To everything there is a season,
a time for every purpose under heaven. . .
A time for war. . . Ecclesiastes 3:1,8
For peace-loving folk, those little four words - A time for war - are hard to accept. I remember when we had to send our 18-year-old off to war in the Middle East. It wasn't fun. And yet, there it is, right there in scripture. I learned a lot during those years our youngest was in the military. Even wrote a book about spiritual warfare boot camp. Do I have to go there again?
The answer is, "yes." Except this time, God is calling me - and you - to get in the war personally. Increasingly, God has been speaking to intercessors all across the nation and the world that we are in a war. It's not a war between political parties; it's a war between Light and dark, God's way and man's way, laws and boundaries as laid out in scripture and man's reasoning. Scripture is replete with instructions about every issue. Are we even aware of them?
If you're at all like me, you'd just as soon ignore such passages. Or at most, sling around scriptures like Ephesians 6:12 - "We do not wrestle against flesh and blood . . ." Of course this is quite true and I could preach or teach on this verse for quite some time. But is there something deeper?
God really got my attention in June of 2018 when, in the midst of speaking to me about our nation, He said, "Those who pray must become more war-like and stop watering down their prayers with platitudes of mercy where mercy is not called for. That's what got the children of Israel in trouble when they didn't totally destroy all the men, women, children and animals of the inhabitants of the Land. This is a time for war, not compromise. It's shoot or be killed. Tell intercessors that if they can't do this then to simply stop praying in English. Their prayers based on their feelings or false theology, simply clog up the works. Tell them to do nothing but pray in tongues and Holy Spirit will direct their prayers according to the need of the hour. The lawless must be removed from power for righteousness to reign. If My people will pray this word as diligently as they did for the Korean Summit, you will see My power at work. I will raise up My chosen and bring down the usurpers. Justice does not always move slowly. It was swift and sure in Korah's case. That sort of "sign and wonder" needs to happen again. Can My people handle that? The pacifist does not make a good partner in the heat of battle. My church, My intercessors, and even My remnant are, as a whole, too mushy. The time for mercy will come when the war is over just as it did after WWII. But now is the time to shoot to kill. Pray your unrighteous leaders down. Period. Let Me take care of the rest. I know more of their story than you ever could. Shoot your prayers and trust Me."
Wow! That is a strong word!! Does this line up with Scripture? Apostle Jim Hodges recently pointed out to me that the book of Psalms contains the war songs of the Prince of Peace. Sounds like a contradiction of terms until you think about it. So, let's look at a few.
Psalm 1:6 - For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish. ("Can the wicked be redeemed?" we ask. Only God knows. As He said above, He knows more about them than we do. Leave it in His hands.)
Psalm 7:9 –Oh, let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, but establish the just; for the righteous God tests the hearts and minds.
Psalm 9:5 - You have rebuked the nations, You have destroyed the wicked; You have blotted out their name forever and ever.
Psalm 9:16-17 - The Lord is known by the judgment He executes; the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.
Psalm 11:6 - Upon the wicked He will rain coals; fire and brimstone and a burning wind shall be the portion of their cup.
Psalm 37:9 - For evildoers shall be cut off but those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.
If you study each of these verses, you'll find that in context they are about warring against various entities - our personal sins and inclinations, political leaders, the land or territory God has given us, for destiny. Can you see the progression? As warriors, we must first look up to God, then into our own heart, mind, attitudes and ways lest we become hypocrites, seeing sin in others while ignoring the same thing in ourselves. Since the late 1970s, dealing with our own "junk" has often been called "inner healing." That's a good term but, unfortunately, many not connected to the wider Body of Christ outside their own denomination aren't familiar with the term and are even afraid of it. Perhaps they would prefer it to be called their personal boot camp. After all, if we're in a war that is beyond ourselves, we desperately need a boot camp to avoid being a needless tragedy of war. We need to take to heart Proverbs 24:6a - By wise counsel you will wage your own war.
Always continuing the war within ourselves, we must war for others, for our territory, for our nation, but most of all, for the Kingdom of God. This requires training. Proverbs 20:18 - Plans are established by counsel, by wise counsel wage war. David submitted to the necessary training. We must too. In both natural and spiritual war, we can and should learn as much as possible from more experienced warriors. But some things are best learned by simply getting onto the battle field.
After getting into the bigger war (what is often called strategic-level spiritual warfare) in which the Ephesians 6 passage talks about specifically, it doesn't take long for us to cry out, often in frustration, often in tiredness, "How long, God, are the wicked going to get by with their wickedness?" When we don't hear anything in return, it's easy to become downhearted and/or discouraged. But, take heart. When we cry out with this plea, we actually join with the company of saints. The question of, "How long?" was made by:
Moses - Psalm 90:13
Job - Job19:2
David - Psalm 94:3, 6:3, 13:1-2, 35:17
Asap - Psalm 74:10, 79:5, 80:4
Ethan the Ezrahite - Psalm 89:46
Isaiah - Isaiah 6:11
Jeremiah - Jeremiah 12:4
Habakkuk - Habakkuk 1:2
Only because these men lived so long ago and faithful scribes recorded their words, do we know that their cries were heard. Sometimes the answers came after they died. Some still aren't answered. But again, we can take heart because the Bible tells us how long before the answers come. Psalm 94:12-13 says, "until the pit is dug for the wicked."
Remember the teaching Jesus gave about the tares in the field of wheat in Matthew 13:25-42? The tares are the wicked. When the "pit is dug," the reapers (angels) will gather the wicked, the lawless and those who offend together into bundles and cast them out. In other words, we must wait until harvest time so the wheat isn't damaged. This is a good example of how we must think about and care for others and not just ourselves.
Do we have that kind of love? Are we mature enough to have the kind of patience, trust and faith that the saints of old had? Truly the writer of Hebrews stated that they "did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us" (Hebrews 11:39).
That's why we must get in the current war and stay in the war. We're not just fighting for ourselves or our grandchildren; we're fighting for those faithful ones who went before us. For all those who, like us, have cried, "How long, O Lord?"
The reason the war is taking so long is because God is not only a god of love, mercy and grace; He is also a God of legality. The very first war took place in heaven (Revelations 12:7, 17). God won and cast His enemies down to earth. That's when the war for those made in the image of God began. Since that time, certain rules of war have been self-understood. The primary legal rule is that the spoils, i.e. the land and everything on it, become the possession of the victor. We see this all throughout scripture. It has been true throughout history too. Today, those who are particularly rebellious against God's will, way and word, try to make an exception when it comes to Israel. But in the Courts of Heaven and in international law, the victor gains the spoil rule is still on the books.
Most wars are begun by God's enemy. However, God called for a war in Jeremiah 49:2. Regardless of which side calls for war, we, His people, are his war club (battle-ax) that He wants to us as weapons of war (Jeremiah 51:20). Are we prepared to be used as such? Do we know what our weapons are? 2 Corinthians 10:3-7 is critical to know. We also need to be prepared to pray the blood and guts prayers of David in the Psalms. Yet most intercessors are hesitant to pray them because they are so violent. Here are a few examples of the kinds of prayers a war club would pray against an enemy:
- Arise, O Lord, confront him, cast him down (Psalm 17:13.)
- Let them be ashamed and brought to mutual confusion who seek to destroy my life; let them be driven backward and brought to dishonor who wish me evil; let them be confounded because of their shame, who say to me, "Aha, aha!" (Psalm 40:14-15).
- Break their teeth in their mouth, O God! Break out the fangs of the young lions, O Lord! Let them flow away as waters which run continually; when he bends his bow, let his arrows be as if cut in pieces. Let them be like a snail which melts away as it goes, like a stillborn child of a woman, that they may not see the sun (Psalm 58:6-8).
- Let them even be taken in their pride, and for the cursing and lying which they speak, consume them is wrath, consume them, that they may not be; and let them know that God rules in Jacob to the ends of the earth (Psalm 59:12-13).
- Let their table become a snare before them, and their well-being a trap. Let their eyes be darkened, so that they do not see, and make their loins shake continually. Pour out Your indignation upon them, and let Your wrathful anger take hold of them. Let their dwelling place be desolate; let no one live in their tents. For they persecute the ones You have struck, and talk of the grief of those You have wounded. Add iniquity to their iniquity, and let them not come into Your righteousness. Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous (Psalm 69:22-28).
- O my God, make them like the whirling dust, like the chaff before the wind! As the fire burns the woods, and as the flame sets the mountains on fire, so pursue them with Your tempest, and frighten them with Your storm. Fill their faces with shame, that they may seek Your name, O Lord. Let them be confounded and dismayed forever; yes, let them be put to shame and perish, that they may know that You, whose name alone is the Lord, are the Most High over all the earth (Psalm 83:13-18).
- Set a wicked man over him, and let an accuser stand at his right hand. When he is judged, let him be found guilty, and let his prayer become sin. Let his days be few, and let another take his office. Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow. Let his children continually be vagabonds, and beg; let them seek their bread also from their desolate places. Let the creditor seize all that he has, and let strangers plunder his labor. Let there be none to extend mercy to him, nor let there be any to favor his fatherless children. Let his posterity be cut off, and in the generation following let their name be blotted out. Let the iniquity of his father's be remembered before the Lord, and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out. Let them be continually before the Lord, that He may cut off the memory of them from the earth; because he did not remember to show mercy, but persecuted the poor and needy man, that he might even slay the broken in heart. As he loved cursing, so let it come to him; as he did not delight in blessing, so let it be far from him. As he clothed himself with cursing as with his garment, so let it enter his body like water, and like oil into his bones. Let it be to him like the garment which covers him, and for a belt with which he girds himself continually. Let this be the Lord's reward to my accusers, and to those who speak evil against my person (Psalm 109:6-20).
Talk about violent! Can I pray these prayers? Can you? Should we? If the book of Psalms are the prayers, praises and declarations of heaven, can we afford to ignore or eliminate any? Please understand, I am not telling you that you must pray such prayers. I'm saying that we are in a time of heightened war. Therefore, we cannot afford to ignore such difficult passages that depict the hard prayers of David. For many years I was surrounded by believers who chopped up the Bible so it would fit their personal theology. When I'd look at their proof texts, I discovered that not only did they pick and choose which paragraph they accepted and which paragraph they claimed wasn't true for today, they did the same splitting of sentences! It was also easy for them to disallow anything they didn't like if it was in the "Old Testament." Following only the scriptures that confirm what we already believe or what is comfortable to believe is neither fair nor honest. If we are going to be true students of the Word, we must deal with the hard questions and those that are an enigma.
Personally and currently, I am still grappling with some parts of David's prayers. This much I know after studying both Testaments for seven decades: God did not become a different God or change His methods when Jesus came to earth. He's the same yesterday, today and will be forever. Jesus even proclaimed that He did not come to eliminate one jot or tittle from the law of Moses (Matthew 5:18). The question is, "What are we going to do about it?" If you believe, as many do, that we are, indeed, living in "a time for war," than we must deal with such questions. What is spiritual or prophetic? What is literal? How do we apply scriptural guidelines to our thoughts, prayers and actions?
It is my firm belief that none of us can even get close to an answer to these questions until we totally lay down our often mushy theology and maybe even our view of God. I can't answer for you and you can't answer for me. But we each must grapple with such hard and profound questions. So in conclusion, let me share with you a word God spoke to me right before I began to write this lesson.
Word given 3-29-19
Even as your President has come out swinging after the Muller victory, and Israel is fighting back against their enemies, so must My church. Now is the time for the violent to take what I've given them and forcefully use every tool in their tool box. They must be violent about cleaning up their own hearts, getting rid of the anger and bitterness and self-centered ways. Their thought-life must be purified by fire and determination. Discipline and obedience must no longer be four-letter words. They must look up and out and take back the words, "I can," not to use in self-reliance but with faith and trust in Me. I want to show Myself strong but I want to do so through My people. No more should they pray for signs and wonders. People are wanting Me to do what I've assigned them to do. As I've said in My Word, signs and wonders will follow them. They must quit looking back. My call is to "press on to the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:14). Why would My servant Paul use the words "press on" if I was going to let him slide into doing what I wanted? Isaiah allowed Me to use him as a sign and wonder (Isaiah 20:3). So shall I use My people today - those who are willing. Did I not say through him, "Woe" to those who want to see before they know? (Isaiah 5:18-19). Step out and trust Me. Look forward, not back or down or sideways to see what your brother or sister is doing. Run your race as Eric Littel did: forward with joy. My pleasure will be on you. My signs and wonders will follow you. And I will give you companions to cheer you on.