I pursued my enemies and overtook them;(Ps. 18:37-45 NIV)
I did not turn back till they were destroyed.
I crushed them so that they could not rise;
they fell beneath my feet.
You armed me with strength for battle;
you humbled my adversaries before me.
You made my enemies turn their backs in flight,
and I destroyed my foes.
They cried for help, but there was no one to save them –
to the Lord, but he did not answer.
I beat them as fine as windblown dust;
I trampled them like mud in the streets.
You have delivered me from the attacks of the people;
you have made me the head of nations.
People I did not know now serve me,
foreigners cower before me;
as soon as they hear of me, they obey me.
They all lose heart;
they come trembling from their strongholds.
The total destruction of the enemies seems to elevate the experience beyond the life of the Psalmist. The ultimate fulfilment will have to await the coming of the King of kings in that great and terrible Day of the Lord. Yahweh (used to use the name Jehovah) was the warrior God in the OT. The name was first introduced to Moses at the burning bush scene.
There are five stages in the manifestation of Yahweh as warrior God across the Scriptures: 1. God’s appearance as a warrior fighting for Israel, 2. God’s war of judgement against Israel, 3. the prophetic proclamation of a coming divine warrior, 4. Jesus’ ministry on earth seen as that of a conqueror, and 5. the church’s expectation of the return and judgement of the divine warrior. The historical and poetic texts of the OT describe how God always began Holy War by revealing his will to his people. They were then expected to prepare themselves properly. The ark, heavenly armies and nature itself could be involved as allies to the divine warrior. The nation’s presumption upon the presence of God and its subsequent sin led the prophets to proclaim Holy War against Israel itself. The Gospels portray Jesus’ ministry as that of a warrior battling demonic enemies and enlisting and empowering his followers as an army. As suggested in the OT, the divine warrior dies in the midst of the battle. However, he rises triumphant and victorious. The Pauline epistles illustrate how the forces of domination and oppression operate in the world. Paul’s principalities and powers were defeated by Christ through his selfless death. This death also conquered the law that separated Jew and Gentile and thus led to the formation of a new army which will join Christ in his triumphal return. Many of the prophetic themes of cosmic conflict recur in the book of Revelation. Christ as the divine warrior sings the warrior Psalms.
The mission of the Kingdom of God will be completed when Christ pursues, overtakes and destroys His enemies. His enemies were made His footstool. The Holy Spirit descended upon the Lamb of God and Christ went into the wilderness to engage in battle with the devil. On the cross the Saviour defeated death, ‘Where O death, is your victory? Where. O death, is your sting?’ The nation of the earth will all surrender to the Saviour. All His enemies will lose heart in the Day of His coming and they will be overwhelmed in the face of His glory.
‘Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.’(Acts 2:36 NIV)
Lord help us to realise that the destiny of our Saviour is settled in Heaven, and that we will triumph with Him because the God of peace will soon crush Satan under our feet. Lord because of this sure and certain hope, help us to not become weary, but always give ourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because we know that our labour in the Lord is not in vain. Come to our aid, for Christ the Saviour’s sake, in whose Name we pray. Amen