Have you come to see the battle?

1 Samuel 17:28-30 Now Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spoke to the men. And Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, “Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your presumption and the evil of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.” And David said, “What have I done now? Was it not but a word?” And he turned away from him toward another, and spoke in the same way, and the people answered him again as before.

Traveling across America in this climate of national stress, I’ve been repeatedly shocked to witness violent atrocities against the United States government. While many of the protests have been peaceful demonstrations, numerous others have been characterized by a level of violent and seemingly vengeful anger, involving intentional destruction of property with losses in the millions of dollars.

So far, I’ve witnessed significant destruction in Minneapolis, Seattle, Portland, and Denver. Unbridled vandalism in these cities, on government buildings and local businesses, was perpetrated on an unprecedented scale, beyond anything I have ever seen in this country. Anti-government messages, pentagrams, and fascist symbols have been spray-painted in widespread acts of vitriol. All told, and only up to this point, tens of millions of dollars in physical damage must be added to the incalculable pain, suffering, and shock of these local communities.

Visiting these cities where massive protests have taken place, and going to the sites of protests to inquire of the local citizens, I’ve been asking the same question … “Did you know it was this bad?” Over and over again, the response is invariably, “No!” Those who have shown up when I happened to be there are amazed at the amount of destruction that took place, and they form a company of dismayed witnesses to the clear and revolting reality, that at least in this city, these were not peaceful protests in any way shape or form. The inevitable next question: “How on Earth was this permitted to go on!?”

The question resounds in my own spirit now, and I’m remembering David. I suggest that he faced something similar as Goliath stood in all his height and strength, defying the armies of Israel, appearing utterly invincible. David simply looked over at the Philistine, and back at the Israelite army, and said, “How can you allow this to go on?”

Apart from the response of Eliab, his older brother, and all the others, whose mixture of perplexity, pride, fear, jealousy, and contempt confronted David, the young shepherd’s simplicity was anything but naive. David himself was perplexed at the paralysis of his people. And his simple question filled them with the conviction of cowardice and lack of faith.

My simple observation is that America is facing a violent army of invading “Philistines” bent on nothing less than the destruction of the nation. And somehow, Americans have been paralyzed by the enemy’s sheer bravado and terrifying violence. A massive silent majority may well be wondering if there might be a “David” anywhere in the camp.

A strategy for battle begins with a will to fight. A young shepherd was not about to sit by and watch this humiliating travesty. This was a defining characteristic of Israel’s greatest King. In those days it involved physical battle, and David’s weapons were a sling and a stone. What strategy might our God provide against these modern Philistine giants? We will certainly never know if we sit back in fear or complacency and watch the destruction go on. Some of us are pacifists, others believe in “just war”, yet we should all be on the same page about one thing: our battle is primarily spiritual and requires the use of spiritual weapons, and strategy from God Himself. This violence cannot be tolerated, and I don’t expect it to just go away. Lord give us the courage and will to fight, in YOUR way with your weapons, and be glorified in the victory you accomplish.

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