“Now these are the nations that the Lord left, to test Israel by them, that is, all in Israel who had not experienced all the wars in Canaan. It was in order that the generations of the people of Israel might know war, to teach war to those who had not known it before. These are the nations: the five lords of the Philistines and all the Canaanites and the Sidonians and the Hivites who lived on Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal-hermon as far as Lebo-hamath. They were for the testing of Israel, to know whether Israel would obey the commandments of the Lord… So the people of Israel lived among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And their daughters they took to themselves for wives, and their own daughters they gave to their sons, and they served their gods. And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. They forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth.” Judges 3:1-7
“God equipped me with strength...
He made my feet like the feet of a deer
and set me secure on the heights.
He trains my hands for war,
so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
You have given me the shield of your salvation,
and your right hand supported me,
and your gentleness made me great.
You gave a wide place for my steps under me,
and my feet did not slip.
I pursued my enemies and overtook them,
and did not turn back till they were consumed…
For you equipped me with strength for the battle;
you made those who rise against me sink under me.” Psalm 18:32-37,39
There are obstacles, enemies, and sticky situations stipulated by our Good Teacher to train us for war in this world. We can ignore them, and dull our senses to their danger. We can meddle with and in them, and pollute ourselves to the point we weaken resolve against harm. Or we can equip ourselves to wage war, to learn their tactics and implement the Lord’s power and skill to overcome and vanquish all that opposes His holy ways. (Luke 18:18)
Our coddling culture teaches softness and sloth, reliance on safety over warfare. It takes a warrior mind to understand the viciousness of our opposition, and a warrior’s passion to stay vigilant against it. It is vital we recognize the lords in our midst, the foreign affections that vie for ours, the wiles of those who would turn us to the lesser gods of earth, and attempt to mollify us with empty living. Once we have identified our Philistines, we must fix them in our sights, clad ourselves in armor, take up shield and sword, and battle with divine strategy. (John 10:10; Ephesians 6:11-17; 1 Peter 5:8)
Is there insight, tactical equipment, or courage we lack? Ask, prepare, and act! Our Lord who trains and tests us supplies the skill and strength we need, and moves before and through us to subdue and consume.
“Blessed be the Lord, my rock,
who trains my hands for war,
and my fingers for battle;
he is my steadfast love and my fortress,
my stronghold and my deliverer,
my shield and he in whom I take refuge,
who subdues peoples under me.” 144:1-2