When you think of the images of God in Scripture, what comes to mind? We think of God as our Father; that is a beautiful picture of God. There are other images: Shepherd, Rock, Stronghold, Lion. Isaiah uses the image of a Mother with her children. One image we might not think a lot about, but should: God as a Soldier or Warrior. Any verses, any pictures come to mind? Exodus 15, ?the Lord is a Man of War?; Isaiah 42, ?the Lord will go forth like a Warrior?
This might surprise you, but the image of God as a Warrior is one of the dominant themes in the Bible. An Old Testament scholar, Tremper Longman, wrote a book entitled, ?God is a Warrior?. He traces that Warrior motif all the way from creation to the ultimate consummation. The very first Gospel promise in Genesis 3: 15 prophecies of a warrior, one who will come to conquer the Devil. The story of Exodus can be interpreted as God going up against the false gods of Egypt. God engages in war. The Egyptians worshipped the sun, the cattle, even the Nile River. God literally wipes out the Egyptian gods. When Joshua is preparing to go up against the city of Jericho, God appears to him. Some think the angel of the Lord was a pre-incarnate manifestation of Christ, a theophany. God lets Joshua know that He is a soldier. He has a sword and will fight for Israel. Think of the military motif that runs through the psalms. Even Psalm 2 is a picture of a global battlefield. The world is galvanizing against God and His anointed. Think of how Jesus is pictured in Revelation. Revelation 19, heaven opens, and Christ is seated on a White Horse; He will judge and make war. Verse 15 out of His mouth comes a sword. So, it is a dominant theme.
When we think of who we are, we are to reflect God as soldiers. This is a dominant image of Paul?s. When he writes to Timothy in Ephesians 6 he gives us a full graphic of a soldier, letting us know we are up against principalities and powers. He explains how, as a soldier, we can stand against the Devil, because we have been provided with armor. Also, we have weapons, the last of which he mentions is praying in the Spirit at all times with all-prayer. When contemplate the Christian life we ought to be constantly thinking about the fact that we are soldiers, serving our Captain. God Himself is a soldier; we are engaged in fighting a war.
Our country has always been considered to be a Christian nation, though that isn't possible. It has been molded and shaped by the Gospel. But our country is changing quickly. There is a massive shift taking place. Christians are being persecuted in ways they never have been, even 10 or 15 years ago. They say Christendom is dying in America. Although that might be discouraging, Christianity has always thrived within the context of persecution. It is the marvel of the Gospel! The gates of Hell will not prevail against the church. When Christians live comfortably, they often lose spiritually. We need to remind ourselves this is not the norm; Hebrews 11 gives us the norm, as a picture of the church suffering. If our Savior was rejected and despised, why do we think we won?t be? Jesus said we would: The world hated Me, it will hate you. I think the military motif will become more significant as we face more persecution. It reminds us we are engaged in warfare. This is a good reminder as we come together to use our weapon of prayer.
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