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Trained for war

When our sons and daughters first put on the uniform of the US Armed Forces, we may have many questions about what lies ahead for them. But of one thing we can be certain. They will be trained for war.

That may give us pause. We taught them to deal with others in the spirit of kindness. Fighting was not acceptable. We encouraged them to be peacemakers. We surely did not raise them to be killers. But now they will be taught how to take the lives of others in the most efficient manner. If that bothers us—and it should—we must ask what God says about this.

He says much. He did not create this planet to be a war zone. He planned to provide a place for humans to live carefree forever in a paradise.

And yet, the first child born into this world killed his brother in cold blood. Much later the Son of God said there will be wars and rumors of wars until the end of time.

Even the Son of God was killed. How do we explain this?

The Creator-God explains it for us. He tells us evil invaded his creation. It came from beyond us and now surrounds us. Worse, it also lives in us.

He demands that we fight against evil. He commands that we step up to protect human life whenever and however it is threatened. Sometimes that means we risk our own lives. Sometimes it may require us to take the life of another.

King David knew this even while just a shepherd boy. When Israel was at war with the Philistines, he killed Goliath. The rest of his life was filled with battles in many different wars. He is known as the warrior king. He tells us he was trained for war—but not by an older brother already in the army. His trainer was the Lord our God.

We want that same trainer for the United States’ warriors. The drill sergeant concerns himself with strength and stamina. He provides the basics of weaponry, as he strives to develop a military mindset. Further training will enhance skills and reinforce basics. But that’s not enough. Our sons and daughters are more than minds and muscles. Within their physical frame lies an immortal soul. By God’s grace and through his power they have been given saving faith and a godly spirit. These gifts of God are to be protected and used.

Warrior-king David knew that. He says of the Lord, “He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me” (Psalm 144:2).

Are these words true of our Christian warriors today?

They are.

Wars will come even if we do not seek them. Evil will not stand for peace or flee in the face of good intentions and kindness. People will continue to need protection—our nation included. We pray the Lord of life and death will provide that protection. We pray the United States will always have those who are willing to risk their lives to combat evil. We pray they will have the training and skill to do that.

May they pray the words of David: “Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle” (Psalm 144:1).

Author: Paul Ziemer
Volume 109, Number 11
Issue: November 2022

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