The Divine Warrior
“The Lord is a man of war; the Lord is his name” (Ex. 15:3).- Exodus 15:1-21
Having spent last week looking at God’s character and attributes, we now return to our studies that seek to explain how various old covenant themes are fulfilled in the new covenant. We will not cease looking at the divine character entirely, however, for this month we will focus much attention on the Lord’s attributes, albeit more from the perspective of promise and fulfillment.
Today’s passage reveals that our God is a warrior God. After making it through the Red Sea unharmed, Moses and the Israelites celebrate God’s great victory over Egypt with a song of praise (Ex. 14:1-15:21). Specifically, the Lord is called a “man of war” — a warrior who fights for the good of His people. It is in the Almighty’s nature to wage war against those who would rise up against His name and against His children. We can rejoice in that our covenant-keeping God will never leave us or forsake us, as His outstretched arm is ever present to defeat the enemies of His kingdom (Deut. 5:15; Heb. 13:5).
God’s weapons are indeed powerful. For example, with His right hand He is able to turn the raging sea to His advantage (Ex. 15:4-10). He is sovereign over the elements and bends them as He wishes to destroy those who would oppose Him. The displays of this power also amount to a form of psychological warfare. Edom, Moab, Philistia, and Canaan all trembled with fear when they heard of the Lord’s salvation of Israel (vv. 13-16). In this new covenant era, Satan and his minions fear the power of Christ that manifests itself among Christrians through the Holy Spirit (Mark 5:1-10; 2 Tim. 1:7); thus, we should not be surprised that the Enemy will do everything in his power to silence the witness of the church. But Jesus fights for us, wielding the sword of the gospel to convert the nations, turn foe into friend, and make the impenitent ripe for the outpouring of His wrath (Acts 9:1-31; Rev. 19:11-21).
Our Lord wields His power on our behalf, so we can truly claim it is our strength (Ps. 28:7). Him alone do we rely on, not on our own might. Puritan William Gurnall writes, “The strength of the general in other hosts lies in his troops … but in the army of saints, the strength of every saint, yea, of the whole host of saints, lies in the Lord of hosts” (The Christian in Complete Armour, p. 18).
Death and Satan, our greatest foes, tried their best to defeat God’s Messiah. Nevertheless, God raised Him from the dead, proving that not even these most powerful of enemies will have the final say in the war between heaven and hell. We can be confident to do great things for God because Christ is on our side and has overcome death and the Evil One, meaning that life will have the final say when we are resurrected to sit in judgment on the enemies of the church.
Passages for Further Study
1 Samuel 17