“Don’t be afraid of them. Put your minds on the Master, great and awesome, and then fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.” Neh 4:14 (8)
“When you hear the trumpet call, join us there; our God will fight for us.” Neh 4:20 (14)
Now, who fights?
Yesterday, I was confused when reading those verses. Why? Because I did not realize that it was different verses. I read the first verse in an English translation, and then switched to a German translation, only to get the second verse. The translations used different verse counts, so that verse 14 in one translation really was verse 20 in the other.
In addition, I was only skimming, so I only read the fighting part in the second verse. Who know was fighting? Was it us or God?
I thought about God fighting for us, and a picture came to mind. Remember the story when Israel had to put the worshippers up front and let the Levites lead them into battle? Yes, truly, put them musicians on the front line – a sure way a new generation of musicians will get a chance for fame. But you know that it turned out differently. When they reached the battle field, the enemies had destroyed themselves. God had fought for them.
But then another story came to mind. Moses at the burning bush. God had heard the cry of his people Israel, his first born son. And he answered by … sending Moses. Together, they fought the battle. God did the wonders, yet Moses stood on the front line.
Or think of Jesus. What did he say about authority?
And Jesus came to them and said, All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go then, and make disciples of all the nations, giving them baptism in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: Teaching them to keep all the rules which I have given you:and see, I am ever with you, even to the end of the world. Mat 28:18-20
The same here with Nehemiah. In the same chapter, the same battle situation he is talking about us fighting for our loved ones, fighting for our home, as well as God fighting for us.
It is together that we fight.
And when is the time to fight? When you hear the trumpet call.
We just had the Feast of Trumpets, God’s day of remembrance for the people of Israel, remembrance of the call to sanctification, consecration, holiness. Holy being set apart for God and for a cause, an assignment.
And it is my conviction that in the course of church history we are in the time of this Feast of Trumpets, the season of Tabernacles. We heard the call to fight, and surely God will fight for us. This is the time to establish the Kingdom.
The fight starts with us. First, we focus on God, the Master, great and awesome. And we fight for our home. Remember that Jesus said that he is going to prepare a home for us in the Father’s house? The home is ourselves, being part of the bigger picture. He made it possible for the Father’s house to extend and your body, you being part of it. And now, God lives within you. More and more, as we grow.
But we do not stop there. We fight for our loved ones, the ones next to us. And who is our next? The smoldering wick, the one that almost lost this godly fire.
We do not fight against blood and flesh. We fight powers and principalities. We fight ideas and philosophies. We fight thoughts and habits.
And just as the Israelites, we put the musicians first. Worship, love, hope, faith, the word of God, prayer, communion, commitment – such are our weapons.
Can you hear the trumpet call?