Praise of The Warriors
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Praise of The Warriors
Praise of The Warriors
Text: Exodus 15:1-21
One of the historical books of the bible is called the book of Exodus, the book that shows in detail, albeit concisely how God’s people left the land of captivity, the land of Egypt, shall be used in shedding light on this topic. I shall define some key words of the topic as well as drawing up water from the well of history so that we shall not be caught wanting while bringing this topic close to us. I have used the spiritual knife to cut this topic into sections to facilitate our easy grasp.
Praise is defined as words that show approval of or admiration of somebody or something. Another definition given to praise is that it is the expression of worship to God.
The other word that I think we need to define is warrior. Warrior is a person who fights in a battle or war.
Having seen these definitions, we shall have to answer a question, when do the warriors offer the songs of praise?
b) When Do The Warriors Offer Songs of Praise? It is important that we know the time that warriors, physical warriors of old do sing or utter their words of praises.
I) Warriors do not utter words of praises before they go to the battle front. Ancient warriors know that home is a place of rest and no one could be talking neither praising anything except a victory has been wrought. Uriah in the book of second Samuel 11 refused to enter unto his wife when king David asked him to enter his house unto his wife. He knows that home is for rest and why shall he seek rest when others were at the battle front? He thence refused to enter to his wife, he sought not rest.
“And David sent to Joab, saying, Send me Uriah the Hittite. And Joab sent Uriah to David.
“And when Uriah was come unto him, David demanded of him how Joab did, and how the people did, and how the war prospered.
“And David said to Uriah, Go down to thy house, and wash thy feet. And Uriah departed out of the king's house, and there followed him a mess of meat from the king.
“But Uriah slept at the door of the king's house with all the servants of his lord, and went not down to his house.
“And when they had told David, saying, Uriah went not down unto his house, David said unto Uriah, Camest thou not from thy journey? why then didst thou not go down unto thine house?
“And Uriah said unto David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing”. (2 Sam. 11: 6-11)
If peradventure warriors’ utter words of praise at home, a place of rest, he is uttering that in remembrance of the past, of what has happened before of the miracles God did before, of how he was saved and delivered when he has lost hope and was in the hands of the enemies. He is in this wise showing appreciation for what has been done but not for the war he was about to go to. He can through this word show his confidence in the Lord that as he did before he shall do same or more when he goes for the next trip. But this utterance does not mean he would be saved there, because God does as he pleases in the kingdom of men.
II) They do not utter words of praises at the battle front: uttering words of praises at the battle front is like getting one involved with what is not necessary at that point in time which will obviously have a devastating effect on the armies. This is because their focus would be shifted at that time and when one loses focus, it is sure that making progress would be difficult, in other words the person will lose because the enemies would attack when not expected and would focus the entrance, they have not properly blocked. Think about sports men and women during the time of competition, if a sprinter started raising his hands up in wild jubilation before crossing the line, he may by that lose the race because someone who has been closing on him may overtake him to breast the line. Another example is a wrestler who though has been having upper hand on his opponent, if this wrestler instead of focusing and ensuring that the referee and other umpires declare him winner before declaring himself a winner, this man’s actions would distract him, and he will lose the game.
“No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” (2 Tim. 2:4)
From the examples above we shall see that when a warrior started to rejoice before the battle is officially declared won or lost, the seemingly war that those warriors thought that they have been winning may eventually be lost at that point in time.
III) Words of Praise Are Uttered When The Battle is Over: It is when the battle is over, and the warriors are victorious that is when they utter words of praises. But when the battle is fierce, they will not sing a song of praises.
These points are based on logical view not the ones presented by the Holy Spirit, instructing the warriors that they should be at ease on the war that they shall win the war, and those warriors decided that they need to do something to show their appreciation unto God by singing songs of praises unto him like the one that happened centuries back that was documented in the book of second Chronicles 20.
“Then upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, came the Spirit of the LORD in the midst of the congregation;
“And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's.
“To morrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel.
“Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you.
“And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the LORD, worshipping the LORD.
“And the Levites, of the children of the Kohathites, and of the children of the Korhites, stood up to praise the LORD God of Israel with a loud voice on high.
“And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.
“And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth for ever.
“And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.
“For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy another.” (2 Chron. 20: 14-23)
This expatiation and explanation are essentially based on the book under focus.
c) Levels of Songs of Praises: There are about 4 levels that I shall like to point us to.
Level 1: The zero level. At this level there would be no uttering or singing any songs of praises. This stage usually happens when battle has been lost. During the time of high priest Eli, the warriors of Israel went to battle with the people of Philistines, they perhaps thought all have been set and they will win the battle they were however kept aback when they lost the battle. When this battle was lost one of the wives of the sons of priest Eli said, “the glory is departed from Israel”. This shows the position of her heart as well as the people of the land, they were devastated.
“And about the time of her death the women that stood by her said unto her, Fear not; for thou hast born a son. But she answered not, neither did she regard it.
“And she named the child Ichabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel: because the ark of God was taken, and because of her father in law and her husband.
“And she said, The glory is departed from Israel: for the ark of God is taken.” (1 Sam. 4:20-22).
It is the time of silence, sober reflection, sorrow of what has happened.
Another example was when the children of Israel were beaten before Ai, a small country, that they thought would be a walk-over for them. When this small country beat them flat, their minds of praises became silenced, they could not utter words of praises to God.
“And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water.
“And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the LORD until the eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads.” (Josh. 7: 5-6)
Level 2: Half-praises: this stage is experienced when the leader or one of their strong warriors died in the battle front. The battle though may be won, but because of the strong man who has died in the battle, the people would not be able to sing praises to God.
On the other hand, this could happen when the enemies attack their base without knowing or when they have left for the battle front. An example of this happened during the time of David when he was sojourning in Philistine land, he wanted to follow the Philistine warriors to fight his country but those people did not agree with him and asked him to return to where he lives, which is Ziklag on getting to Ziklag what he discovered surprised him, for where he lives has been invaded by the enemies and they have plundered the place.
“And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.” (1 Sam. 30:6).
The people could not sing a song of praise that day that “thank God we did not go to the battle field” because of what happened. Their minds were heavy and full of sorrow.
What happened Jephthah can also be classified under this. Jephthah though won the war, but the vow he made with God made the joy he had not to be completely full when he got back into his country.
“And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the LORD, and I cannot go back.” (Judg. 11:35)
Jephthah’s case should teach all those who are in the habit of making vow some lessons. May I say this before I continue that, in the new testament, we hardly could find a place where people made vow to prompt God to answer their prayers. After apostle James was beheaded and the leader of the apostle, Peter was arrested by king Herod, who was planning to kill him, the bible says the church (or disciples) gathered together to pray for his release. They knew they were in dire position and the gospel would be affected if he was not freed, yet they believed whatever they ask in the name of Jesus as he has told them before his death and ascension that it would be granted. They believed this and it works for them. Today, many have been made to belief that unless they make a vow, their prayers would not be answered. That is not what Jesus said, neither did any of the apostles said that too in their epistles to us all. After all, they all lived in the world that we are living in, some of them also passed through difficult times during their days as we are passing through it now, some of them, disciples, would have delay in marriage, in giving birth to children, challenges with their health and other things as we are also experiencing today, but they did not enter into any vow as if to push God into some of actions that he does not want to do before.
“Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.
“For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick.
“For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.” (Phil. 2:25-27)
Here in we see that a believer and one of the staunch followers of one of the greatest apostles in the bible, Epaphroditus took ill and he almost die in that sickness. Was it faith that apostle Paul was lacking or the gifts of healing? Someone whom Physician Luke recorded that “and God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: so that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.” (Acts 19:11-12) can anyone say he does not have faith? Can anyone say he does not have the grace to perform signs and wonders? Yet, under his watch, this man took ill and the sickness grew from being ordinary one to being severe one, until they probably have lost hope on him that he will survive the sickness. This means after they have tried all they could, they have prayed and fasted and do all that they know they could do, but the man’s sickness did not leave. Another thing of note in this account of Apostle Paul is that it was not as if he was living in another town, while Epaphroditus was living in another town, such that people will say, assuming he was in the same town with him, such would not have happened, but they were living in the same town and probably in the same house, because then they used to put up at one of the brethren’s houses, they do not have buildings for themselves. Why did he not say, after they have made vow on the behalf of the sick brother, the sickness fled, and he was healed? He did not say that, because they exercise simple faith in the word of God and the bible, believing that when they are alive, they are alive for the Lord and when they are dead, that is even wonderful because they will go and be with the Lord, where there would be neither suffering nor anguish again, they will be resting at his bosom.
Apostle Paul wrote this to show us that, what we are passing through now, those myriads of challenges or problems that some of us are passing through, they also passed through the same despite being believers, full of faith and anointing.
“Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” (1 Cor.10:11)
We also need to be as they were, they believed the Word of Jesus, relied on it without wavering. If we shall also be true followers of Jesus Christ, we also need to believe the bible, believe the word in there and it shall be well with us. What the bible says which we should believe in is that “If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it”. (John 14:14) and “and all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (Matt. 21:22). We should let these spoken words of Jesus be suffice for us.
If you and I can believe someone whom we do not see physically, why can’t we believe him on this aspect of our lives? Why allow someone to tell you that “until you make a vow of something difficult for you to pay up, before God answers you” that is when God will answer. From whence does the person sees his definition of ways of God answering prayers? Is it human reasoning or from the bible? Is it from past experiences or what? We are told to leave being baby, children in faith to maturity.
“For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
“For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
“But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Heb. 5:12-14)
“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God” (Heb. 6:1)
This is not to say if you make vow, you are going to hell fire nor that vow is outrightly not scriptural, but what I am saying is we should know how we shall be making our vows, we should not make irrational and senseless vows like Jephthah did that sour his victory, his joy. Again, what I am saying is you do not need a vow to push God into any forms of action, in this new testament faith in Jesus Christ. God has given us what will push him into action through his Only Begotten Son and what he gives us that will spur him to act on that thing is our asking in Jesus name and a complete faith in what we have asked that it will be done.
Sometimes the joy we have fall into this category in life because when we are appreciating and praising God for what he has done for us on a particular matter and on seeing a brother or sister in faith who ought to join us in rejoicing, passing through troubles we would not be able to express such fullness of joy again because of the Christian brother or sister.
The bible says, “rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” (Rom. 12:15). Apostle Paul wants us to partake of what our brethren are passing through to show that we are indeed members of the same body, Christ Jesus.
Now in the case a member of Christ’s body is passing through difficult times, to show that we are concerned as apostle Paul stated here we shall have to suspend our joy and partake of their sufferings or difficulties so that they will feel belonged, they will know there are brethren who still care for them, they will be carried along and would not think people, brethren are not mindful of them and their positions.
On another note, it may not even be Christian brother or sister that such would happen to, it may be one of our family members. Consider a father who has been on sick bed for a while and who got well but on getting home from the hospital he discovered that one of his children is also sick. The joy of him regaining his health will not be full because of the recent development.
Level 3: Joy at the Battle Field: this kind of joy happens at the battle front can be divided into two namely instantaneous joy and real joy.
Instantaneous joy: this kind of joy happens when the warriors discovered that they have won the battle, when the archenemy has been defeated or killed, they will all shout for joy immediately. This immediate joy will be associated with the immediate songs of praises, but this praise will not last long, because there are grounds yet to be covered.
An example of this was seen in the account of what happened between Israel warriors and Goliath. When Goliath fell from the stone of David the warriors shouted and lept up for joy, but it was clear from the account that followed that they still have grounds to cover, they still must go into the camp of their enemies and overpower them. This is akin to what Jesus done on the cross of Calvary for all believers. He has crushed the serpent’s head, he has defeated the devil, who is like Goliath, but despite this defeat, individual believer still has a part to play in seeing that the devil is silenced and put to shame in his or her life, family, business, academics etal.
We must use what God has given us, we must use the name of Jesus to tell it to the devil that he should get lost, we must use the name of Jesus to tell it to the devil that he has no place in our lives again.
Real Joy: the other type of joy in this level is what I called the real type of joy. This kind of joy will be associated with full praise. This happens after they have overcome their enemies, this kind of praise happens when they discovered that they have gotten total victory, they are gathering the spoils of war.
“Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (Psa. 16:11)
Level 4: Song of Praise For Those Who Have Finished Their Course: this type of songs of praise is sung by old people, people with grey hairs as well as those who have gotten to the tail end of their journey on earth and they are sure of what lies ahead of them, they are sure of where they are going. This kind of praises cannot be sung by babies or starters in faith, those who are just beginning the race.
“The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.” (Prov. 16:31)
“The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the gray head.” (Prov. 20:29)
“Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD.” (Lev. 19:32)
They have gone through different things in the world and they are now grateful that despite all their lives have been protected. In the same vein is it for those come to the end of their race in faith.
“Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.” (2 Pet. 1:14)
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7)
d) Those Who Can Become Warriors: in the land of Israel those days the people who can be enlisted in the army of the land would be18 years and above; males and they must not be bastards. The general in the army would be afraid of enlisting bastards into the army of Israel because they know that they may connive with their enemies to wage war against them. They may leak their secrets to their enemies (1 Sam. 29; Judges 11)
“And the princes of the Philistines were wroth with him; and the princes of the Philistines said unto him, Make this fellow return, that he may go again to his place which thou hast appointed him, and let him not go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he be an adversary to us: for wherewith should he reconcile himself unto his master? should it not be with the heads of these men?” (1 Sam. 29:4)
Jephthah initially could not be enlisted among the soldiers of Israel because he was considered a bastard, a potential danger to them.
“Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour, and he was the son of an harlot: and Gilead begat Jephthah.
“And Gilead's wife bare him sons; and his wife's sons grew up, and they thrust out Jephthah, and said unto him, Thou shalt not inherit in our father's house; for thou art the son of a strange woman.
“Then Jephthah fled from his brethren, and dwelt in the land of Tob: and there were gathered vain men to Jephthah, and went out with him.” (Jdg. 11:1-3)
e) Israel’s History: People all over the world know that the account that we are using for this is dated back to thousands of years ago. Then, there have not been things like technology, internet and other things that we have around today. The commonest works of people then are warrior, hunting, farming and cattle rearing. The Israelites were mainly cattle rearers, in fact, when they got to the land of Egypt through Joseph their kinsman and king Pharaoh asked them what work they were doing, they told him that they were cattle rearers.
“And the men are shepherds, for their trade hath been to feed cattle; and they have brought their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have.
“And it shall come to pass, when Pharaoh shall call you, and shall say, What is your occupation?
“That ye shall say, Thy servants' trade hath been about cattle from our youth even until now, both we, and also our fathers: that ye may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians.” (Gen. 46:32-34)
The major work of the Israelis then was cattle rearing.
However, as they tended cattle, they were also undergoing trainings as warriors, because that was what father Abraham did (and we also know that Israel too had warriors) (Gen. 14:14).
“And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.” (Gen. 14:14)
The training to become warriors may have reduced when they got to the land of Egypt because they do not have the need to protect the boundaries. There are people assigned by the ruler of the land to oversee the territories of the country, the citizens of Egypt and all they were told to do was to oversee the king’s cattle. (Gen. 47:6; Ex. 5:8)
“The land of Egypt is before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and brethren to dwell; in the land of Goshen let them dwell: and if thou knowest any men of activity among them, then make them rulers over my cattle.” (Gen. 47:6)
Another probable reason why their training to be warriors may have been reduced was that they will want to satisfy the king, they will not want to do the work to which they have been assigned half-heartedly so that the king would not consider them lazy and extradite them from the country where they have ran to, to sojourn.
f) God’s Decision: They, the people of Israel, have been calling on God for a while to come to their rescue to save them from the hands of the terrible leaderships that have assumed the throne. God of Israel heard their cries and started working. He raised up Moses as his prophet to save them from the hands of their oppressors.
However, God being the omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscience having known their status since the time they have gotten to the land of Egypt has decided that he needs to do something about their status, he needs to train them on how to go to battle as well as how to confront enemies.
We all know God as a peace-loving God, but he is also a terrible man in battle. God as a man of war decided to train them. What are the possible reasons for him deciding to train them we may be asking ourselves? This we shall see in the next sub-topic.
The Reasons For Training Them
Some of the reasons why God decides to train his firstborn, his children and his people are:
1. So That They Will Be Able to Possess The Land. I want you to think about this for a moment the rough estimate of the numbers of people that left the land of Egypt was two million children inclusive and it was God’s desire to usher them all into the land he has sworn unto their fore-fathers.
“And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children.
“And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.” (Exo. 12:37-38)
We need know or remember that God, though knowing the end from the beginning did not have it in mind that they will perish in the wilderness.
“Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:” (Isa. 46:10)
The promise made unto them through his mouth piece, Prophet Moses, was that he is going to take them into the land he has sworn unto their fathers.
Let us for a second close our minds against all that we have known, I mean the history of what happened on the way in the wilderness. Let us assume that they took the shortest route as stated by the bible and entered the land within three to seven days, about two million and more people with their possessions entering a land (or country) at once don’t you think there would be an outcry by the inhabitants of the country? Don’t you think the country would be terrified?
“And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt” (Exo. 13:17)
There is no how that there won’t be an outcry.
Shall we again assume that the population of the country is about two billion people, yet the people of the country will cry, talk and stage demonstrations against such to the authorities. I hope we get this.
They were going into the land, not passing through the land, to possess the land, they will meet with stiff opposition, serious resistance from the people who had been living in the land, even if they were the original possessors of the land but who have been carried away captive by war and they have just regained their freedom, those who have been living in the land for close to five hundred years would still fight with them for their land not to say that they were not the possessor of the land originally, it is God who desires to give them the place for the love he has for them.
“And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.” (Exo. 12:41)
God thence decide to train them by himself, to train them to be always ready for war, to train them to be ready for what they want to go and face, for he knew that the trainings of the enemies are usually not palatable.
May I say here that, the trainings of God are always better than the trainings of the enemies. When we are being trained by God, we need to allow him to continue to train us, because the trainings of the enemies are always traumatic, costly and deadly.
Imagine what he did unto Job, although it was not without the permission of God, but such training, such dealing with was very grievous, in the present day, hardly could we find anyone to undergo such again. Think about what happened unto King David after he killed Uriah the Hittite. (2 Sam. 11) God allowed the devil to deal with his son because of what he did. We may equally think about Samson the mighty man also, after rejecting all the known counsels of his day and taken to his own ways, he was left alone to be dealt with by the enemies and we discovered from the history (Judges 16) that his eyes were removed. That was one of the reasons why he prayed the prayer he prayed that he should die with the enemies for someone whose eyes were removed, or someone without eyes again what else can he do in the world again? The world would be boring to the person, the person will always wish for death than being alive.
The training we are undergoing when we are being chastised by God, we should allow such trainings to penetrate our lives, we should allow the training to have major effect in our lives, we should allow God to work us through but we should neither meander through nor want to dodge it as many believers use to do today.
“And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
“For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
“If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
“But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” (Heb. 12: 5-8)
2. So That They Will Be established: before a town becomes established those days, the country would have formidable force, warriors, those who have been trained for such, those who are well trained to defend their territories against the enemies’ attacks.
But from the look of things, it was clear that not many of them if there were any (group) at all, who have the great requirement to fill into such position to enhance their establishment when they get into the land and they need to be ready for this. In getting them ready for this, that is why they have to be trained before they entered the land for if they get into the land before volunteers were asked from people to join the military, people may not be willing to join, and if people would be willing it will be limited numbers of people who will yield to the call and this would not allow them to be established because the people they want to go and meet in the land have been undergoing trainings to become warriors from their childhood days.
“And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.” (1 Sam. 17:33)
3. Because of The Future: Israelis were being trained by God because he knows that even if he uses his mighty power to get them the land, there would be a time when the enemies would rise like a sea against them, there would be a time in the future when the surrounding nations would envy them, envy those things he has blessed them with and wage war against them.
“So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.” (Isa. 59:19)
And when the enemies rise like that they will have to do something, they will have to defend themselves before calling on him and at times after calling on him, he may ask them to do some things but if they have not had an iota of idea on how to go about that, how easy would that be? How would they defend themselves? How would they protect and preserve their posterity, their territory? To secure them for their future, God decides to train them.
4. To Teach Them Self-Discipline: self-discipline is defined as “practice of training people to obey rules and orders and punishing them if they do not”. The people of Israel’s ability to discipline themselves have been reduced when they were in the land of Egypt and it was not like that with their fore parents.
This core-value, self-discipline, was one of the values possessed by their forefathers which eventually led God to enter covenant with their fore fathers and they were given birth to. God wants this core value to be restored into their lives, restoring this calls for him to training them.
“And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?” (Exo. 15:24)
It was because the core value of self-discipline has been lost in their lives that was what led to their murmuring and crying for what they shall eat and drink. When we lack the core value of Christianity, what we ought not to exalt that is what we shall be exalting and promoting.
5. So That They Will Be Bold: bold is defined by Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary as brave and confident. There is a proverb in this part of the world to which this writer belongs that says, “boldness outweighs charm”. (Charm is a local medicine that involves invoking some demons.) Boldness outweighs power. To use the power that you have you need boldness. A person who is not bold will not be able to use the power that she or he has. Take as instance someone who goes hunting, this person has loaded gun with him, but he was not prepared to see dangerous animals like tiger or lion in the bush. But it was quite unfortunate for him that the animal he saw was tiger. On the instant that he saw this animal, tiger, he became timid, jittery, fearful and started panicking. Instead of him to cock the gun and kill the dangerous animal he started for where he may hide. He has put himself in a dangerous position because of fear and if he fails to act, he may eventually become a prey to the animal.
This is the position that people who are not bold put themselves. They will have the power, but they will not be able to use the power because they are afraid.
On the other hand, there may be someone who does not have gun with him but who on seeing the dangerous animal has thought of what he will do, making improvise of something and will kill the animal. This is what Samson the mighty man did.
“Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother, to Timnath, and came to the vineyards of Timnath: and, behold, a young lion roared against him.
“And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand: but he told not his father or his mother what he had done.” (Judg. 14: 5-6)
David while a shepherd before he was crowned king also did something like this.
“And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:
“And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.
“Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.
“David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.” (1 Sam. 17:34-37)
Those people overcame those dangerous and deadly animals because of their boldness.
God also decided to train his people so that they will be bold warriors, because he knows that getting the land for them with them lacking in boldness will not augur well for them as they will eventually become a prey to their enemies and by that lose that land.
“Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead. And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and there remained ten thousand.” (Judg. 7:3)
You may be passing through what you are passing through now because God wants to teach you how to be bold in dealing with people and addressing issues.
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Tim. 1:7)
6. He Wants to Teach Them Precision: one of the brethren who is a paramilitary officer in our land says one of the most tedious section during his training was when they were being trained precision, how to aim and shoot a narrow object precisely, without missing.
“Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?” (Luk. 14:31)
“And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth.” (1 Sam. 17:49)
There is no way a person will undergo military training without learning precision. There is no way a boxer or Kungfu trainee would not be trained on precision.
In engineering and scientific studies, you will be taught precision. Precision is important for science and engineering students so that things will be accurate and works done would be as they ought to be. Precision is good for hunters so that the animals that ought to be killed once would not be missed. Precision is important for military and paramilitary people so that criminals will not escape while being pursued or during the exchange of fire.
God brought his people through this school so that they will be able to learn precision. They will learn precision in words as they talk or argue with the enemies so that they will use the appropriate words.
“And Jephthah sent messengers unto the king of the children of Ammon, saying, What hast thou to do with me, that thou art come against me to fight in my land?
“And the king of the children of Ammon answered unto the messengers of Jephthah, Because Israel took away my land, when they came up out of Egypt, from Arnon even unto Jabbok, and unto Jordan: now therefore restore those lands again peaceably.
”And Jephthah sent messengers again unto the king of the children of Ammon:
“And said unto him, Thus saith Jephthah, Israel took not away the land of Moab, nor the land of the children of Ammon:
“But when Israel came up from Egypt, and walked through the wilderness unto the Red sea, and came to Kadesh;
“Then Israel sent messengers unto the king of Edom, saying, Let me, I pray thee, pass through thy land: but the king of Edom would not hearken thereto. And in like manner they sent unto the king of Moab: but he would not consent: and Israel abode in Kadesh.
“Then they went along through the wilderness, and compassed the land of Edom, and the land of Moab, and came by the east side of the land of Moab, and pitched on the other side of Arnon, but came not within the border of Moab: for Arnon was the border of Moab.
“And Israel sent messengers unto Sihon king of the Amorites, the king of Heshbon; and Israel said unto him, Let us pass, we pray thee, through thy land into my place.
“But Sihon trusted not Israel to pass through his coast: but Sihon gathered all his people together, and pitched in Jahaz, and fought against Israel.
“And the LORD God of Israel delivered Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they smote them: so Israel possessed all the land of the Amorites, the inhabitants of that country.
“And they possessed all the coasts of the Amorites, from Arnon even unto Jabbok, and from the wilderness even unto Jordan.
“So now the LORD God of Israel hath dispossessed the Amorites from before his people Israel, and shouldest thou possess it?” (Judg. 11: 12-23)
This is the precise word with which Jephthah argued with the king or Ammon whose country has held on to the jugular of the nation of Israel. Precision in shooting arrows and how to sling slings.
These God is teaching us too. He will teach us how to precisely address an issue, how to speak the word in its season.
“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” (Prov. 25:11)
That is why he says, “let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (Col. 4:6)
These they need to know, these God desires to teach them alongside other trainings because it is important for their sustenance, possessing the land and being established there.
7. To Train Them How to Be Time Conscious: another critical thing in warriors training is working to time. The military personnel will set time at which they will attack, how they will go about the attack, and the estimated time at which they expect to finish the attack.
Warriors attacks are not endless in timing. Warriors attack is like a student in the examination hall writing an examination. On the question paper will be instruction of the duration of time that the question paper before the students will last. The supervising lecturer will now state in unmistaken terms the time the students start to answer the questions on the chalkboard or whiteboard and will indicate there the time they will finish (or stop). In the case of assignments or home works, the time to finish the assignment and get it submitted will be stated in clear terms to the students. This is also done by the warriors they will set time for themselves, time to finish the task they are embarking upon.
This Yahweh knows that the children of Israel need to know and in case they have known it before, they need to know that as warriors they need to attach importance to keeping to time else, they will be overtaken by their enemies in the battle front.
In the book of the second Samuel 23 verse 15 we read that king David was thirsty and he said before his subjects that he was thirsty and would like to drink from the water of a well. Incidentally, the well he thirsts after the water there in was in the custody of their enemies. Thus, to get the water from the well, they need to silence those enemies. Some members of his soldier decided to go and get the water for their master. In getting water from the well for their master, they need to set time for which the job needs to be accomplished and return to their master, King David, with the drawn water from the well.
They came together, mapped out the strategy to use to penetrate the enemies camp, overcome them the time frame for doing these and return to their base with the water.
“And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!
“And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the LORD.” (2 Sam. 23:15-16)
They were able to do this without errors because they have gone through several military trainings, they have known how to manage their time as well as keeping to it.
- Their Deliverance is Timely: God is a God of time and those who shall be his must also be time conscious people. From the human reasoning which is often related to what is in the book of Genesis 15 we may think God is not timely when they were delivered from the land of Egypt, but as far as God is concerned, he saved them at the right time, at the time he desired to get them out of that country called Egypt.
- Salvation is Timely: God sending his one and only son to the world at the time he sends Jesus to the world to save all human race was timely, there is no mistake there, he worked to time in saving human beings.
“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
“To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” Gal. 4:4-5)
From this we shall see that everything that God does, he does it to time, that position that we are in, God sees it and he is working on it; although from human perspective due to what we are passing through we may think God is late, and that God ought to have come to the scene before you enter into that situation, but to him there is yet time, and you have not exceeded the time he sets for the thing to be done. Therefore, in whatsoever situation that we are in, we should always know that he is working according to the time schedule on that thing or situation and he is not late.
We should therefore not allow the predicament that we are in to confuse us, we should not allow what we are passing through to make us think God has gone to sleep on our case. No, he is never asleep on our condition, he is always alert and at work on our issue.
“Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” (Psa. 121:4)
When Job was passing through hell on earth, everyone who has at a time or another read the story will think that God ought to have saved the man earlier, most especially during the time that infirmities covered his body, he ought to have been delivered, he ought not to have been allowed to pass such pains and agonies for weeks and perhaps months before he was healed. But that did not happen, the man passed through the lifecycle of the infirmities without God bringing succor to him. It was after his recovery from the illness that God started talking. (Job 38)
When we are passing through pains, anguish, suffering, agonies, troubles, disappointments here and there, loss of loved ones, we tend to think God ought to come before we enter such condition but if God does not come then we will think and sometimes say, “where was he looking? What was he doing?” To these questions someone says this, “it is the exact same way he was looking when his son was crucified that he is looking when you are passing through those turbulent times; it is what he was doing when his son was being arrested and crucified that he is doing when you are passing through those trying moments”.
As God taught his people how to be time conscious so is he teaching us today that we should be time conscious. Many of us in Africa do not keep to time and because of our gross indiscipline in time management it is not uncommon to hear people say, “African time”, as if to mean we have a special time zone different from other time zones of the world. We must change from this, we must learn how to manage time, we must learn how to always keep to time.
8. He Wants to Teach Them How to Honor (or Respect) Themselves: After living in another country for close to five centuries, it is sure that some of their actions, reactions and dispositions to issues would have been fashioned along the line of the country where they had lived for so long. But God desires to make a people for himself and in making them to be his he needs to teach them things about himself, things he desires them to always do so that they will be called the sons of the Living God. We know that those ancient fathers who migrated into the country have all died and its sure that as the oral message of whom Yahweh is, is being passed down to them, there would been some omissions, and this was evident by what happened few moments after they crossed the red sea. One of the things which God wants them to value is respect for themselves and the elders in their midst, to ensure that this is not misconstrued he gave them a law which states in clear terms that they need to respect their parents and their elder ones.
Exo 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” (Exo. 20:12)
“Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD.” (Lev. 19:32)
(Lev. 19:3 Duet. 5:16; Prov. 16:31; 17:6; Eph. 6:1-3)
g) This Dispensation: There are changes from what it used to be then to what it is now. There is a call for peace here and there now, peaceful co-existence among the tribes, countries and races of the world are being preached all over the world which does not give room for much physical warfare now unlike before.
The kind of war that we face now is spiritual war except in some parts of the world where religious fundamentalists have taken to the extremes becoming terrorists. Apostle Paul talks about the kind of war that we encounter today, he called it spiritual war.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
“(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:3-5)
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Eph. 6:10-12)
- Who Are Those Enrolled to Be Warriors Now? Everyone as from twelve years old is expected to be members of God’s army today
- The Requirement For Becoming A Member: the basic requirement for anyone to become a member of God’s army is salvation. Immediately a man gets saved, the person has become enlisted among the warriors of God.
h) When is it Expected that We Sing Praises Today? I want to say as members of God’s army that today, we are expected to sing praises when we see the followings:
i) When we see that a man becomes saved. It is for salvation of man’s heart that Jesus came into the world, and when we see the regeneration power of God transforming a life, we should be glad and happy and sing praises to him that someone has been delivered from the kingdom of darkness and brought into the kingdom of light.
“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
“In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:12-14)
ii) When we see saints becoming established in faith. Before something becomes it takes time. We also need to know that it takes time for a baby (physically speaking) status to change to adult. It takes time before one becomes established in what one is doing. This is also true of babies in faith. Before a baby in faith grows to maturity and becomes established in faith, this takes time. When we see a person, who was once a baby in Christ Jesus and who has remained in him despite all odds growing and becoming established in Christ, we need to praise God for this wonderful feat.
“I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.” (2 Jn 1:4)
iii) When you a believer suffers for Christ and gospel: apostle Paul and Silas while in the prison praised the lord when they were suffering for the gospel (acts 17
iv) When people receive the Holy Ghost, we should be happy and praise God for that. We shall praise God for this because we know from thenceforth such people would be under the influence and direction of God through Holy Ghost as the bible says those who are being led by the spirit of God, they are the sons and children of God. We shall know that those people can’t act anyhow, talk anyhow for they will start living their lives to always please God. (Acts 10; Rom. 8)
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Rom. 8:14)
v) When we grow old and we are preparing to leave this flesh and we look back and see that we shall enter a glorious rest, we shall enter into the place prepared for us by God (Jn 14:6; Mt. 25) We cannot but praise the Lord because of the peace that will overwhelm us (2 Sam. 22)
“In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (Joh. 14:2-3)
having seen some of the times that we can praise the Lord, we discovered that we hardly see people praising God during these times or periods today. It is for other reasons that we found people praising God today.
i) When we sing praises today: you will discover that we sing praises today when we are in comfort, when everything is going on as planned, when our business is thriving, when we prosper on all that we lay our hands on, when our children and family members are at ease (Luke 12:15-21; 17:11)
these are the periods when we seemly find it fit to praise the Lord, we hardly see anyone who praises God when she or he sees that a lost soul has been found, a perishing soul has been saved. I am not saying that it is not good to praise God at these moments knowing that every good gift comes from father of light and that no one can receive anything except it be given unto him from above. But what I am saying is many of us have forgotten the reason for which Jesus came to the world. Jesus came into the world to save mankind. That is the reason for his coming, not because of making people wealthy because ever before he came into the world people have been making it, those who are in no way associated with Yahweh have been making it in the world, with their children prospering before Jesus appeared. He did not abolish those, but he gave what others could not give, he gave his soul a ransom for (many) all.
I want us to remember the story shared by Jesus to tell his followers and listeners and by extension us about paradise, the story of rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16. In this story, Jesus makes us know that the rich man has everything at his disposal daily, everything that his heart desires, comes to him with ease, his family members had no problem and if any seeming problem surfaced within fraction of hours those problem would have been resolved. So, this unnamed rich man usually has something good to praise God for in a day, and while in the synagogue every sabbath day he will testify to the good hands of God on him and his family.
Side by side with this man lived a named man who was poor and suffering. This man was called Lazarus. He had no physical joy or happiness, he was always in pains because of the infirmity on him, a chronic disease so to say that defied medical solutions of their day. Though Lazarus had no happiness in the world, he though had spiritual happiness because at a point in time during his sojourn on earth he came to the knowledge of Yahweh and was living his life according to the set standards. Rich man also came to the knowledge of Yahweh, but he did not accept the laid down standard of Yahweh neither could he pattern his lifestyle to Yahweh’s standard. Despite being unable to pattern his life according to Yahweh’s standards things never went awry for him. As we know that everyone living in the world would breathe his or her last on day, Lazarus and the rich man breathed their lasts one day and they were buried. While the rich man who has not patterned his life according to the tenets of the Lord ended his life in darkness and place of turmoil, the poor man ended his life at the place of bliss and joy (Luke 16:19-31)
Jesus came to the world to help us pattern our lives to God’s standard. He came to the world to save us and when we see someone who has repented of his or her sins and come to God, we need to be full of joy and songs of praise unto the Lord at this moment than at any other times.
j) As warriors or soldiers of Christ, we need to remember that the situation of our country, Nigeria yea the world is changing, and we shall need to be pro-active in everything we do. We cannot sit idly by and be watching people, terrorists, to be killing us at our places of worships under any guise. We see what happened at Sri-Lanka recently, it is a terrible thing that we should guide against its reoccurrence. We can do as Nehemiah did having security personnel at our places of worship.
k) How To Praise Him: as soldiers of the Lord beneath are some of the means of praising him:
1. We can praise him by singing songs of praises, worshiping him exalting him with our songs, singing from the hymns to him
“Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.
“The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him.
“The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.” (Exo. 15:1-3)
2. Through reading and singing of psalms
“Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
“Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 5:19-20)
(A Psalm of praise.) “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands” (Psa. 100:1)
3. We can praise him using several instruments; beating drums, etc. (Psa. 150)
“And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.” (Exo. 15:20)
4. We can praise him with our dance (Exo. 15:20d)
5. We can exalt him with our clapping
(To the chief Musician, A Psalm for the sons of Korah.) “O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.” (Psa. 47:1)
6. We can praise him by stamping our feet on the ground
“Thus saith the Lord GOD; Smite with thine hand, and stamp with thy foot….” (Ezek. 6:11a)
7. We can praise him by bowing to worship him
“And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the LORD, worshipping the LORD.” (2 Chron. 20:18)
3. Most common time when we sing praises is when we have victories (2 Tim 2:4)
4. Levels of praises: Zero; Half and Full
5. Those who can be warriors then are people from 18 years old and above, bastards can’t and hardly do females
6. Israel History
7. God’s determination
8. Warriors of today are believers in Jesus Christ,
9. When to sing praises now: when people are saved etc.
10. Pro-activeness needed today on Christian path
11. How to Praise him