust in Christ, following Him in obedience are saved.But, when Jesus comes again it will not be as a Lamb, but as a Lion, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. He will return as the Eternal Judge. And all who have not repented and obeyed will be condemned and eternally punished.
The Scripture warns us that when our Lord Jesus Christ returns to this earth, He will annihilate the forces of anti-Christ. We are told that rivers of blood will flow from the carnage of mankind’s rebellion against God (Revelation 14:19-20).
“Now I saw Heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He was clothed with a robe dripped in blood, and His Name is called the Word of God. And the armies in Heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. And out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations and He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the wine press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God, King of kings and Lord of lords.” Revelation 19:11-16
An Unrealistic View of Society
Pacifism also has an unrealistic view of society. The reality of this world is that it is a fallen world, inhabited by sinful mankind, in rebellion against the Creator. Idealistic fantasies about a world of peace and utopia without war are cruelly false and dangerously deceptive. In the Bible we are warned that those who cry: “Peace! Peace!” when there is no peace, are loathsome false prophets. (Jeremiah 6:14; 8:11) Our Lord Jesus Christ warned us that wars and revolutions would increase (Matthew 24:6, 7; Luke21:9-10). We are warned in the Scriptures that “When they say, ‘Peace and Safety!’ Then sudden destruction comes upon them.” 1 Thessalonians 5:3.
Peace seems to have become a modern idol. There is an irrational deifying of peace. This materialistic, self-centered age has made an idol out of peace at any price, which inevitably leads to tyranny and destruction, the peace of a graveyard.
Worse Than War
Some people have said that war is hell. But often peace has proved to be worse. More people died in the peace following the revolution in Cambodia than died in the entire war before it. 3 million Cambodians (40% of the population) were slaughtered by Pol Pot’s Marxist Khmer Rouge in the peace following 1975. In fact, many more people have been tortured, maimed and massacred in times of peace than in times of war during the 20th Century.
Have we become so soft, decadent and self-seeking that we are no longer willing to risk our lives for anything? Is nothing worth fighting for? Do you have nothing worth defending? Do we care so little about others that we are unwilling to risk anything for their protection? Are we so engrossed in computer games, Face Book and My Space that we can no longer tell the difference between right and wrong? Or don’t we even care?
A Heritage of Freedom
For many centuries Christians have believed that there were worse things than war. For our ancestors death in battle wasn’t the worst thing that could happen to them. An eternity in hell was. They did not fear death as much as they feared God. They realized that death for the Christian is not fatal. They declared their belief in eternal life. Principles were more important than personal safety. Duty, honor, country, family and God meant far more to them than selfish desires for peace and safety. And thank God for that, because the faith and freedoms that we enjoy today were won and preserved by their blood, sweat and sacrifices.
The wise Christian does not seek to selfishly avoid the problems of this world, but courageously steps out in faith to be part of the solution. We should recognize that sinful man needs to be restrained by laws and by force. Liberty needs to be defended. Our freedoms come through, and often need to be maintained by, hard fighting.
The Folly of Pacifism
If all Christians became pacifists, would all the Muslims, atheists and communists also become pacifists?
It should concern us that the anti-defense, ban the bomb, end conscription, draft dodgers and pacifists often demonstrate in London, Washington, Berlin and Cape Town, but seemingly never in Moscow, Havana, Tripoli, Tehran, Harare or Beijing.
It is useless for the sheep to pass resolutions in favor of vegetarianism –while the wolf remains of a different opinion.
The Bible declares: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Matthew 5:9
Note, it is not blessed are the pacifists. You have to make peace. It takes action. For those pacifists hoping for worldwide peace, listen to the words of our Lord Jesus Christ: “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.” Matthew 10:34
Much of the Bible is written by soldiers and for soldiers.
Joshua was a mighty man of God and a mighty soldier commanding the Israelite army in the battle against the Amalakites (Exodus 17) and in the conquest of the Promised Land.
King David was “a man after God’s own heart” and a writer of much of the Psalms, as well as a great soldier. Hence David was able to say: “Blessed be the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle -my loving kindness and my fortress, my high tower and my Deliverer, my shield and the One in whom I take refuge, who subdues the nations under me.” Psalm144:1-2
Abraham, the Father of the faithful, resorted to military action to rescue Lot from the four heathen kings (Genesis 14:11-16).
The four centurions (Roman officers) mentioned in the New Testament are all commended in one way or another (Luke 7:9; 23:47; Acts 19:2; 27:43). The centurion at Capernaum was praised for his faith. Cornelius and the Italian Regiment had the great honor of being the first gentiles to be baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ. Throughout the Bible, the work and calling of soldiers are frequently mentioned, yet never with any suggestion that it could be, in and of itself, dishonorable, or un-Christian.
John the Baptist, in answering the question from soldiers as to what they were to do, never suggested that they should leave the army; he replied: “Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages.” Luke 3:14 He told them how to be good soldiers.
The Christian life is often likened to many acceptable and honorable occupations, such as that of a farmer, athlete, worker, citizen, pilgrim and soldier. Many of the aspects of a soldier’s life, such as his spirit of self-sacrifice, discipline and loyalty are commended. “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please Him who enlisted him as a soldier.” 2 Timothy 2:3-4
Our Lord Jesus Christ declared: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay one’s life for his friends.” John 15:13 It is to those courageous soldiers who have been true to this teaching of Christ that we owe our thanks and gratitude this day.
God’s standing orders to all Christian soldiers remain “Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the Law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and you will have great success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:7-9
May God find us faithful to His Word and may we be prepared to defend the defenseless and to rescue the innocent. When we have to fight may God grant that we will be fast and accurate.