Tag Archives: Spiritual Warfare

Pilgrim Warriors

Pilgrims. Whether you picture the Mayflower and a colony  in black outfits and buckled shoes, or  a religious group gathering to make a journey, I bet you see peace and harmony. I bet you do not picture a pilgrim with sword and spear, training to be a warrior.

Yet in Psalm 120 the two combine, just a little.

Psalm 120 is the first psalm, or song, in a series. Somewhere along the line of publishing the Psalms, chapters 120 – 135 became called the “Songs of Ascents” or the “Songs of Degrees” or as The Message translates it “A Pilgrims Song”. It is speculated that these psalms were songs that the Jews would sing during the stages of their pilgrimage to Jerusalem or since there are 15 songs, they would be sung on each of the 15 steps leading from the outer court of the temple to the inner.

But what does this have to do with being a warrior?

“In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. Deliver me, O Lord, from lying lips,from a deceitful tongue. 3 What shall be given to you, and what more shall be done to you, you deceitful tongue? 4 A warrior’s sharp arrows, with glowing coals of the broom tree! 5 Woe to me, that I sojourn in Meshech, that I dwell among the tents of Kedar! 6 Too long have I had my dwelling among those who hate peace.7 I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war!”

We are pilgrim warriors. The first time I read through this psalm I saw God as the warrior, waging battle against our tongues, our deceitful tongues and our sinful nature. As I read it again I saw it as God, and his children, being warriors against all of the deceit and sin in our world. And by “our world” I mean the world that we are passing through, the one that we are pilgrims in. We are making a journey through a land that hates peace, to find ourselves at peace with God.

The Psalmist, probably David, feels like he is trapped in the lands of Meshech and Kedar, two nations known for being barbarous people. Do you ever feel that way? Do you ever have days where it feels like everyone is against you, that you are being attacked from all directions, and all you are trying to do is get through your day, accomplish your job, get through school, or just order your cup of coffee.

That is our pilgrimage. Our journey to God will have us waging war on our own sinful nature, because sometimes we attack ourselves as well as others. Our pilgrimage will have us journeying through some treacherous places and meeting some malicious people. This malice, however, comes from our enemy, who is not our fellow man. Our enemy are the forces of Satan and his accomplices. They know that they closer we get to God the more powerful we are. The further along in our journey the more dangerous we become.

This song, the first song of 15 is already talking about troubles and war. Be prepared for quite a pilgrimage, it is not bound to get easier. Some days the only thing that keeps my feet moving is knowing that in the end, we win. We have already won. Jesus is already our champion, and we are called to be his warriors.

 

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Warrior, Champion, Friend.

Out of the pot and into the fire. That is how I felt as I was scrolling through my Word document that contains all of the warrior verses that I have copied there. The verses get crossed off as I write about them and now more and more of my time is spent scrolling down to find the text for my next thought, and for my next enlightenment. 1 Chronicles was taking forever! That was my feeling. I learned a lot and was forced to think a lot. The posts were fun to write, but they were getting repetitive. With genealogies and the talk of David’s mighty men repeated again and again I was looking forward to what the next book would bring. What new and exciting picture, attributes, and lessons could we learn from our next set of warriors?

I knew I was close, I was pretty sure I was done with Chronicles. As I scrolled I saw the crossed out text end and a new book of the Bible appear. Job. A book that had always confused me more than inspired me. The feeling that God allows, permits, and even has a hand in the terrible things that happen to us, that is just not a feeling that is fun to wrestle with. The idea that bad things happen to us, and then God redeems them is a prettier picture.

Job brings us back to the image of our God as a warrior. An image that I do enjoy much better than the old, bearded guy sitting in the clouds. Where are the paintings of our warrior God brandishing a sword and wearing armor? Where are the pictures of Jesus sitting atop a war horse ready to take on the legions of demons lined up for battle? Job at least reminds us that God is powerful and is to be feared,

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He Had A Great Army, Like The Army of God.

So David had his mighty men. Then he got even more. While waiting to become king a force was gathering behind him. One great thing about being a warrior for God is that if your motives are pure and true and if your strength is found in the original warrior, others will see it and gather around you.

David now has an army.

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So Nice I’ll Say It Twice.

Might. Spears. Bloodshed. Massacres. Battles. Defenses. Attacks. Victory. Strongholds. Blood. Exploits. Valiant Fighters. Fame. Honor.

These are the lives and stories of David’s mighty men. Earlier this month we saw David’s mighty men show up in 2 Samuel 23. Now we see their stories again in 1 Chronicles 11. Some are the same, some are a little different. A different angle and some embellishments. These are such impressive men, that we’ll see their stories twice.

“10 These were the chiefs of David’s mighty warriors—they, together with all Israel, gave his kingship strong support to extend it over the whole land, as the Lord had promised— 11 this is the list of David’s mighty warriors:

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Famous Warriors and Failing.

The warm, stale air was annoying, but somewhat satisfying as it meant my body was working, and working hard. Part of that warmth was from my contribution. I watched intently as the instructor demonstrated the next combo we were to attempt. It looked like another fun one. Everything was flowing today. My punches were landing strong and my kicks were landing even stronger. With over a year of kickboxing classes under my belt I was feeling more and more confident as my technique and my power were improving.

Everyone must train. For anything. School is training our brains on how to think through situations and how to thrive and enjoy the wide world beyond our classroom doors. Athletes train in their respective sports, enjoying both cross training and cardio workouts as well. Our military elite train and drill and drill and train. All so that their minds and their bodies will be ready when they are called into action. Dedication, technique, and consistency are all key.

This is also true in our spiritual lives. Not only does a daily walk through the Bible and constant practice in prayer keep our souls and minds on track with God, but they will help us prepare for battle as well. Oh yes. Our minds will soak in the guidance and our spirits will be uplifted by the encouragement and when the time comes when we are being attacked, we will have the mental and spiritual fortitude to parry and defend against the attacks.

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There Once Was A Boy Named David. . .

So far I have talked about how we should be warriors and how we should not be warriors. We have discussed that God has called us all to be warriors at one level or another and that without him our bows are broken and we are powerless. We have talked about how we can be warriors no matter what our pedigree is or what excuses we have. We can be warriors even if we are stay at home moms (or dads).

So now what? What does a warrior of this day and age do? Do we truly pick up swords, spears, and arrows and march against the physical evils of this world? Well yes, and no. We do not need to pick up actual weapons, and some of our enemies will be physical and some will be spiritual.

The next warrior we come to in the Bible is David and his first battle. He will definitely show us how we should fight.

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We Can All Be Mighty Warriors

“My parents did not go to college, why should I?” “Look at my father, he’s an alcoholic. I am sure I will become one too.” “My family has a history of depression. I will never escape it. It will always follow me.” “My mom cannot seem to keep a guy. She sleeps around. She’s always dependent. This is life and this is what I should expect.”

In college I took two entry level psych cases. There was my mandatory general intro to psych class and then for funsies I took a social psych class. They were both really interesting and I learned a lot about myself and my fellow humans. One of the ideas we discussed in both classes was the nature verse nurture argument. What this comes down to is that psychologists agree that there are two main things that shape us into the people that we are.

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