Friday, February 2, 2018
Psalms 144:1 Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.
In 19th century England the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was prominent and powerful. We have heard of some of the famous preachers like Charles Spurgeon and Andrew Murray, but it was the work of local pastors like William Pennefather that had the most significant impact on the culture of that era. Pennefather’s church, planted in the German section of England, became the home of the “Mild May” Conference, where preachers like Andrew Murray helped light an evangelistic fire that spread across the channel to Germany. When Pennefather died at the age of 57, his wife Catherine kept the church and the conference going and growing. She was a gifted poet and writer, and for the next 20 years until her death she kept serving her Lord and Savior. In 1881 she wrote a series of books entitled Follow Thou Me. In the volume subtitled Service she writes the following in relation to Psalm 144:1.
I want to speak of a great defect among us, which often prevents the realization of going “from strength to strength”; viz., the not using, not trading with, the strength already given. We should not think of going to God for money only to keep it in the bank. But are we not doing this with regard to strength? We are constantly asking for strength for service; but if we are not putting this out in hearty effort, it is of no use to us. Nothing comes of hoarded strength.
“Blessed be the Lord my strength, which trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle.” David, you see, was looking for strength for a purpose. Some people seem to expect strength, but never attempt to put forth their hands to war, and their fingers to fight—there is so little venturing upon God, so little use of grace given, partly from fear of man, partly from indolence and worldly-mindedness … It is not for us to be merely luxuriating in the power which God supplies. Action strengthens, and before we have a right to ask for an increase, we must use that already given.
Some things about our Christian culture have not changed from those days. Of all the strength we pray for God to provide, how much is used to actually get involved in the war against sin? We have become accustomed to asking only for survival strength, when God has made provision for victory strength. We have become satisfied to live in the foxhole with our heads covered when God has provided for us to live in response to the bugle call of “charge.”
It is not for lack of a perfect model that we withdraw from battle. Christ himself, the Captain of our salvation, was a valiant soldier who used the strength of God to do the work of God. Remember His trip to the wilderness following His baptism? He was bold in attack, for he began the combat by going up into the wilderness to defy the enemy. Like Him we should be prepared through prayer and fasting for every attack of the enemy no matter how dry and lonely the wilderness of our circumstances.
He was skillful in defense, parrying every attack with God’s Word. We may not need our hands and fingers to carry a sword or a sling as King David did, but they are to be trained to page through the Scriptures so we are prepared for the spiritual battle in which we fight. We can defeat every attack of the enemy with the authority of God’s Word.
He was steadfast in conflict, for he persevered to the end, till the devil left him, and angels came and ministered unto him. We should not be content with repelling the first attack, but persevere in our resistance until all evil thoughts are put to flight, and heavenly resolutions take their place.
We have been called to spiritual battle by our Captain. His victory guarantees ours. We must move from survival mode to success mode. We have been given all the resources of heaven to fight the spiritual battle and to achieve victory in the name of Jesus. He is our Rock, our loving God, our fortress, our stronghold, and our deliverer. He has issued a call to battle. He has provided us with weapons of warfare that are powerful to the pulling down of all the enemy’s strongholds. No weapon of the enemy formed against us can prosper. We have been made more than conquerors through Him who loves us and gave His life for us. We have been trained for battle, and it’s time to put our training into practice. We are guaranteed of victory, so what’s the risk?
Listen. You can hear the bugle sounding “Charge.”