Would GOD Fight Our Battles?

By Garner Ted Armstrong

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to you.” “Our prayers are with you.” These are commonly heard statements today, as millions of Americans, Britons and Australians speak of their loved ones on the field of battle.

Our leaders continually use such language, especially when expressing condolences to the families who have lost their son or daughter in war.

All of this presupposes such people believe in God.  Not only that they believe in God, but that they believe He has the power to protect a soldier in battle; that He has the power to give them victory instead of defeat.

Is there any Biblical evidence which suggests that God involves Himself in the wars of man?

There most certainly is. Look at the contrast between only a few of the wondrous BLESSINGS God promises His people for obedience, and the terrible curses which would befall them if they disobeyed His laws: “The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways” (Deuteronomy 28:7).

“I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land.

“And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword.

“And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword” (Leviticus 26:6-8).

What fabulous promises! And how wonderful it would be if this were to be happening on the battlefields of Iraq just now!

The problem is, the euphoric propaganda which was reverberating throughout the top military command just prior to the beginning of hostilities; that whole Iraqi divisions would surrender; that Iraqi citizens would greet US and UK soldiers as deliverers, did not pan out as expected.

Spoiled Americans, remembering the incredibly swift four day victory in Kuwait once the ground campaign began, have expected a gargantuan “shock and awe” attack, which would so stun the Iraqi leadership and military, that the war would be over in “one, two, three” fashion; perhaps in a few days or a week or so.

Now that progress seems slowing; that many irregular “fedayeen” guerrillas (who are nothing short of terrorists) seem willing to attack exposed US flanks and supply columns; now that a blinding sand storm halted the advance for about two days; now that both military and civilian casualties are mounting, a certain caution is being heard from both the President and from the military commanders.

Some experts in the Pentagon, many of them older veterans of both Vietnam and the first Gulf War, are expressing the opinion that the coalition has nowhere near enough armored force on the ground; that it is greatly outnumbered by the many Iraqi divisions awaiting it near Baghdad. Such experts are in favor of “overwhelming strength,” as opposed to “adequate strength.” Are 370,000 troops, only a fraction of which are actually in the front lines in combat, adequate to meet many times their number in battle?

US commanders point out that the coalition enjoys absolute air superiority; that their training and their weapons are superior; speak confidently of the battle plan going exactly as they expected.

However, a few unsavory predictions are beginning to emerge. Will the coalition be drawn into urban warfare, even though it has eschewed this concept from the beginning? Already, as British troops seek to subjugate Basra, it is proving difficult to pronounce this southern Iraqi city, the second largest in Iraq, truly secure.

Both our leadership and much of our population continually speak of God; of prayers; of how their “prayers go out to the troops.”

Is God hearing these prayers? Will He act upon them?

One thing is sure. IF WE WERE A COMMANDMENT-KEEPING PEOPLE, God would both hear our prayers, and HE WOULD ACT! He would bring us SWIFT VICTORY over our enemies, as you read above.

But since we are NOT a commandment-keeping people, there are some ominous predictions contained in God’s word about what could happen. God listed a stark warning of the horrifying curses which would befall us if we refused to obey His commandments. He said, “And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant:

“I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.

“And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you” (Leviticus 26:15, 16,17).

In reiterating these warnings, Moses said, “The LORD shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed.

“The LORD shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them: and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth” (Deuteronomy 28:4,5).

The history of the people of ancient Israel and Judah is replete with how God both blessed them with fabulous blessings when they obeyed, and how they were cursed with horrible catastrophes when they disobeyed.

There is contained in scripture a fabulous, heartening account of how God intervened for His people long ago; how God fought their battles for them!

“It came to pass after this also, that the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat [the king of Judah] to battle.

“Then there came some that told Jehoshaphat, saying, There cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the sea on this side Syria; and, behold, they be in Hazazontamar, which is Engedi.

 “And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah [The King James capital letters “LORD” are from “JHVH,” or “Jehovah,” which means God in Covenant Relationship with Israel; the member of Elohim who became Christ (John 1; Hebrews 1)].

“And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the LORD: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD.

“And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court,

“And said, O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?

“Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend for ever?

“And they dwelt therein, and have built thee a sanctuary therein for thy name, saying,

“If, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for thy name is in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help.

“And now, behold, the children of Ammon and Moab and mount Seir, whom thou wouldest not let Israel invade, when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them, and destroyed them not;

“Behold, I say, how they reward us, to come to cast us out of thy possession, which thou hast given us to inherit.

“O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee [he did not fix his eyes on the enemy, or the difficulties, but on God!].

“And all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and their children” (2 Chronicles 20:1-13).

The king LED the country in seeking God. He proclaimed a nationwide time of fasting and prayer! The people followed this righteous King’s example. Notice what happened: “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: [they were commanded to ADVANCE directly toward the threat] 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” (2 Chronicles 20:14-18).

The king did not number the size of his army. The king and the people did not take counsel of their fears. Instead, they turned wholeheartedly to God.

The outcome is inspiring! “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 [here was FAITH! Also, here was WORKS, which accompanied their faith and proved it was whole, and sincere. See James 2:17,18].

“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.

“And when Judah came toward the watch tower in the wilderness, they looked unto the multitude, and, behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, and none escaped.

“And when Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away the spoil of them, they found among them in abundance both riches with the dead bodies, and precious jewels, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away: and they were three days in gathering of the spoil, it was so much.

“And on the fourth day they assembled themselves in the valley of Berachah; for there they blessed the LORD: therefore the name of the same place was called, The valley of Berachah, [which meant “The Valley of Blessing”] unto this day.

“Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, and Jehoshaphat in the forefront of them, to go again to Jerusalem with joy; for the LORD had made them to rejoice over their enemies” (2 Chronicles 20:19-27).

God caused a massive “blue on blue” reaction among the mixed armies who had coalesced to descend on His people Judah. God used the jealousies, suspicions and resentments among the Moabites, Ammonites and Edomites to rise up in mindless hatred; each believing the other had betrayed them; mistaking one another for enemies instead of allies!

Judah suffered not one single casualty, but the foreign invaders were wiped out to a man, and Judah carried off the spoil. “And they came to Jerusalem with psalteries and harps and trumpets unto the house of the LORD.

“And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries, when they had heard that the LORD fought against the enemies of Israel.

“So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet: for his God gave him rest round about” (2 Chronicles 20:28-30).

Unique in the chronicles of the kings of Israel and Judah, this great deliverance stands like a shining beacon of hope for those who would place ALL their trust in God! In MOST cases, as documented in the four books of the Kings and Chronicles, evil leaders rejected God’s laws, turned to idolatry and Sabbath-breaking, and suffered the horrors of defeat, captivity and death!

Imagine the scene if a leading member of the US Senate should address the assembled Congress, and tell them we should fall to our knees, repent before God; proclaim a national day of fasting, mourning and prayer, and depend entirely on God for victory!

The security guards would have him gagged, hauled off, and arrested, so business as usual could continue.

You know this is true. And because it is true, do not be shocked or awed if we experience more cursings resulting from this war than blessings.                            

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