2005-07-18 - Holy War
Originally Published 2001-11-19
Exodus 17:16 The Lord has sworn; the Lord will have war against Amalek from generation to generation.
It seems kind of odd to write this, but the United States is at war. This is no small matter. War is all over the Bible, and thus there is much to learn about war from the Bible. The Hebrew distinguishes between two concepts in war. One is to the idea of fighting (mil-khaw-maw), and the other is the actual act of making war. For this, the Hebrew has two words, tsaw-baw and tseb-aw-aw. There are other words in the Greek and Hebrew that we could go into, but I am sure there is no reason to do so.
As I said above, war is all over the Bible, and there must be things we can learn about war from the Bible that will help us while we are at war. I have read and seen stories on the idiot box that tell of US troops using horses to go into battle. It is almost apocalyptic to remember that horses would have been the choice means of transportation to battle in Israel, even before Christ's time. But horses were not abundant, and in those times, breeding them was often prohibited.
If you have ever known someone in the military, I think you will agree with me that a battle cry is part of their character when things get tough. I have lifted weights with several military guys, and they can really let it out when they are "hitting the wall." It is funny, but Scripture even talks about battle cries. You can see this in 1 Samuel 17:20. But for the Christian, there is much more application than this.
Christian; you are at war, and were at war well before September 11, 2001. You are at war with sin. Sin is as destructive as a terrorist, even more so. Sin eats away at the conscience. Sin hits us below the belt. Sin hurts us where we are already hurting. If you follow Christ, you are (and have been) at war -- or you need to be. As David says, "Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins; let them not rule over me; then I shall be blameless, and I shall be acquitted of great transgression." Psalm 19:13 There is no hiding place from the war a Christian engages in. It is, for want of a better term, a holy war. If you have been in this Christian war for any time, you know one thing: you need Christ to win. Christ is the perfect air strike on sin. Christ doesn't miss. This is why the wise Christian runs, flees and turns only to Christ. He is all the Christian has to lean on in this war. We have His Word, but He must guide us to understand it correctly. We need Christ, and Christ alone, to win our war with sin. Many years ago, there was a great Latin phrase that should be taken up today, Solus Christus. It means "Christ alone," and today we need this to be our war cry. Christ alone, and with Christ, we stand a chance of winning the battle against sin.
Soli Deo Gloria,