Reading: Psalm 144:1-4
Praise be to the LORD my Rock,
who trains my hands for war,
my fingers for battle.
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.
LORD, what are human beings that you care for them,
mere mortals that you think of them?
They are like a breath;
their days are like a fleeting shadow (NIV).*
Many nations have defining battles that cement their stature as a nation. For Canada that defining battle began on April 4th, 1917. Over the next three days Canadian forces captured Vimy Ridge in northern France from the German Army. Previously, French and British forces had attempted to take the Ridge, but they were repelled.
The great battles of World War I were mired in stalemate. On the western front it is no exaggeration to say that millions of young men lost their lives for not a single meter of territory gained. How then did the Canadian troops manage to capture such a significant stronghold while suffering the loss of less than 3,500 men? A good part of the answer lies in training.
General Arthur Currie was a brilliant tactician. He had noted that in the past, battlefield advances ground to a halt when platoon commanders were killed or disabled. To overcome this predictable outcome, Currie insisted on training all his troops to reach their objective. The loss of a leader would not be a crippling blow. Every man carried a map and knew the plan to reach their objective for the day. On the day when the offensive was launched, thorough training from first man to last made all the difference. The Germans were unable to halt the steady, uphill, Canadian advance.
David, the warrior king, begins Psalm 144 with this declaration: Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.
The church of Jesus Christ is in a spiritual battle. This is the great war of the ages. Have you been trained for battle? Do you even know there is a war raging? It’s a war for the souls of men, women and children. The Lord has provided all the armor we need. See Ephesians 6:10-20. Have you been trained in the use of your equipment? Are you knowledgeable in the word of God? Are you familiar with the voice of your commanding officer? Do you have a map to your objective? Vimy Ridge wasn’t won by accident. It required careful planning. Taking territory from the prince of this world will require the same.
Response: LORD God, I need to be trained for battle. Help me to see and achieve the objectives you have set out for me. I want to hear your voice and follow your commands. Lead me to victory, Jesus. Amen.
Your Turn: Are there strongholds that God is asking you to attack? Do you have a strategy?