“…and many others fell slain, because the battle was God’s.” I Chronicles 5:22a (NIV)
I don’t intend to take small phrases out of context and “spiritualize” them, making of them something God didn’t purpose. But this whole story of the Reubenites and others battling the Hagrites indicates this battle was God’s and that’s why the 44,760 men won, not because they were able bodied and could handle shield and sword better than the enemy. And Gideon won his battle with such a few men because that battle, too, was God’s, not Gideon’s.
Once, when several of us on a pastor search committee were becoming very discouraged because of unusual obstacles thrown into our path, one wise member reminded us gently that “the battle is God’s.” It certainly took the heat off of the conflict on that particular day to know that we alone were not the ones to make the decision.
Since then, I have often been reminded when a “battle” rages between good and evil, or gray and white, that, indeed, “the battle is God’s.”
But, back to that battle in I Chronicles…those men did wield the shield and sword as they were told, didn’t they? They followed instructions, they did what they were trained to do. So ours is not to turn aside from conflict (which is a part of life I distinctly dislike!), nor to shirk our duty saying flippantly that “it’s up to the Lord.” No, we’re to do our part which may mean getting into some pretty sticky situations, speaking up when we’d far rather keep quiet, or staying silent when we’d love to speak up. And it means a lot of praying. Because how can we follow the battle plan if we don’t know what it is?
When I watch my grandchildren, William, Thomas and Mattie, playing basketball, I’m so proud of their understanding and execution of their coaches’ instructions. William is playing on the 9th grade team at his school in Birmingham and doing so well. Often, I think, it’s total concentration to instructions, as much as skill, that earns a player a “well done,” the thrill of achieving a three-pointer or blocking one from the other side. Each player has to trust that his coach has a plan and that “the battle is his.”
Are we in battle mode right now? For the right as we see it in our country? For the good of our children? For the world to hear of the Saviour? To keep a clean neighborhood? To make our schools safe? To protect everyone and give honor where honor is due, including respecting the Blue? For freedom of speech? And religion? And even in private battles, such as losing our Christmas fat or prioritizing our schedules?
Be ready to handle your shield and sword (or pen, or voice, or chocolate cake!) with confidence in His battle plan.
Almighty Commander in Chief, I trust You with the battles in my life. Please help me to be prepared for whatever is to come.