“Fight the Lord’s battles.”
October 10, 2012 1 Comment
Every generation has a tendency to assume the times in which they live are the most trying. Their wars are the most violent in history, their economic trials the worst ever, their circumstances the most dire and their call to action the most important. It is understandable, really — personal trials hit home. So, in a sense, we are correct in our assessment. Our world situation is the worst ever. We’re living it. But, we are also very wrong. The world has always been this way.
Since the fall of man (recorded in Genesis) the whole earth has existed under a curse. Our earthly trials are the natural consequences of a sin-sick world. And, Christians of every generation have struggled with both their versions of the “worst” situations in history and in trying to discern a reaction that is consistent with their Lord’s commands. Christians of this generation struggle with this, too.
How should a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ deal with a world that is engulfed in wars, violence, economic collapse and social upheaval? Looking back at how our brethren from previous generations have dealt with similar circumstances can be quite helpful.
In 1859 portions of Europe were engaged in war — which is not surprising since portions of Europe are almost always engaged in war. This particular war, the Second War of Italian Independence — involved the Kingdom of Sardinia, Austria, France, and the German states. And, it threatened to expand. Here is one preacher’s recommendation to his congregation on how to deal with the coming turmoil…
“Fight the Lord’s battles.” — 1 Samuel 18:17
We shall not take these words in their literal application, as coming from the lips of Saul, when he gave David his elder daughter, Merab, to wife; but shall accommodate the passage, and use it as an exhortation given to the church of Christ, and to every Soldier of Jesus: “Fight the Lord’s battles.”
If this exhortation be not found in the selfsame words, coming from the lips of Jesus, nevertheless the whole tenor of the Word of God is to the same effect — “Fight the Lord’s battles.”
At the present crisis, the minds of men are exceedingly agitated with direful prospects of a terrible struggle. We know not whereunto this matter may grow. The signs of the times are dark and direful. We fear that the vials of God’s wrath are about to be poured out, and that the earth will be deluged with blood. As long as there remains a hope, let us pray for peace, nay, even in the time of war let us still beseech the throne of God, crying, that he would “send us peace in our days.”
The war will be looked upon by different persons with different feelings. The Italian will consider, all through the controversy, his own country; the Sardinian will be looking continually to the progress or to the defeat of his own nation; while the German, having sympathy with his own race, will be continually anxious to understand the state of affairs. There is one power however, which is not represented in the congress and which seems to be silent, because the ears of men are deaf to aught that it hath to say To that power all our sympathies will be given, and our hearts will follow it with interest; and all through the war, the one question that we shall ask, will be “How will that kingdom prosper?
You all know to which kingdom I refer—it is the kingdom of Jesus Christ upon earth; that little one which is even at this time growing, and which is to become a thousand, which is to break in pieces all the monarchies of earth, and to seat itself upon their ruins, proclaiming universal liberty and peace, under the banner of Jesus Christ. I am sure that we shall think far more of the interests of religion than of anything else, and our prayer will be, “O Lord, do what thou wilt with the earthen pitchers of men’s monarchies, but let thy kingdom come, and let thy will be done on earth, even as it is in heaven!”
Fellow believers, do not let the kings of earthly kingdoms manipulate your allegiance to the King of kings for their own purposes. An earthly king will be quite content to use your love for Christ as a means to draw you into the service of the state. Do this, they will say, for “God and Country.” Yet, our Lord says, “You cannot serve two masters.”
The conflicts of earthly kingdoms are really not our affair. In the sermon referenced above, Spurgeon went on to say, “If tyrants fight, let them fight; let free men stand aloof.”
Oh, it is necessary for us to live within the borders of one earthly kingdom or another — for now. But never forget the Kingdom to which we really belong is not of this world. We owe our complete allegiance to THIS king and, according to Spurgeon, it is HIS battles we are to fight — and His battles are not the same as those of earthly kings.
Every generation of Christians will face a slightly different set of circumstances. But they all will face the same decision…
“And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” — Joshua 24:15