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  • Writer's pictureThe Hermit of Antipolo

The Lord is a Warrior (Holy Warriors Part 35)

Today’s readings:

Exodus 14:5-18

Exodus 15:1-6

Jesus went to the cross for our salvation, and in his resurrection crushed the head of the enemy, the serpent. Thus “he has become my savior.” (Ex 15:2b). The enemy is defeated, but the war goes on. We are now the combatants in this spiritual warfare, with Jesus as our Commander-in-Chief. He is the one who leads us in battle. “The Lord is a warrior; Lord is his name!” (Ex 15:3).

The enemy is already defeated, and the victory already won, but the tail of the serpent, with its head already crushed, is still thrashing. It is still able to inflict harm on God’s people and even bring many of them to hell. It is still a formidable enemy, more powerful than we humans are. But our Commander-in-Chief assures us, “The Lord will fight for you” (Ex 14:14a).

Unfortunately, the enemy is not just the evil one from outside, but is also within. Many of God’s people today, all being called to be warriors in God’s armies, have not risen up to the challenge. Just like the Israelites, having already experienced the miracles of God, they are still not fully engaging in the war. What are their excuses?

One, some of them are “greatly frightened” (Ex 14:10b). They are afraid of what is being asked of them--time, talent and treasure. They hear of commitment, endurance, passion for mission, financial stewardship, embrace of the cross, dying to self, and they are reluctant to enter into that dimension of their life. They would rather remain as slaves in Egypt than face the challenges of an authentic life in Christ.

Two, they are unable to grasp the vision of the great adventure that awaits them in joining God’s army. They would rather continue to live mundane lives in the world. “Were there no burial places in Egypt that you brought us to die in the wilderness?” (Ex 14:11a). Rather than looking to glorious death in battle with its eventual glorious reward, they prefer the slow death being lived in a world dominated by the enemy.

Three, some of them do not want to leave the comfort (or discomfort) of the world they live in. “What have you done to us, bringing us out of Egypt?” (Ex 14:11b). They think life as it is in the world is already good, and they continue to give priority to their own agenda and preferences. Some continue in slavery to sin.

Four, some of them have been co-opted by the world, and are unable to see the darkness in the world and the call for them to be light to the world. “Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians” (Ex 14:12b). They end up serving the cruel taskmasters of a worldly life of pleasure and personal interest.

Five, some of them have chosen the less noble path. They would, perhaps unwittingly, rather live in slavery to the power of the world than to challenge and engage that power. “Far better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” (Ex 14:12c). Though they may do some good work, they do not totally give of their lives to God and to His mission. They are afraid to respond fully to God’s call.

But we have no reason to be frightened, whether of the enemy or of what is to be demanded of us as God’s warriors. God tells us what God told the Israelites through Moses. “Do not fear! Stand your ground and see the victory the Lord will win for you today.” (Ex 14:13a). With God and His mighty right hand fighting for us, we can and must go forth boldly into battle. We must know the reality: “My strength and my refuge is the Lord” (Ex 15:2a).

Praise be to God. He calls us as His holy warriors. We are part of the victorious armies of God. “I will sing to the Lord, for he is gloriously triumphant; horse and chariot he has cast into the sea.” (Ex 15:1b).

Our marching orders have been issued. The battle is at hand. “Tell the Israelites to set out.” (Ex 14:15b). Onward, holy warriors! Ho-wa!

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