I love the imagery and symbolism in the Bible.
Well, okay, some of it (lots of it) is more than a bit gruesome and could rival anything coming out of Hollywood. I mean, why spend eight bucks at the theatre when you can read about the concubine who was cut up into twelve pieces and subsequently Fed-Ex’d (via chariot?) to each tribe of Israel?
And some people regard the Bible as outdated, irrelevant milktoast. Go figure.
But that’s not the stuff I’m talking about.
When read as a cohesive whole, the entire picture of the Bible is painted on the canvas of war. Kings rising and falling (generally being assassinated), political intrigue, even family against family.
Sounds like the evening news.
Because of this, people understood when God used the concept of war in so many communications with His people. They lived it, fought it, died and saw loved ones die in it. So when God Almighty says…
“There He has broken the fiery arrows of the enemy,”
“Our boldest enemies have been plundered. They lie before us in the sleep of death. No warrior could lift a hand against us”, …
…then, yeah, they were tracking with Him.
To add to that, plunder was a right of the conquerors. Anything that belonged to the conquered, now belonged to and was at the total discretion of the victors. Everything, including people, was now considered “property”. And we don’t have to back up very far into our own national history to get a glimpse of that travesty.
So here’s a point to ponder. Fast forward to the New Testament as God continues to use the analogy of warfare in connection with His people, the new believers in His Son, Jesus.
“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
“…in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”
We are called—identified—as spiritual conquerors! And we are to “plunder” the spiritual enemy of his captives, his resources, even his power. All the good is to be recovered and used for the new Kingdom to which we belong. Obviously, this does not preclude war, but anticipates our participation in it. Because, even though God’s grace is free, His freedom is not.
Of course, Jesus put it best:
“Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.”
As one pastor puts it, for Satan, the party’s over.
We’re just part of the clean-up crew.
(Psssst—His whole sermon is a short and terrific read on this topic. Click HERE to find it! And God bless!)
- Ps 76: 3, 5 Tyndale House Publishers Inc (2008-06-01). The One Year Bible NLT
- Romans 8:37 New King James Version (NKJV) Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved
- Ephesians 6:16 New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
- John 19:30 New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation