Quotes of Jesus

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly!"--Jesus

A Special Message from Andy

If you are new to this blog, I invite you to begin reading the We Are At War series with its first installment The Reality posted in January 1, 2012. All other installments are posted in sequential order.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

We Are At War: A Warrior God

"The Lord is a warrior; The Lord is His Name"--Exodus 15:3 (NIV)

Recalling the history of this great war leads us to an important realization, one that reveals for us an essential side to the nature of the Holy Trinity. Why was war necessary? For Satan to accomplish his goals, why did he resort to taking such drastic measures? What did he know of his opponent that would require the resolve to go to war?

Satan knew his only chance to overtake the kingdom would be to execute an assault against the throne of heaven. This tells of something of God. It says he is a force to be reckoned with, because he is a warrior God!

The early Israelites came to the same conclusion on the shores of the Red Sea. Think of all they had been through and witnessed of "The Great I Am!" In our understanding, the Hebrews suffered greatly at the hands of the Egyptians. They were forced into hard labor. They built the monuments, palaces, and pyramids for which the Egyptian civilization is most famous. It was the cruel hand of Pharaoh, believed to be a god himself, relentlessly grasping and suffocating the life from God's chosen. His malice was so intense, out of fear of overpopulation, it led to the annihilation of Hebrew infants.

God, displeased with the treatment of the descendants of Abraham and smitten with his passionate love for them, went to war. Ten plagues later and after washing out the armies of Pharaoh with the Red Sea, the Israelites declared, "The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name."

This is not the only claim found in scripture for God as warrior. There are many stories, poems, and prophecies that allude to this truth. Somehow and some way, perhaps due to the Victorian Era, we've modeled God after--a gentleman? (No, I am not saying God forces himself in us spiritually, but only to what manner of man the term "gentleman" would apply.) This was a time when men traded their weapons and wild instincts for suits and manners. The church followed right along, condemning the wild and unpredictable nature of man as sinful. We tried to tame God in a sense by comparing manners and being nice with righteousness and holiness.

What were we thinking?! God cannot be tamed! As we read the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, we see anything but a mild-mannered gentleman. Good, yes. But a warrior with a holy mission. If we take an honest look, we will soon discover that God is wild, unbound, and free. 

Why is this so important to talk about? We, as men, must know from who we have come. If God is our Father, then we must bear some resemblance to this warrior nature. We are created in his image, a warrior image, the truest witness of real masculinity laid upon the heart of every man. No one in history has been the better example of this masculine heart than the second person of the Triune God head, Jesus. The one to who we turn our attention to next.

1 comment:

  1. I would caution the use of 'warrior' as an image for masculinity. Simply, warrior, as many images of God pulled out of text, so easily gets co-opted into supporting all sorts of nastiness that we engage in as humans. Warrior and Christian militancy seem to go hand in hand. It is a short drive to go from 'God as warrior' to God supports my war (and the aggression that goes with it). So, God can support my current beef with...(fill in blank).

    I think masculinity news to be shaped by as much 'lover', 'friend', 'spouse', even 'vine'. There is as much, if not arguably more, support for 'fruit of the spirit' to be the measure of Christian masculinity than there is one 'warrior'. In fact, other than a turning over of tables, I cannot think of a NT example that helps reinforce this one way of conceiving God.

    Christian militancy might be more of an issue than fears of a 'neutered male' subject (VIctorian Era? Why there? too many British costume dramas? Why not Calvin Klein and the rise of the metrosexual...or his subsequent decline...). I think the amalgam of culturally-constructed characteristics that have gone together to make up an idea of masculinity (here not defined or deconstructed...in some ways just lionized?) might need a bit of review whether it fits what we see in our text. Plus, the assumption that 'God as warrior' so 'we should be too' might need a bit of further tinkering of why this needs to be so.

    Anyway, I could not resist to do a bit of pushback. I just can't see the need to baptize some narrowly identified set of culturally-constructed characteristics and call it faithful. The amount of qualification that has to happen for this to be even helpful is so great that I think the effort near doomed before it begins.

    Plus, if you do not want to 'manscape', it is OK...