Who Trains My Hands for Battle

Today's devotion from Psalms 144 and 145.

I'm afraid our culture has a mistaken impression of God and our faith. In many ways, it seems as if those with little to no understanding of our faith somehow believe that God is some mildly benevolent if not moderately impotent being that is, in many ways, an eternal wimp. They seem to have limited God's characteristics to those traits that do not offend their modern sensibilities. God loves, but would never judge. God coddles, but never disciplines. God turns a blind eye to their transgressions, but strongly disapproves of those committed by their social/cultural/political counterparts. In their estimation, God is mild, passive, and weak.

David describes God as the One who trained him for war. This is a man who faced battle, not from a safe distance in a bunker. David felt the heat of battle rage around him. He smelled the bitter mixture of bile, sweat, and blood. David fought in the lines with swords and shields as men faced one another in combat. Many of these battles occurred in defense of wives and children encamped a short distance away from the skirmish. In fact, David felt the terror of realizing the innocent had been swept away.

Our culture has sterilized our faith. It is now clean and tidy. The sharp edges have been padded for the protection of our comfort and conscience. We take the attributes of God that we like and place them on signs and placards. We wear trite sayings on t-shirts and bumper stickers. Our culture has adopted this soft view of God because so many of our churches have forgotten that ours is a God who's very word, "is living and effective and sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as to divide soul, spirit, joints, and marrow; it is a judge of the ideas and thoughts of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12, CSB)

We have forgotten that Paul was led by the Spirit to equip us for spiritual warfare and that those first members of Christ's glorious church paid for their faith with their very lives. Ours is not a tame religion, but a call to radical living. We denounce the comforts and niceties of this world because we live in the certain knowledge of a Kingdom that is to come. We stand in Christ to struggle against sin and to carry the gospel banner forth as light warring against the darkness to illumine the truth for those around us.

Make no mistake. We may not be called to physical skirmishes, but we still need to seek the God who trains our hands for battle.