Monday, August 8, 2011


Today's passage:  I Samuel 11:7-15
     I have viewed several war movies.  Some were pretty graphic, but as graphic as they were, the battle scenes usually only took 5-10 minutes of the film.  Some films have two or three battle scenes, which still adds up to only a half hour of a 2 or 3 hour movie.  The reason I mention this, is because most of us have no comprehension how long an actual war battle would take.  I guess guys are really engrossed with bloody battles, I could do without them.  I'm interested in the end result and how it fits in the storyline, but as for the actual battle itself, I don't need to see or hear all the gory details.
     War is grueling.  Battles are not five or ten minutes long.  They take hours.  It is physically depleting, mentally draining, and psychologically exhausting.  And that is just the fighting part.  What about all the setup before, and cleanup afterward?  Soldiers would be strategically placed, waiting for their cue.  Artillery would be stationed, ready to roll on command.  Officers would be alert, waiting for some sign to attack or defend.  All of the waiting puts a soldier in a sort of nervous frenzy.  When the fighting actually takes place, adrenaline kicks in and he becomes a machine prepared to pummel anything in his path.  I know it would be the adrenaline because my police officer husband has says it has happened to him in high-pressure situations.  The adrenaline rush gives the soldier or rescue person a kind of tunnel vision which only allows them to see the task at hand.  This is why when an officer has to take down a criminal, and more than one shot is fired, calling them "trigger happy" is not usually accurate.  Many times, the adrenaline has kicked in , and the officer has switched into survival mode.  For those of us never having been in this type of situation, (and thankfully I haven't) it would be easy to be critical of the end results.  On the battlefield, the scenario would be the same, but on a larger scale.  It would be easy to see how the soldier would switch into survival mode and not even be fully aware of all his actions until the battle had ended.  Even though he experienced it first-hand, the tunnel vision view would only give him a narrow scope of what had taken place.  A soldier on the sidelines, might be able to paint a broader picture. 
Saul Destroys Nashan the Ammonite's Army--Taken from Treasures of the Bible
By Henry Davenport Northrop
International Publishing Company, 1894
     Saul will become general for his first battle as king of Israel.  He slays oxen and parcels their portions throughout the tribes of Israel.  The message he sends is this:  Fight with me and Samuel, or this is what will become of your livestock.  I like how Saul includes Samuel in this battle summons, so the people have no doubts that the man of God is in agreement.  The people congregate and Saul sends the messengers back to Jabesh-gilead to tell them rally troops will be there tomorrow.  Verse 11 says: "...and they came into the midst of the host in the morning watch, and slew the Ammonites until the heat of the day:  and it came to pass, that they which remained were scattered, so that two of them were not left together."  I mean, this is hours of fighting.  Not minutes like the movies show.  From the morning until the heat of the day would at the least be from 9am until 2pm.  I believe it was probably longer than that, because references I read said the morning watch was in the early hours of the morning.  Whether that is before sunrise or after, I cannot be sure.  The heat of the day may be noon when the sun is directly overhead, but when today's dermatologists talk about sunscreen coverage, they talk about protection during the hottest part of the day (2-3 pm).  What is meant here?  I don't know.  Suffice it to say, the battle took a good portion of the day.  Saul and the Israelites are victorious.  Still in battle mode, many of the Israelite soldiers (adrenaline pumping) are poised to lasso up any dissenters who refused to join them in taking down the Ammonites, and execute them as well.  God's Spirit is still upon Saul, and he is able to keep the adrenaline force from clouding his judgement.  He is able to see this action would be unwise and declares mercy on anyone in Israel who did not see fit to aid them.  Instead, they have a worship service in Gilgal. 
     I am in a battle every day.  These battles are sometimes only minutes long, like in the movies.  Some take hours or days, like on a real life battlefield.  My enemy (Satan)seems stronger than me, and I assure you, he wants to take me down.  He wants to take me down in the small matters first, because the taste of victory will encourage him to topple me in bigger areas of my life.  I need a soldier's tunnel vision for the battle before me,  so I will not be distracted by the battles around me.  I need God's Holy Spirit to supply me with adrenaline to defeat the enemy.  I need His wisdom, and His peace to calm me after a victory so that I can give Him the glory for the success.  I am a soldier, and unlike the movies, my battles are for a lifetime. 


  1. Interesting thought... thinking about how long those actual battles took. I can't help but think of our many soldiers (we live in the midst of a military community) are living the realities of wartimes. I may not know the duration of fighting a land-battle, but I know the duration of fighting a faith one. It can be grueling and enduring at times. So thankful for the God who stands next to me.


  2. Amen! And thank you for sharing how God is working through you while battling. I plan on referring my sister-in-law to your blog, I think so many things will ring true for her. God never takes any of us on the exact same journey, but praying continued peace in yours.


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