Humble In Worship, Fierce In Battle: Your Warfare Will Never Rise Higher Than Your Worship

Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament book of First Chronicles which begins with a powerful genealogical record which then sets the stage for the narrative of David king of Israel. More specifically, today’s passage begins with the tenth verse of the ninth verse and continues through to the final verse of the eleventh chapter. When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the genealogical records which are found in the opening chapters of the book of First Chronicles coming to a close. As you approach the tenth and eleventh chapters of this Old Testament it is absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the fact that before the author transitions to the death of Saul—and ultimately the ascension of David as king over the nation of Israel—he concludes the ninth chapter by providing a genealogical record of the sons of Levi. If I am being truly honest when reading the words which are found within the opening chapters of this book, I can’t help but be completely and utterly fascinated with and by the fact that not only did the author describe genealogical records and certain historical events which took place within the generations, but the author was also very careful to describe the various parts that made up the twelve tribes of Israel, as well as the sons of Levi. What I mean by this, is that as you read these chapters you will quickly encounter and come face to face with the fact that much like Moses the servant of the LORD was instructed of the LORD in the plans of Moab to number all those men of Israel ages twenty years and older who were able to go forth into battle, so also would the genealogical record that is found within this passage of Scripture describe generations of those who were fit and able to go to war. Pause for a moment and think about this reality, for it was one thing for the author to write concerning the generations of the children of Israel beginning with the twelve sons of Jacob (also called Israel), but it’s something else entirely to write and describe these generations—these generations of sons and fathers—who were fit and able to go forth to war, and who were fit and able to go forth into battle. A GENERATION OF WARRIORS! A GENERATION READY FOR BATTLE! A GENERATION READY TO ENGAGE THE ENEMY! A GENERATION READY TO ENGAGE TO ADVERSARY! Upon reading the various references which are found within these chapters we are brought face to face with sons and fathers in the midst of generations, however, perhaps one of the main and underlying realities that is found at the very heart of these generations are those who were ready and fit to go forth to battle, and go forth unto war. We dare not, we cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely astonishing reality, for it helps us to understand that one of the greatest realities of generations rising up in the midst of the earth is the emergence of those who are fit and able to go forth to war. In order to set the stage for this, I invite you to consider the words which are found in the opening chapter of the Old Testament book of Numbers as the living God gave Moses specific instructions for numbering the children of Israel a second time:

“And the LORD spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the Tabernacle of the congregation, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying, take ye the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, after their families, by the house of their fathers, with the number of their names, every male by their polls, From twenty years old and upward, all that are able to go forth to war in Israel: thou and Aaron shall number them by their armies. And with you there shall be a man of every tribe; every one head of the house of his fathers…And Moses and Aaron took these men which are expressed by their names: and they assembled all the congregation together on the first day of the second month, and they declared their pedigrees after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, by their polls. As the LORD commanded Moses, so he numbered them in the wilderness of Sinai. And the children of Reuben, Israel’s eldest son, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, by their pools, e dry male from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war; those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Reuben, were forty and six thousand and five hundred. Of the children of Simeon, by their generations, after their families, but the house of their fathers, those that were numbered of them, according to the number of the names, by their polls, every male from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war/ those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Simeon, were fifty and nine thousand and three hundred. Of the children of Gad, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war; those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Gad, were forty and five thousand six hundred and fifty. Of the children of Judah, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war; those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Judah, were three score and fourteen thousand and six hundred. Of the children of Issachar, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war; those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Issachar, were fifty and four thousand and four hundred. Of the children of Zebulun, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war; those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Zebulun, were fifty and seven thousand and four hundred. Of the children of Joseph, namely, of the children of Ephraim, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war; those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Ephraim, were forty thousand and five hundred. Of the children of Manasseh, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war; those that were numbered of f them, even of the tribe of Manasseh, were thirty and two thousand and two hundred. Of the children of Benjamin, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war; those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Benjamin, were thirty and five thousand and four hundred. Of the children of Dan, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old, and upward, all that were able to go forth to war; those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Dan, were three score and two thousand and seven hundred. Of the children of Asher, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war; those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Asher, were forty and one thousand and give hundred, of the children of Naphtali, throughout their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war; those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Naphtali, were fifty and three thousand and four hundred. These are those that were numbered, which Moses and Aaron numbered, and the princes of Israel, being twelve men: each one was for the house of his fathers. So were all those that were numbered of the children of Israel, by the house of their fathers, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war in Israel; even all they that were numbered were six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty” (Numbers 1:1-46).

It’s worth noting and mentioning this first call to number the children of Israel, for the LORD God first instructed Moses to number all those men twenty years of age and older who were able to go forth to war. At the conclusion of this particular numbering of those who were able to go forth to war we find that there was a total of six hundred thousand three thousand five hundred and fifty men. Pause for a moment and think about that truly astonishing reality, for among the twelve tribes which made up the congregation of the people of Israel there was more than half a million men who were twenty years of age and older who were able to go forth to war. What makes this even more interesting is when you think about and consider the fact that this didn’t even include those nineteen years of age and younger, for adding all of those would add an incredibly higher number of soldiers who were ready and able to go forth to war. I think it is absolutely astounding that when you come to the book of Numbers the very first thing you find the LORD instructing and commanding Moses to number the children of Israel—and not merely number the people of Israel, but to number a very specific portion of the children of Israel. We dare not miss and dare not lose sight of this, for when we come to the twelfth and thirteenth chapters when we find the LORD instructing Moses and the children of Israel to go up into the land which He had promised them, and what makes this even more astounding is when you think about the fact that at that time the children of Israel had more than half a million men who were ready, able and fit for war and to go into battle. It is absolutely astounding to think about just how many men the children of Israel had at that time to go up into the land and to conquer and take possession of it. Moses and Aaron sent twelve spies into the land who scouted the land over a forty day period of time. Upon their returning from this forty day scouting assignment they not only brought back fruit from the land, but essentially they brought back two distinct report. Joshua and Caleb brought back a report of encouragement, of faith, of trust, of confidence, of hope, and of the power and strength of the living God lead them into the land, and to conquer and take possession of it, while the other ten spies brought back an evil, adulterous, unbelieving, faithless, and wicked report. What I find truly astonishing about this is that although the congregation of the children of Israel saw the fruit of the land, and although they had the report of Joshua and Caleb to line up with the fruit of the land, they still chose to believe the report which was heralded by the ten spies who brought back an evil, adulterous and wicked report. Consider if you will the words which are found within the final verses of the thirteenth chapter, as well as the words which are written and recorded within the fourteenth chapter concerning the LORD’s judgment—not only on the congregation of the children of Israel, and not only upon the ten spies who brought back an evil and adulterous report, but also upon an evil and unbelieving heart:

“And they went and come to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the wilderness of Paran, to Kaddish; and brought back word unto them, and unto all the congregation, and shewed them the fruit of the land. And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it flowery with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it. Neverhtless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan. And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are able to overcome it. But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, though which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the son of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight. And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses, and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! OR would God we had died in this wilderness! And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? Were it not better for us to return into Egypt? And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt. Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel. And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of JEphunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes: and they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. If the LORD delight in us, then He will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defense is not departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not. But all the congregation bade stone them with stones. And the glory of the LORD appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel. And the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? And how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them? I will smite them with the persistence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they” (Numbers 13:26-14:12).

“And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me. Say unto them, As truly I as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me, Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make your dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised. But as for you, your carcasses, they shall fall in this wilderness. And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcasses be wasted in the wilderness. After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise. I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall died. And the men, which Moses sent to search the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur again as him, by bringing up a slander upon the land, even those men that did bring up the evil report upon the land, died by the plague before the LORD. But Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that went to search the land, lived still. And Moses told these sayings unto all the children of Israel: and the people mourned greatly. And they rose up early in the morning, and gat them up into the top of the mountain, saying, Lo, we be here, and will go up unto the place which the LORD hath promised: for we have sinned. And Moses said, Wherefore now do ye transgress the commandment of the LORD? But it shall not prosper. Go not up, for the LORD is not among you; that ye be not smitten before your enemies. For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and ye shall fall by the sword: because ye are turned away from the LORD, therefore the LORD will not be with you. But they presumed to go up unto the hill top: neverhtless the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and Moses, departed not out of the camp. Then the Amalekites came down, and the Canaanites, which dwelt in that hill, and smote them, and discomfited them, even unto Hormah” (Numbers 14:26-45).

When you read the words which are found within this chapter you will find that as a direct result of the children of Israel believing the report of the ten spies, as well as because they not only sought to stone Moses, Aaron, Joshua and Caleb, but also sought to establish for themselves a captain who would lead them back into the land of Egypt, the living God declared that they would not enter into the land unto which He had promised them. Moreover, as you read the words which are found written and recorded within these chapters you will find that the LORD declared that this generation would fall and perish in the wilderness, and that their children and their little ones whom they felt and believed would be a prey before the inhabitants of the land would enter into the land instead of them and in their place. It’s truly remarkable to think about and consider the fact that an entire generation would fall and perish in the midst of the wilderness—and not only would an entire generation fall and perish in the wilderness, but all six hundred thousand plus men who had previously been numbered in the wilderness of Sinai would all perish in the midst of the land. Stop and think about the fact that over a forty year period of time more than a half million men among the congregation of the children of Israel fell and perished in the midst of the wilderness—this not even including the women who were twenty years of age and upward. Consider the magnitude of this judgment which was meted out and pronounced by the living God, and how as a direct result of their doubt, as a direct result of their unbelief, and as a direct result of their complaining and murmuring against Moses, Aaron, Joshua and Caleb, their bodies would fall—not in battle against their enemies, but rather in the wilderness over and during a period of forty years. Stop and consider the tremendous fact that the six hundred thousand plus men who were numbered by Moses and Aaron would not fall in battle against the enemies and adversaries which were present in the midst of the land of Canaan, but would fall in the wilderness according to and because of the word of the LORD. In direct response to their unbelief, in direct response to their fear, and in direct response to their complaining, an entire generation would fall in the wilderness and would not live to see the good promises which the living God had promised unto Abraham, unto Isaac and unto Jacob. The LORD emphatically declared unto the Moses the servant of the LORD that the children of Israel over the age of twenty—those who were fit and able to go forth into battle and into war for which they had been numbered—would not only not enter into the land of Canaan, but their bodies would fall in the midst of the wilderness as the living God would kill and destroy an entire generation in order to bring forth an entirely new generation of sons and daughters that would enter into the land of promise.

As you come to the twenty-sixth chapter of this same Old Testament book you will find forty years having passed in the wilderness, and you will find an entirely new generation standing before Moses in the plains of Moab. It would be there in the plains of Moab Moses where the LORD would give Moses a second command and a second instruction to number the children of Israel. Once more—just as he had done in the wilderness of Sinai—Moses would be called and instructed of the living God to number those who were twenty years of age and older who would enter into the land which the living God had promised unto Abraham, unto Isaac and unto Jacob. It’s actually quite interesting when you read and consider the words which are found in this passage of Scripture, for there in the plains of Moab, and there on the eastern edge of the Jordan River you will find a powerful call for a new generation to not only be numbered, but also to step forward and step into that for which they had been born. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that this new generation had been brought into existence in the midst of the earth in order that they might fulfill that for which their fathers had themselves rejected and refused. There was an entirely new generation that had emerged in the wilderness—some of it which was present forty years earlier when the command and judgment of the LORD had been spoken, and some which had emerged over the forty year time period the children of Israel wandered and journeyed in the wilderness. It is absolutely remarkable and astonishing to think about and consider this reality, for although the LORD would indeed cause an entire generation to fall in the wilderness because of the hardness, because of the unbelieving, and because of the fearful and complaining heart that was in them, He would raise up a generation who would not only enter into the land, but who would also take possession of the land. It’s important for us to recognize and consider this, for there was an original generation that rejected and refused the land which the LORD their God had promised them, and which He had instructed them to go up and take possession of. This generation would be followed by a generation that would take and lay hold of that which their fathers rejected, and would take possession of what their fathers should have. WHEN SONS TAKE POSSESSION OF WHAT THE FATHERS REJECTED! WHEN A GENERATION OF SONS AND DAUGHTERS TAKE POSSESSION OF WHAT A GENERATION OF FATHERS REJECTED AND REFUSED! It’s absolutely necessary for us to come to terms with this incredibly powerful reality, for it helps set the stage for what we find and read in the twenty-sixth chapter of the Old Testament book of Numbers. It is here in this chapter where an entirely new generation would be numbered by Moses in the plains of Moab—an entirely new generation which would succeed where their fathers hadn’t. Consider if you will the words which are written and recorded within the twenty-sixth chapter of this Old Testament book of Numbers beginning to read with and from the first verse:

“And it came to pass after the plague, that the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Eleanor the son of Aaron the priest, saying, Take the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, from twenty years old and upward, throughout their fathers’ house, all that are able to go to war in Israel. And Moses and Eleanor the priest spake with them in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying, Take the sum of the people, from twenty years old and upward; as the LORD commanded Moses and the children of Israel, which went forth out of the land of Egypt. Reuben, the eldest son of Israel: the children of Reuben; Hancock, of whom cometh the family of the Anochites: of Palau, the family of the Palluites, of Hezron, the family of the Hezronites: of Carmi, the family of the Carmites. These are the families of the Reutnenites: and they that were numbered of them were forty and three thousand and seven hundred and thirty…The sons of Simeon after their families: of Nembutal, the family of the Nemeuelistes: of Jamin, the family of the Jaminites: of jachin, the family of the Jachinites: of Zerah, the family of the Zarhites: of Saul, the family of the Shaulites. These are the families of the Simeonites, twenty and two thousand and two hundred. The children of Gad after their families: of Zephaniah, the family of the Zephonites: of Haggi, the family of the Haggites: of Shuni, the family of the Shunites: of Ozni, the family of the Omnitel: of Eli, the family of the Erites: of Arod, the family of the Arodites: of Areli, the family of the Arelites. These are the families of the children of Gad according to those that were numbered of them, forty thousand and vie hundred. The sons of Judah were Er and Onan: and Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan. And the sons of Judah after their families were; of Selah, the family of the Shelanites: of Pharez, the family of the Pharisees: of Zerah, the family of the Zarhites. And the sons of Pharez were; of Hezron the family of the Hezronites: of Hamul, the family of the Hamulites. These are the families of Judah according to those that were numbered of them, three score and sixteen thousand and five hundred. Of the sons of Issachar after their families: of Tola, the family of the Tolaites: of Puia, the family of the Punites: of Joshua, the family of the Jashubites: of Shimron, the family of the Shimronites. These are the families of Issachar according to those that were numbered of them, three score and four thousand and three hundred. Of the sons of Zebulun after their families: of Sered, the family of the Sardites: of Elon, the family of the Elonites: of Jahleel, the family of the Jahleelites. These are the families of the Zeubulintes according to those that were numbered of them, three score thousand and five hundred. The sons of Joseph after their families were Manasseh and Ephraim. Of the sons of Manasseh: of the sons of Manasseh: of Machir, the family of the Machirites: and Machir begat GIlead: of GIlead come the family of the GIleadites. These are the sons of GIlead: of Jeezer, the family of the Jeezerites: of Helek, the family of the Helekites: and of Asriel, the family of the Asrielites: and of Shechem, the family of the Shechemites: and of Shemida, the family of the Shemidaites: and of Hepher, the family of the Hepherites. And Zelophehad the son of Hepher had no sons, but daughters: and the names of the daughters of Zelophehad were Malay, and Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. These are the families of Manasseh, and those that were numbered of them, fifty and two thousand and seven hundred. These are the sons of Ephraim after their families: of Shuthelah, the family of the Shuthalihites: of Becher, the family of the Bachrites: of Tahan, the family of the Tahanites. And these are the sons of Shuthelah: of Erin, the family of the Eranites. These are the families of the sons of Ephraim according to those that were numbered of them, thirty and two thousand five hundred. These are the sons of Joseph after their families. The sons of Benjamin after their families: of Bela, the family of the Belaites: of Ashbel, the family of the Ashbelites: of Ahiram, the family of the Ahiramites: of Shupham, the family of the Shuphamites: of Hupham, the family of the Huphamites. And the sons of Bela were Ard and Naaman: of Ard, the family of the Ardito’s: and of Naaman, the family of the Naamites. These are the sons of Benjamin after their families: and they that were numbered of them were forty and five thousand and six hundred. These are the son of Dan after their families: of Shuham, the family of Shuhamites. These are the families of Dan after their families. All the families of Shuhamites, according to those that were numbered of them were three score and four thousand and four hundred. Of the children of Asher after their families: of Jimna, the family of the Jimnites: of Jesus, the family of the Jesuites: of Berean, the family of the Beriites. Of the sons of Beriah: of Hebrews, the family of the Heberites: of Maschil, the family of the Malchielites. And the name of the daughter of Asher was Sarah. These are the families of the sons of Asher according to those that were numbered of them; who were fifty and three thousand and four hundred. And the sons of Naphtali after their families: of Jahzeel, the family of the Jahzeelites: of Guni, the family of the Gunites: of Jezer, the family of the Jezerites: of Shillem, the family of the Shillemites. These are the families of Naphtali according to their families: and they that were numbered of them were forty and five thousand and four hundred. These were the numbered of the children of Israel, six hundred thousand and a thousand seven hundred and thirty” (Numbers 26:1-51).

It’s quite astounding to think about and consider the reality that when you come to the opening chapter of the book of Numbers you will find the LORD instructing Moses and Aaron to number all the men twenty years of age and older who were able to go forth to war. What is truly remarkable is that over the course of forty years and twenty-five chapters we find an entire generation falling and perishing in the midst of the wilderness, and a new generation emerging in their place. With this new generation fully in place there in the plains of Moab we find the LORD once more instructing Moses to number the same way he had done before, however, this time would be different, for he would now be numbering with Aaron’s own son Eleazar, as well as numbering a generations of sons, grandsons and the like. What I find truly incredible is that at this time forty years later in the plains of Moab the LORD not only preserved the children of Israel through the period of forty years, but the LORD almost preserved the exact number of men who were able to go forth to war. When the time came fo Joshua the son of Nun to lead this new generation into battle against the enemies and adversaries which were present within the land, he had six hundred thousand men who were able to go forth to war, and who were able to handle sword, and spear, and shield. This reality is one that is worth considering and looking into, for when you come to the books of Second Samuel, as well as the book of First Chronicles—not only will you find additional references of those who were able to go forth to war, but you will also find specific skill sets that were in place with those who were in the ranks of the army of Israel. It is truly remarkable to read about six hundred thousand men who were able to go forth to war and to go forth to battle in the midst of the land of Canaan, and when you come to the days and time of David you will find that there were still men who were ready, willing and able to go forth to war. THERE ARE STILL MEN ABLE TO GO FORTH TO WAR! THERE ARE STILL MEN FOR THE BATTLE! THERE ARE STILL MEN WILLING TO FIGHT! It would be one thing to read of more than six hundred thousand men being numbered in the wilderness of Sinai, and how as a result of their transgression and disobedience in the sight of the LORD, they all perished and their bodies fell in the midst of the wilderness. It would be easy to allow ourselves to get caught up with that alone, and completely miss out on the fact that the children of Israel still had six hundred thousand plus men who were ready, willing and able to go forth to battle, and go forth to war. During the days of Joshua—just as during the days of Moses—the children of Israel still had a large and powerful army that would not only strike fear in the hearts of the nations and inhabitants within the land, but also to take possession of the land.

I have to admit that I absolutely love this concept of there still being men who were ready to go forth to the battle, for as you will see during the days and times of the Judges, there were still men from the different tribes of Israel that were able to go forth unto the battle and who were able to go forth to war. It would be during the days of Moses and Joshua when the entire congregation of the children of Israel would fight together as one people, but it would be during the days of the judges when the children of Israel would fight based on tribes. It would be during the days of the judges when there would be certain tribes which would choose to abstain from the conflict, and would choose to abstain from the battle, while there were others who would go forth into battle and who would go forth into war. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this truly astonishing reality, for as you study the history of the Hebrew people you will find that there were always men who were ready, willing and able to fight and to go forth to war. Even as I sit here today I have found myself looking back over our heritage as the people of God and thinking about some of the great Christian soldiers and generals who have pioneered and championed the faith in their generation and in their nation. I am reminded of men such as Jonathan Edwards, G. Campbell Morgan, Leonard Ravenhill, A.W. Tozer. Charles Spurgeon, E.M. Bounds, Andrew Murray, D.L. Moody, and others. I have found myself looking back over our history and our heritage and wanting to study the lives of these great men such as Hudson Taylor and George Whitfield. I am convinced there is a great lesson and powerful truths that can be learned by studying the lives of these great men of faith who have gone before us, and there is even an entire chapter found within the Scripture that is dedicated and devoted to those heroes of the faith who pioneered and championed an unwavering trust and confidence in the living God. The eleventh chapter of the Old Testament book of Hebrews is chalk full of examples and accounts of men and women who dared believe and trust in the LORD their God, who dared trust and believe that the God whom they served was able to do for them and in them what He promised. Building upon this reality, the author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews begins and opens the twelfth chapter by writing and speaking concerning this great cloud of witnesses which we are surrounded with, and then invites us into a similar reality of faith in the living God, for without faith it is impossible to please God. I am sitting here today, and I can’t help but think ask myself where the pioneers have gone. I can’t help but ask myself where the champions of the faith are such as Billy Graham and Reinhard Bonke and Smith Wigglesworth. There is a great and powerful heritage that surrounds and stands at the very heart of Christendom, and yet with that being said I find myself asking where are the generals, and where are the soldiers that are found within our own generation.

We read how there were six hundred thousand men who were able to go forth into battle that came out of the land of Egypt, and yet that entire generation fell in the wilderness because of their sin, their transgression, their disobedience, their unbelief, and the hardness of their heart. Despite the fact that first generation fell and perished in the wilderness, the LORD was faithful to raise up a second generation that would not only rise up in the place of that first generation, but which would also lay hold of and take possession of that which their fathers and grandfathers rejected and refused. This leads me to an incredibly powerful truth—namely, that the living God always has men who are fit and able to go forth to war. The living God has always had men who are willing to go forth to battle and who are willing to go forth into war. The LORD always has those who not only know how to handle the sword, but also who know how to handle the shield. If there is one thing we must recognize and understand, it’s that the living God has never been, and will never be without men of war, and men of worship. As you read the narrative which is found in the book of Numbers you will find that not only did the LORD instruct Moses to number the men of war, but the LORD also instructed Moses to number the sons of Levi and the priests who would minister before the house of the LORD and in the holy sanctuary. What is so powerful about the opening chapters of the book of Numbers, as well as the final chapters of the book of Numbers is that the LORD wasn’t without those who knew how to war, nor was He without those who knew how to worship. The LORD was never without mighty men of valor, and the LORD was never without ministers of the sanctuary—those who could be trusted with the sacred things. In all reality, I would dare say that there is not only a great deal for those who know how to handle the sword, but there is also a great need for those who know how to handle the sacred. There is a great need within our churches and houses of worship today for men and women who know how to handle the sacred and holy, as well as those who know how to handle the sword. There is just as much a need for bravery in battle as much as there is humility in worship. There must be a great balance between worship and warfare, and between the sword and the sacred. We dare not, we cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this truly remarkable reality, for it has direct implications for our generation today.

I absolutely love how in the book of Numbers, as well as in the book of First Chronicles—not only do we have the men of war who were numbered by Moses, but we also have the sons of Levi who were also numbered. This is important, for it demonstrates that the sanctuary is just as important as the battlefield. Those who take up the sword, those who take up the shield, those who take up the spear on the battlefield are no greater and no better than those who take up the ministry of the tabernacle, and those who minister before and around God’s sacred and holy altar. Those who are keepers of the sanctuary of the house of the LORD are no less significant and no less important than those who are on the font lines of the battlefield in any generation. We tend to think and tend to place much emphasis on the battlefield and on those who are able to go forth to war, and yet we fail to understand that the sanctuary is just as important a place in the makeup of the people of God as the battlefield is. In all reality, I would dare say that for the people of God to truly be the people of God there needs to be a healthy balance between the sacred and the bloody, between the battlefield and the sanctuary. There needs to be those who not only know how to handle and take up the sword, but also those who know how to handle the sacred. Oh, there might be a number of men and women among us who know how to handle the sword, however, how many of us truly know how to handle the sacred as well? What you will find in the book of Numbers, as well as the book of First Chronicles is a truly wonderful picture about how the LORD had in each generation those who ministered before Him in His holy sanctuary, as well as those who were able to go forth into battle, and those who were able to go forth into war. What was true during the days of Moses and Aaron was true in the days of Moses and his son Eleazar. Moreover, what was true during the days of Moses was just as true during the days of Joshua and Caleb as it was during the days of David and Samuel. The LORD has always had soldiers in His army who are able and fit to go forth into the battle, and who are able to go forth into war. The LORD has never been without those who have the courage, the strength, the fortitude and the bravery to step on to the battlefield and engage the enemies and adversaries of the living God head on. What’s more, is the living and eternal God has always had those who knew how to handle the sacred, and those who were able to to minister before Him in His holy sanctuary. There is something holy about taking up the sword and engaging the enemies and adversaries of the LORD, but there is something also something holy about simply worshiping before the LORD at His holy altar and in His holy sanctuary.

I sit here today and I can’t help but wonder what would and could have happened if David still chose to remain in Jerusalem at the time when kings went forth to battle, however, on that fateful night when he found himself standing on top of his palace, he went before the Ark of the Covenant and engaged himself in prayer and worship before the LORD. I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if David stayed behind in Jerusalem at the time when kings went forth to battle, and instead of looking upon Bathsheba, and instead of sending for her and committing adultery with her, he chose to engage himself in prayer and worship before the true and living God. What would have happened if instead of raising his hand with sword in the midst of it in battle he raised his hands upon his knees before and in the presence of the living God. Of course we know and understand that David stayed behind at a time when kings went forth to battle, and he did find himself on the top of his palace, and he did find himself looking at Bathsheba, and ultimately, he called and sent for her and had sexual relations with her. One can’t help but wonder what would and could have happened had David never engaged in sexual promiscuity and adultery with Bathsheba, and instead of lying with her he chose to lie on his face before and in the presence of the LORD. The fundamental difference was not only between who David lie with, but also who David didn’t lie before. Oh, how many times do we make the decision to lie with rather than making the decision to lie before? How many times do we make the decision to lie with and to lie in bed with that which we shouldn’t rather than lying on our faces before and in the presence of the true and living God. You might be wondering what this possibly has to do with what I have been writing about, and the answer is found simply in those who might not take up the sword, but choose to humble themselves before and in the sight of the presence of the LORD. There is something truly powerful about those who are willing to humble themselves before and in the sight of the living God, and who are willing to give themselves over in worship before and in the sight of the living God. There is something truly remarkable about those who are willing to completely and utterly give themselves in worship before the LORD as much as they are willing to take up the sword and engage enemies and adversaries. I am convinced that this is what was so incredibly powerful about David, for as much as David was a man of warfare, he was also a man of worship. As much as David was a man who knew how to handle the sword, he was also a man who knew how to handle the sacred. It is truly remarkable to see and find in David—not only a man of the sword, but also a man of the sacred. In David we not only find a man of warfare, but we also find a man of worship.

The more I read and the more I consider the words which are written and recorded in the chapters which are before us in the book of First Chronicles, the more I can’t help but encounter and come face to face with the absolutely tremendous reality that as surely as the living God had soldiers who were able to take up the sword, the shield, the spear, and even the sling and bow and arrow, the LORD also had those who knew how to minister in the sanctuary. As you read the words found in these chapters you will quickly encounter and come face to face with the fact that the living God had present in the future generations those who were able to go forth to war, as well as those who were able to minister in the sanctuary. The passage of Scripture which is before us not only presents us with those who knew how to minister in the sanctuary, but this passage also presents us with those who knew how to handle the weapons of warfare. Consider if you will the words which are found and recorded in the book of First Chronicles concerning the sons of Levi and those who ministered before the LORD, as well as those who fought in the army of Israel together with David. Before I bring and call your attention to this, I would like to draw and call your attention to the fact that it might very well be said of David that he was just at home in the sanctuary as he was on the battlefield, and he was just as comfortable in worship as he was in warfare. It is with this knowledge and this understanding I invite you to consider the words which are found written concerning the sons of Levi which ministered throughout the generations, as well as within the generation of David. What’s more, is I invite you to consider those who fought alongside David, and those who were part of his mighty men, as well as the army of Israel:

“…and their brethren, heads of the house of their fathers, a thousand and seven hundred and threescore; very able to men for the work of the service of the house of God” (1 Chronicles 9:13).

“And Shallum the son of Kore, the son of Ebiasaph, the son of Korah, and his brethren, of the house of his father, the Korahites, were over the work of the service, keepers of the gates of the tabernacle: and their fathers, being over the host of the LORD, were keepers of the entry. And PHineas the son of Eleazar was ruler over them in time past, and the LORD was with him. And Zechariah the son of Meshelemiah was porter of the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. All these which were chosen to be porters in the gates were two hundred and twelve. These were recknoned by their genalogy in their villages, whom David and Samuel the seer did ordain in their set office. So they and their children had the oversight of the gates of the house of the LORD, namely, the house of the tabernacle, by wards. In four quarters were the porters, toward the east, west, north, and south. And their brethren, which were in their villages, were to come after seven days from time to time with them. For these Levites, the four chief porters, were in their set office, and were over the chambers and treasuries of the house of God. And they lodged round about the house of God, because the charge was upon them, and the opening thereof every morning pertained to them. And certain of them had the charge of the ministering vessels, that they should bring them in and out by tale. Some of them also were appointed to oversee the vessels, and all the instruments of the sanctuary, and the fine flour, and the wine, and the oil, and the frankincense, and the spices. And some of the sons of the priests made the ointment of the spices. And Mattithiah, one of the Levites, who was the firstborn of Shallum the Korahite, had the set office over the things that were made in the pans. And other of their brethren, of the sons of the Kohathites, were over the shewbread, to prepare it every sabbath. And these are the singers, chief of their fathers of the Levites, who remaining in the chambers were free: for they were employed in that work day and night. These chief fathers of the Levites were chief throughout their generations; these dwelt at Jerusalem” Numbers 9:19-34).

“These also are the chief of the mighty men whom David had, who strengthened themselves with him in his kingdom, and with all israel, to make him king, according to the word of the LORD concerning Israel. And this is the number of the mighty men whom David had; Jashobeam, an Hachmonite, the chief of the captains: he lifted up his spear againas tthree hundred slain by him at one time. And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, who was one of the three mighties. He was with David at Pas-dammim, and there the Philistines were gathered together to battle, where was as parcel of ground full of barley; and the people fled from before the Philistines. And they set themselves in the midst of that parcel, and delivered it, and slew the Philistines; and the LORD saved them by a great deliverance. Now three of the thirty captains went down to the rock to David, into the cave of Adullam; and the host of the Philistines encamped in the valley of Rephaim. And David was then in the hold, and the Philistines’ garrison was then at Beth-lehem. And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Beth-lehem, that is at the gate! And the three brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Beth-lehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: but David would not drink of it, but poured it out to the LORD, and said, My God forbid it me, that I should do this thing: shall I drink the blood of these men that have put their lives in jeopardy? For with the jeopardy of their lives they brought it. Therefore he would not drin kit. These things did these three mightiest. And Abishai the brother of Joab, he was chief of the three: for lifting up his spear against three hundred, he slew them, and had a name among the three. Of the three, he was more honourable than the two; for he was their captain: howbeit he attained not to the first three. Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man of Kabzeel, who had done many acts; he slew two lion like men of Moab: also he went down and slew a lion in a pit in a snowy day. And he slew a an Egyptians, a man of great statures, five cubits high; and in the Egyptian’s hand was a spear like a weavers’s beam; and he went down to him with a staff, and plucked the spear out of the Egyptian’s hand, and slew him with his own spear. These things did Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and had the name among the three mighties. Behold, he was honourable among the thirty, but attained not to the first three: and David set him over his guard” (1 Chronicles 11:10-25).

What’s truly remarkable when you continue reading these particular chapters is what you encounter in the next chapter, for in the next chapter you will find one of the most powerful descriptions of David’s mighty men—those who aligned themselves to David for the purpose of battle and warfare. What I so absolutely love about David is not only his love for worship, but also his intense commitment to warfare and battle. As you read the words which are found in the Old Testament book of First Chronicles you will find it written and recorded how David not only had an incredible array of mighty men of valor that aligned themselves with him, but David also helped arrange the priests and ministers of the LORD in their service for the Tabernacle. It is absolutely remarkable and astounding to consider the fact that these chapters bring us face to face with the truly remarkable reality that not only did the living God continue to establish and raise up mighty men of valor, but the living God also raised up and established ministers in the sanctuary who would commit themselves to worship before and in the presence of the living God. We dare not miss and lose sight of this truth, for what we find within this truth is the reality that the LORD had always had, and the LORD will always have faithful and mighty men of valor who are able to engage themselves in warfare and battle, and He will always have faithful and humble ministers who will commit themselves to that which is sacred, that which is holy, and that which is consecrated. It’s truly important for us to realize and recognize this, for when I read the description of the mighty men of valor who aligned themselves to David—particularly and especially at a time when he was still in preparation to be established as king over Israel—there is a powerful prophetic picture of those mighty men of valor within this generation who are aligning themselves with the Son of David in order that they might help establish Him as king. There is a great need—not only to establish the Son of David as king over the nation and people of Israel, but also over all the nations of the earth. Despite the nations raging and the people plotting a vain thing we must recognize that the living and eternal God has those who are willing to, and have already aligned themselves with the Son of David in order that they might establish Him as King of kings and Lord of lords. I can’t help but come face to face with the fact that when we consider the genealogical records of the children of Israel—not only the mighty men of valor, but also the ministers of the LORD—there is a strong understanding that within each generation the living God had those who were ready and able to go forth to war, and those who were humble and committed to ministering before the LORD in His holy sanctuary, and in His holy Temple. If there is one thing I can’t help but consider when I sit here today, it’s what is truly needed within the hearts and lives of those who would seek to be faithful ministers of the LORD, and faithful ministers of the living God. If you turn and direct your attention to the twenty-fourth chapter of the Old Testament book of Psalms you will find a psalm written by David which not only speaks to those who can stand and minister in His holy sanctuary and upon His holy hill, but there is also a strong and powerful invitation that the King of glory might enter in and establish His rightful and proper reign. Consider if you will the words which are written and recorded within the twenty-fourth chapter of the Old Testament book of the Psalms beginning to read with and from the first and opening verse:

“The earth is the LORD’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? OR who shall stand in His holy place? HE that hath clean hands and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of His salvation. This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the king of glory. Selah” (Psalm 24:1-10).

Perhaps one of the greatest things about this particular passage of Scripture is when you begin reading about the priesthood and the sons of Levi, and the description of their service and ministry in the sanctuary. What you will find during the days of David is not only the establishing—perhaps the reestablishing—of the priesthood, but also the tremendous role the priesthood would play during the days of his reign. If we are to understand the narrative of David king of Israel as it is presented to us in the book of First Chronicles it is absolutely necessary that we understand it from the perspective of warfare, as well as the perspective of worship. It is absolutely impossible to read the narrative of David in the book of First Chronicles and not directly be confronted with the fact that David was himself both a worshipper, as well as a warrior. Through David the king of Israel we find an incredible and tremendous balance between one whose heart was humble before the LORD in worship, as well as one whose heart fierce and committed in battle. HUMBLE IN WORSHIP, FIERCE IN BATTLE! As I sit here today I cannot help but come face to face with the tremendous reality that within this generation there is a great and powerful need for men and women to not only be fierce in their warfare against the enemies and adversaries of the kingdom of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, but also humble in their worship before the living God. What I so appreciate and value in David is that in him we see an unbelievable balance between worship and warfare, and the same heart that was fierce and tenacious on the battlefield was the same heart that was humble, and soft and tender before his God in worship. How absolutely incredible it is to think about the fact that you can be on your face before the LORD with your hands and arms outstretched as you worship in the beauty of holiness, but you can also be on the battlefield with sword in one hand and a shield in the other as you fight the LORD’s battles. If you study the life of David king of Israel you will notice that he was one who was constantly surrounded by enemies, and he was one who was constantly at war with the enemies and adversaries of Israel, and it is perhaps this reason why David’s heart was so humble, to tender, so soft, so pliable before the LORD in worship. In all reality, I would dare say there is a distinct and intrinsic link and connection between worship and warfare, and the greater the worship is within your life, the greater the warfare. I do not believe David was a great worshipper because he was a great warrior, but I do believe he was a great warrior because he was a great worshipper. I am absolutely convinced that your warfare can never and will never rise higher than your worship, and that the greater your worship is in the sight and presence of the living God, the greater your warfare can and will be. We dare not think, nor believe for a single moment that we can and will be a good warrior within the kingdom of our God if we have not first learned to worship at His feet, and humble ourselves in worship. In fact, I am convinced that before we can truly understand the powerful declaration that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God, and before we can understand that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, we must understand the tremendous need for humility and submission before the living God. What’s more, is there is a strong and intrinsic link between humbling and submitting ourselves in the sight and presence of the living God, and any spiritual warfare we think we might be able to engage in. Consider if you will the words which are written and recorded within the first epistle written by the apostle Peter, as well as the epistle written by James, and then the words which were written by the apostle Paul in the epistle written unto the Ephesians and the second epistle written unto the Corinthians:

“Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whole resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, setttle. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 5:5-11).

“From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be afraid of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee you. Draw night to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the LORD, and he shall lift you up” (James 4:1-10).

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the LORD, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery dart of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:10-20).

“Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you: but I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after : (For the weapons of our warfare carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled” (2 Corinthians 10:1-6).

As I bring this writing to a close it is absolutely necessary that we recognize this absolutely incredible declaration that our warfare can never and will never rise higher, not will it be greater than our worship. The degree and measure in which we worship the LORD our God is the same degree and measure we can and will wage effective warfare in the midst of this earth against the enemies and adversaries of the living God. We dare not and must not miss out and lose sight of this absolutely astonishing reality, for to do so would be to miss out on the great marriage that exists between worship and warfare, and how in order wage an effective warfare we must first engage in an effective worship. In order to truly wage an affective warfare in the spiritual realm we must recognize and understand that there must indeed be a humility that is present before and in the sight and presence of the living God. We dare not think that we can be an effective warrior for and in the kingdom of God if we are not first an effective worshipper in the house and sanctuary of the true and living God. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we come face to face with the tremendous truth that in order for us to be the soldiers which the Son of David needs and desires in His army we must first be worshippers before the throne of God, and only to the degree and measure we are willing to humble ourselves before the throne can we truly engage ourselves in warfare against the enemies and adversaries—even if that enemy and adversary is ourselves or is found within ourselves. It is truly necessary for us to consider the fact that we have been called to a place of worship and warfare, and that at the end of the day there is not greater place than on our face with our hands and our arms outstretched before and in the presence of the living God. Oh that we would be a people whose hearts and whose lives are not only dedicated and devoted to warfare, but whose lives are also dedicated to worship and a life that is spent living and walking humbly in the sight and presence of the living God. Oh that we would recognize that true warfare does not begin on the battlefield, but true warfare begins first in the secret closet of prayer and in the sanctuary of the living God as we humble ourselves before and in the sight and presence of the true and living God.

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