So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey— the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. Exodus 3:8 NIV
The Latinos have a saying. “Fuimos de Guatemala a Guate Peor.” The American equivalent is “We went from the frying pan into the fire.”
God calmly segues from milk and honey to swords and spears as though it is the most logical pairing of ideas since peaches and cream. While the Hebrews initially dealt with the thought of war through the classic spirit-of-slavery technique of denial, eventually they were face to face with the reality and decided the fire was less palatable than the frying pan, so they tried to jump back in.
The Hebrews were quite convinced that this war was beyond their capabilities. After all, they were farmers who got drafted to be brick makers. War was not in their DNA. They wanted to do a work around and not have to deal with such a scary subject.
God was quite sure that He was the God of War. Having whupped the devil when there was a rebellion in heaven, He had no fear at all of any trivial human ruckuses. He was quite sure that if the Hebrews would show up for the battle, He could do all the heavy lifting for them and let them enjoy the fruits of His nature.
That difference of opinion has persisted down through the years. So many people in SLG are afraid of doing personal ministry for themselves or others because they have failed a few times in the past. So they look for a champion, a Joshua, to lead the charge.
However, God did not want Joshua to be their mini-god. He wanted each tribe to learn to engage the Canaanites and all the other “-ites” through a process of repeated failure and progressive learning about war. He was quite minimally concerned about victory. He could have done that Himself. He wanted His people to know Him as the God of War. And there is no way for them to know that facet of the nature of God without going to war themselves and experiencing His presence and power.
Not much has changed today. Each of the great generals of the faith have had to walk a long road of failure, partial success, greater power and then high dominion. In the process, they have come to know their God as the God of War. The invitation still stands for us to enter the fray and learn about this side of God.
And the decision of most is to do a workaround instead, finding a way to sort of live at peace with the enemy instead of overcoming him.
I invite you to join me in a prayer of repentance for declining to pay the price to learn about this facet of God which is certainly worth celebrating.
Copyright September 2015 by Arthur Burk