God is a Warrior
Updated: Nov 16, 2019
We’re at war, soldiers who fight under the banner of Christ.
So at the beginning of a new day, before Satan’s bullets and bombs start flying, before navigating the minefields of personal relationships and digital temptations, Jesus teaches us to pray that our warrior God will uphold and strengthen us: “Lead us not into temptation.”
In a similar spirit David pleads with God in Psalm 35: “Take hold of shield and buckler and rise for my help! Draw the spear and javelin against my pursuers!” (vv. 2–3). Notice that David portrays God as a fighter, a soldier decked out with armor. The Lord has a shield and a buckler—which was a small round shield worn on the arm for warding off attacks—and he is wielding a spear and javelin for going on the offensive. This God is ready to fight!
Military imagery for God occurs elsewhere in the Bible, too. There is the description of the Lord in Isaiah 59:17, “He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak.” Or think of Habakkuk 3:8–15, which speaks of God’s chariot of war, his bow and arrows and his glittering spear, all brought against his foes in order to crush and pierce and conquer.
Scripture presents our God as one equipped and prepared for a fight—you wouldn’t want to meet him in a dark alley or on a battlefield. To quote the well-known line from C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, where Mr. Beaver describes the great lion Aslan, “‘Safe?’ said Mr. Beaver... ‘Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the king, I tell you.’” God is a great warrior—not safe, but good—who is able and ready to fight for his chosen ones.
Ask him to help, and He will! In our deep-seated struggles against the powers of sin, against our own weakness and the pressures of this world, we can pray with David: “Fight against those who fight against me.” And for the sake of Christ, who has gone to war against the devil and already won, God will fight.
God will give the courage to stand up against evil, even when it feels like we are standing all alone. He will grant the wisdom to see through Satan’s deception, even when his lies are so convincing. God will supply strength in the moment of temptation, even when everything inside us wants to succumb. He will show the way of escape from sin and teach the path of righteousness instead. If we ask him to, God will fight for us on every front, taking hold of shield and buckler, drawing out the spear, and stopping those who pursue us.
[adapted from Hallowed: Echoes of the Psalms in the Lord's Prayer ]