PSALM 149:6-9: “Let the high praises of God be in their throats and two-edged swords in their hands, to execute vengeance on the nations and punishments on the peoples, to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron, to execute on them the judgment written! This is honor for all his godly ones. Praise the Lord!”
OBSERVATION: Should Christians take up arms? This may seem like an odd question, but many today do not understand the difference between the role of governments and the role of the individual believer. The Bible is clear that God has instituted governments to execute the “sword” (His judgment) on the ungodly (Romans 13). Whereas, Christians may be involved in taking up the “sword” (defense, judgment) in their role within the government, they are never called to take up the “sword” in their role as Christians in spreading the Gospel.
Jesus made this very clear when He was being questioned by Pontius Pilate. Jesus said:
“…My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” (John 18:36 ESV)
Paul reiterates this truth when he writes about our warfare as Christians:
“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-6 ESV)
This stands in stark contrast to radical forms of religion today which employ violence and the use of the “sword” in propagating their religions. The believer is called to a warfare, but his warfare is not against flesh and blood, and his weapons are not made of steel. The believer’s weapons are the high praises of God in his mouth, and a sharp two edged sword. This sharp two edged sword is the Word of God!
“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm….and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…” (Ephesians 6:13, 17 ESV)
It is through praise and God’s Word that we overcome the strongholds of the enemy and take captive and overcome the deceptive lies of the enemy of our souls. The believer does not always win the argument, but he always wins the battle – even when standing for his faith leads him to the point of death. To the Church of Smyrna, embroiled in a battle against those who opposed the faith, Jesus says:
“Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’” (Revelation 2:10-11 ESV)
The weapons of the believer are “praise” to God in all things, and the “two-edged sword” of God’s Word, His Truth, proclaimed with boldness, and always with love. This bold praise and testimony will not always be received, but it will always lead to victory. Our call is to be faithful in our testimony until the Lord Jesus Christ returns. There is coming a day when Jesus will come as “The Sword” to bring judgment against those who have hardened their hearts and refused to believe. Until that day we overcome in ALL CIRCUMSTANCES as we walk with the “high praises” of God, and His “two-edged sword” in our hearts and mouths.
Onward Christian soldiers! In Jesus Name!