He teacheth our hands to war. Psalm 144:1
That is an unlikely statement to hear from a modern day Christian, isn’t it? Christians are supposed to “make love, not war.” At least that is what the social terrorists of the 1970’s told us. “Love the sinner but hate the sin” is another one of those popular Christian phrases that sit on the tongue of most American Christians.
Except,” love the sinner and hate the sin” is found nowhere in the Christian Bible. I think it was non-Christian Gandhi who planted that thought in the minds of American church-goers. Today, it is almost gospel as Americans are prone to following sloganeering.
So Gandhi evangelized the Evangelicals, and planted almost-truth in the minds of the followers of Christ. The “make love not war” mantra came from the gospel of Dr. Timothy Leary who was nearly messianic in his promotion of free love, LSD, and tuning in, turning on, and dropping out. He was the prophet to an entire generation of hippies who successfully turned America’s Christian morality on its head.
But who was this “teach my hands to war guy?” It certainly couldn’t have been a Christ follower. Christians don’t fight and they certainly don’t engage in war…unless you are referring to the other-worldly spiritual war spoken of in the New Testament. Certainly no Bible believer would ever be for the promotion of war. That’s just not very Christian.
So who was the rascal that asked THE LORD to teach his hands to war? It was David the Shepherd boy. The young dude who the Bible tells us was a “man after God’s own heart.” Yes, that David, the giant slayer, the writer of the Psalms, the one who the Bible tells us “slew his ten thousands.”
But in all fairness, I guess David wasn’t really a Christian. He was one of those Old Testament barbarians. If only he had been alive AFTER the arrival of Jesus I am sure he would have been much less pugilistic in his serving of His King.
I wonder if King David ever met Timothy Leary of Gandhi. I would love to have been a witness to that conversation.
Here is the conundrum that the average American Christian currently struggles with. What is the true nature of God. Is He the sulpher-throwing ghoul of Sodom and Gomorrah or is He a Mr. Rodgers clone who is happy and content just to be your neighbor?
I’d say it is past time that we figured it out.
We live in an inner connected world where the God of love and the God of wrath are embodied in the same Godhead. God is full of mercy and judgment, love and hate, war and peace. Not in a schizo sort of way, but in a fullness of the being sort of way. He is King of both the natural world and the spiritual world. He operates in both. He is King of both. He is Lord over Heaven and Earth.
Look, my friends, God is a Spirit who is active in both the physical and spiritual dimensions. We humans dwell in the physical realm. The battles that we fight are IN this natural world. But forces OUTSIDE the physical world impact what happens here. To use “hands” to fight a spiritual war is no more foolhardy than to use ONLY prayer to fight in the physical realm. It takes both. Prayer empowers and guides our hands.
The battle over good and evil rages in the spiritual realm, but its impact is felt in the physical world. That is why we were told that “faith without works is dead.” The physical world is where the answers to our prayers show up.
If our battle was only against spiritual forces why would David ask God to teach his HANDS to war? Aren’t your hands part of the physical body? Would you like to fight a physical war with untrained hands? If the war is ONLY spiritual why would you even need hands?
For far too long Christians have only used spiritual weapons in this fight. If prayer was all that was required why didn’t Jesus simply remain in the garden and pray? He prayed and He went. He put hands and feet to His prayers. God so loved the world that HE DID something.
We find ourselves today at the most significant spiritual point in American history. What the church DOES today HERE ON EARTH will echo throughout the halls of the doomed and the damned. We must do more than pray.
Prayer alone will not end abortion. Prayer alone will not end the opiate scourge. Prayer alone will not restore marriages. Prayer alone will not restore justice to our land. Prayer alone will not train our children in righteousness. Prayer alone will not move the heart of God.
None us know what the future holds. None of us know if we will even be here next year.
But we do know this. Uncut grass will soon be weeds. Ungreased engines are sure to lock up. Unfed animals are sure to die. Undefended liberty will soon be lost.
It is imperative that we put feet to our faith. Did you know that nearly 40% of Evangelicals didn’t even vote in 2016? Are they expecting Jesus to vote in their place? Are they praying for Jesus to stuff the ballot box? How can their vote count if they don’t march to the polls?
The American church is IN a war but we are not AT war. Our shield of faith has become nothing more than a pin cushion to absorb the fiery dates of our enemy. It is time for God’s people to return fire.
Free speech is under assault, religious liberty is being bombarded, marriage is perishing without a whimper, and the right to bear arms is in their sights. Prayer alone will not stop the assault on America. If we were really at war wouldn’t there be some casualties on the other side?
David knew how to pray but he wasn’t sure how to fight. He knew his prayer-life could only take him so far. Let David’s prayer be our prayer. Our nation is at stake.
Lord, teach our hands to war!!