A Levitical War Sermon

 

During my collegiate days and first years as a new teacher in a small Iowa community, I would occasionally call Mom in times of stress and difficulty. At her “Hello?”, I would announce simply, “Mom, I need a Levitical war sermon.” She would patiently listen to my problems or worries, and then respond with encouragement and love. Oftentimes, she’d quietly, calmly share a psalm or other passage she’d just been reading. Other times, she’d remind me of the love my Heavenly Father has for me. Sometimes her encouragement was almost word for word a true Levitical war sermon. Regardless, she didn’t seek to solve my problem; she pointed me to God for strength, courage, and wisdom. Always with love, Mom gave me the requested Levitical war sermon.

What is a Levitical war sermon? Prior to the Israelites going out to battle, the Levites would stand up and deliver a war sermon to them. “This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow march down against them …. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you…. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.’ “ (II Chronicles 20:15-22)

When I was facing a battle, I needed to hear those words, and you do too. (Read them again!) Each of us engages in battle:

  • We struggle against ourselves to bring every thought into submission to Jesus Christ. (II Corinthians 10:5)
  • We battle the sin which so easily entangles-our unbelief. (Hebrews 12:1)
  • We resist Satan, the roaring lion who seeks whomever he may devour and throws his fiery darts at us. (I Peter 5:8; Ephesians 6:16)
  • Even in day to day living, we experience trouble. (Matthew 6:34)
  • When you stop to think about it, you do need to hear some encouragement. These scriptures really do apply. (II Timothy 3:15-17)


So look more closely at this Levitical war sermon.

  • Israel had to fight the battle. (II Chronicles 20:16) God expected them to go up into battle even though in this particular case He would deliver them. Similarly, when you face troubles, God is not necessarily going to take them away from you. Many times you have to fight the battle. That’s why Paul told Timothy to fight the good fight of faith. (I Timothy 6:12) Therefore, make sure you are armed appropriately-with the full armor of God. (Ephesians 6:13-18)
  • Israel was told ahead of time that God would deliver her. “The battle belongs to the Lord.” Why were they told? So they would have the courage to fight. But why did they still have to fight? Well, by knowing ahead of time they would be victorious, they would have to give the glory to God. When the people began to sing and praise God, the Lord set the ambush! Likewise, God will also deliver you, in His time, according to His will. For we know that all things work to the good for them who love God and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) We may not like what is happening, we may not see the good in it, but He who began a good work in you will carry it on to the day of completion. (Philippians 1:6)
  • Knowing that God is going to deliver you, what should your response be? Courage to fight! And thanksgiving! We must always give God the praise, glory and honor (because it belongs to Him) through our actions, words, and thoughts. (I Peter 2:12) We are incapable of achieving the victory through our own strength. (Philippians 4:13; John 15:5) Truly we cannot become what God wants us to become unless we acknowledge God. (Isn’t that the lesson King Nebuchadnezzar had to learn?)
  • In one battle (Exodus 17), Moses upheld the banner of God where the Israelites could see it. As long as he held it aloft, Joshua and the Israelites were winning. What an incredible object lesson in giving the glory to God! It is no coincidence that one of the names of God is Jehovah Nissi-God our Banner. And just like the Israelites, we have to keep our eyes on Jesus Christ. The uplifted banner? Jesus’s death on the cross and His resurrection. Through this, Jesus gives us the victory ultimately, completely over self, over Satan, over death unto salvation! (I Corinthians 15:57)
  • What about the armor we put on? Aren’t those our deeds, our part in the battle? Nope! Don’t you remember: “the battle belongs to the Lord!” When you look at each piece of the armor of God in Ephesians 6, you can see the correlation to Jesus. That is, Jesus is the full armor of God. Our job is to put on Jesus Christ! (Romans 13:14) Is that important? Yes! More than important-it is essential!


So dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let me give you a Levitical war sermon. Put on Jesus Christ! Fight the good fight! Keep your eyes on the Banner! “This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow march down against them… You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’ ”
 

By Cynthia Saladin

Editors note: This essay was originally run in Vol. I Issue 6


 

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