Now when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his three hundred and eighteen trained servants who were born in his own house, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. He divided his forces against them by night, and he and his servants attacked them and pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus. So he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his brother Lot and his goods, as well as the women and the people. (Genesis 14:14-16)
Abraham is renowned for his hospitality and willingness to serve God and others. But as we see, Abraham possessed other attributes as well, and in this particular case, we see that he was willing to fight for righteousness and for his family. It may not be the first thing that comes to mind when we think of Abraham but, in truth, he was a warrior — and a victorious one at that.
“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. … A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war and a time of peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 8)
Few enjoy the prospect of war or confrontation and, as God’s people, we shouldn’t — we are encouraged to be peacemakers. However, we need to acknowledge that the absence of conflict doesn’t necessarily equate to peace. In fact, sometimes there must be confrontation and war in order that there may be peace. For example, what would the world be like now if our fathers and grandfathers not confronted the Nazis and Japanese during World War II? Could the world have lived in peace with such unchecked aggression?
While I’m certainly not advocating for violence and conflict, I am making the point that God’s people, though peacemakers, must possess a warrior spirit as well. However, rather than engaging our fellowmen, we are told that we are to battle against the real enemy — the Adversary and his domain. Paul said:
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:11-13)
If we are to wear armor then we are to wage war. Furthermore, we are not to always take a defensive position but are to be the ones on the offense. We are to be an army that is advancing against the powers of darkness, taking ground from the enemy and setting captives free. Messiah said that, if we are on the rock, the gates of hell will not prevail against us, meaning, that we are storming the gates of hell and not the other way around. So, even as we pursue peace with our neighbor, we must be willing to go to war with our Adversary. Be strong and of good courage; the LORD our God goes before us.
Blessings and Shalom,