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Sunday: The Majestic Warrior — 12 Comments

  1. Some of David's Psalms irritate our ears because so much of the language is warlike. We need to remind ourselves that David grew up as a shepherd and it wasn't just a case of stopping sheep and lambs from running away or falling into a creek. He had to defend them against predators. He was a skilled slingshot operator and he did not use that to just frighten the bears and lions away. The fact that he knocked Goliath over with one shot was not luck. He graduated from shepherding into guerilla warfare and became popular with the people, and unpopular with King Saul as a consequence. Suddenly he found himself fighting two wars; one against the Philistines and their mates, and the other against Saul, who by this time was family and insanely jealous of David's popularity.

    So when we read the Psalms of David we are not reading the thoughts of a Seventh-day Adventist, 21st-century theologian touched with the influence of pacifism. We are reading the thoughts of a warrior-king. He sees victory in terms of vanquished foes who have been put to the sword.

    There is enough evidence to suggest that the real message of the Warrior Psalms is not really about killing people but killing injustice, mistreatment, oppression, and other evils. And while we know that ultimately God will put things right, that also leaves us with the resoonsiblity to put things to rights that are within our horizon of influence.

    • Thank you Maurice for the insight. And David did not use his skills in oppressing the poor and weak. But can only attest to God who is more mightier than him to take revenge on their behalf.

  2. "Warrior" sounds a lot like "worrier".....

    so with God as our Warrior, we don't have to be a worrier...

    OK, but honestly I am uncomfortable with the period of history where Israel was an agent of God's judgment on Canaan. People killing people in God's name is not the way He commands us now. Jesus even put an ear back on an evildoer in the Garden of Gethsemane, and He told Peter to put up His sword. No violence.

    So I have decided to look back at some of the stories of the conquest of Canaan... hoping it won't be like watching a cat eat a squealing mouse....

    (1) Jehoshaphat's army against Syria was told by God to march forward with singers at the front praising God. The enemy armies attacked and killed each other...when Judah got there to fight there were dead bodies already lying all around. (2 Chron. 20:17,22-25)

    (2) Joshua led the people around the walls of Jericho for 7 days, with the Ark of the Covenant in the lead. And on the 7th day, when the horn sounded and the people shouted, the walls fell down, everyone in the city died except Rahab and her family (Joshua 6:1-27). [Josh. 6:21 says the Israelites killed everyone with the edge of the sword ... I was hoping the falling walls killed everyone....]

    (3) Battle against the Amorite kings - God sent a hailstorm and made the sun stand still (Josh. 10:8-14). Look at vs. 11 "they were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword" and vs. 14 "for the Lord fought for Israel"....

    (4) Deborah and Barak went against a king of Canaan and God "discomfited" the Captain of the host so that he killed himself (Judges 4:15-16)

    (5) God whittled Gideon's army down to 300 men. When they blew trumpets and let their lights shine, the enemy army fled... (Judges 7:19-23).

    (6) David went up against Goliath and killed him with one stone to the forehead. David cut off Goliath's head, but he was already dead. (1 Sam.17:50-51).

    A pattern I'm seeing here is that God really was the Warrior in all of these situations. His people participated in these judgments of death, but these fights were clearly mismatched. And often God did all the killing without the Israelites use of a sword at all. There is no way the Israelites would have been the victors without supernatural interventions. Armies running away and ambushing themselves, walls falling down, a giant staggering and falling down before a teen boy, hailstorms killing people, oh remember Pharaoh's army getting stuck and drowned in the Red Sea,.....God wanted His people to participate with Him in fighting the battle, but the battle was clearly God's, not theirs.

    I think that's what today's lesson is about....the battle is the Lord's.... we can trust His merciful judgment for all people..... He just wants us to strap on the armor of God and stand with Him, be obedient to whatever He tells us to do. God sent home Gideon's soldiers who were afraid or uncommitted. During His earthly ministry, Jesus said, “Do not be afraid, only believe” (Mark 5:36). God can't be our Warrior if we are a worrier. In this story in Mark's gospel, Jesus kicked the worriers (many who were paid to worry, no less!) out of the 12-year-old's room so that he could do His Warrior work against death and raise Jairus's daughter back to life (Mark 5:39-42).

    We see that the battle for each of us is not against other people, but against our own lack of faith and fears. God meets out final judgment on people, that's not for us (Heb. 9:27-28 ESV). We are to work out our own walk with God with reverence for the whole process and God's omnipotence, and trembling...the psalm says "rejoice with trembling" (Phil. 2:12-13 ESV; Psalm 2:11).

    • Along those lines Esther, whenever the psalmist is asking The Lord to save him from his enemies…who really are his enemies or my enemies? Jesus said to fear not him who can kill the body but not the soul. That includes Satan. Our only real enemies that can keep us from being saved reside in our own hearts. Pride, love of the world, lack of faith, lack of love, impatience, lust, unkindness, selfishness, vanity, love of money, any and all sin, and the list goes on. So now when I read where the psalmist is pleading with The Lord to save him from his enemies, I am praying with him that Jesus will save me from all of the enemies that reside within me.

        • Yes Stephen, or also maybe we could say that it's when the enemy inside (prideful and disobedient thoughts which put anyone or anything above Jesus/God) resonates with the enemy outside (Satan and worldly allures) that we fall into sin.

          So, as it says in James 1:14-15 "but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death." That's the enemy inside. Our own evil desires. Eve was "dragged away" into a conversation with the serpent because there was a longing in her heart to eat the forbidden fruit. She had begun to place a higher value upon attaining wisdom and trying something sensual and beautiful than the value of her intimate, pure relationship with God.

          The evil desire in the human heart turns to sin when it is enticed, or finds resonance with, the temptations that Satan and his demons present us with on the outside. Satan offered Eve the fruit of her mental desire. He was there with the visuals to encourage her straying heart. Just like a married spouse does not cheat because they meet someone, but because they are already straying in their heart first. And Satan is quick to put the opportunity there. Eph. 6:12 tells us "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." And Peter warns us in 1 Peter 5:8 to "Stay sober, stay alert! Your enemy, the Adversary, stalks about like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." We see Satan stalking Jesus in the wilderness, but Jesus did not fall because there was no inner resonance with the external temptations.

          • Well articulated esther am blessed to have come through the word on this platform, just to add on "Therefore put to death the sinful, earthly desires lurking within you, have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity,lust and evil desires. Do not be gready, for a gready person is an idolatry worshipping the things of this world." Colossians 3:5

  3. Reading the 3rd verse of Psalm 18 – “I will call upon the LORD who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies - tells me all I need to know about 'from hence my help comes', and how to understand the 'strength' operative in my life.

    Every day and all day long I will ‘call upon the LORD’, all day long I will praise Him because He is worthy to be praised! If I do not seek to stand in His presence during times of calm, how can I expect to stand when I am facing trials and tribulations? 1 Peter 5:8-10.

    Eph.6:12 - ”For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

    Eph.6:10-18 - Are we girded using the full armor of God? Do we recognize and accept this truth that the real battle takes place in the spiritual realm? Can we say that we are resolved to always stay prepared and ready to use the spiritual weapons God provided for us?

    I consider the question at the end of the lesson to be very important, one which we need to take to heart. Do we relate to and speak of our success as ‘I have done such and such’, or ‘because of my involvement this and that was able to be accomplished?’

    To help keep the heart and mind from being deceived, it is good to always remember 'Who's strength is operative in our life -where our strength comes from' – ‘For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Eph.2:10.
    To have resolved, to have decided to be faithful and love God with all our heart will establish the spiritual victory in our lives.

  4. Everything I own belongs to God, Who gives me life to work and acquire things. Without the breath of life, what is a trillion dollars worth? How can I intake food and energy without breathing even to feel pleasure? God gives us all we need. We must trust Him.

    • We need to be careful on which side we will be when God arise ,His mission is two ;to deal with the oppressor and help the oppressed,which side will you be?.


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