PSALMS 149:5-9: “The godly ones shall be jubilant in glory; They shall sing for joy on their beds. The high praises of God shall be in their mouths, And a two-edged sword in their hands, To execute vengeance on the nations, And punishment on the peoples, To bind their kings with chains, And their dignitaries with shackles of iron, To execute against them the judgment written. This is an honor for all His godly ones. Praise the Lord.” NASB

OBSERVATION: How do I fight my battles in life? How does the church fight its battles in life? These are the questions I have been pondering all day since I read these verses from the book of Psalms.

Every believer has been thrust into the battle whether they like it or not. It is a battle for the soul of mankind. It is the battle of light against darkness, truth against lies, and hope against despair. It is a battle for our families, our friends, and our neighbors. It is the battle for the soul of the country that we love. It is a battle whose consequences are life or death.

When I read these verses from Psalms I am both challenged and confused. Am I to take these verses literally? Do I ignore the literal context of these verses and spiritualize them? This is the point of my wrestling with the text. To take a wrong turn is to either miss the battle completely or possibly find myself embroiled in a battle that I am not even supposed to be in.

I can understand the call to praise and worship and to proclaim God’s Word. This is a common call to the believer from the Scriptures. One popular worship song today repeats the phrase regarding praise as one of the weapons of our warfare proclaiming…

This is how I fight my battles.

This is how I fight my battles.

This is how I fight my battles.

This is how I fight!

However, the problem I am having with this Psalm is the following statement.

  • “To execute vengeance on the nations, And punishment on the peoples, To bind their kings with chains, And their dignitaries with shackles of iron, To execute against them the judgment written. This is an honor for all His godly ones. Praise the Lord.”

What does this mean? I know of people who use this Scripture as a call to transform cultures and nations through their prayers and proclamations. However, this application of these verses ignores the teachings of Jesus concerning the last days and the events outlined in the book of Revelation. The church will not suddenly transform the world so that Jesus can return. The world’s condition will worsen until Jesus returns in judgment and establishes His Millennial Kingdom.

There will be a literal fulfillment of these verses when Jesus returns, establishes His Millennial Kingdom, and employs the restored nation of Israel in judging the nations. The context of Psalm 149 is this future restoration of Israel. Yet, in every prophetic Psalm, there is a present and future application. There must be a meaningful application for the church today!

In the book of Ephesians, Paul reminds us about the battle that we are fighting.

  • “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist on the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” Ephesians 6:12-13

It is clear from this Scripture that we are not fighting a physical battle. Our battle is of a spiritual nature. We are engaged in the battle for souls. Our battle is a part of the spiritual battle that takes place in the heavenlies and by which we are assisted by God’s angelic army. Yet, we are not in the heavenlies. We are called and stationed on Earth. Our call, our battle, is understood by the armor we have been given and by our marching orders from our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our calling is to preach the Gospel and to make disciples of all nations. In the Book of Acts, the church was focused on one thing and one thing only. They prayed that God would open a door for them to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ with all boldness and that the Holy Spirit would confirm this word through an outpouring of signs and wonders. As they did this two things happened.

  1. They turned their world upside down. It was not through trying to change governments or culture. It was through changed lives that took that change into the culture in which they lived. The culture was being transformed by transformed hearts.
  2. They experienced the power of God. The Holy Spirit confirmed the preaching of the Gospel through healing, miracles, and the casting out of demons.

God has given us specific armor. This armor is for our protection and it also defines our battle. If I was a pilot in the Airforce I would be given a completely different uniform and equipment set than someone from the Army who was in the infantry. God has not given us wings to fly into the heavenlies. However, He has given us spiritual armor as His foot soldiers here on earth. And, our shoes define our call and purpose in this battle.

  • “Stand firm therefore, having belted your waist with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having strapped on your feet the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With every prayer and request, pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be alert with all perseverance and every request for all the saints, and pray in my behalf, that speech may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel.” Ephesians 6:14-19

This is the armor of an infantryman. Something powerful happens when I do my part on the ground. God does his part in the heavens! I can stay in the church and pray against principalities and powers. This is often done and it has an air of spirituality and importance to it. However, I believe that God is calling me to pray on the front lines. He is calling me to preach the Gospel. To heal the sick. To proclaim deliverance to the captives. As I do this, God offers the air support I need to fulfill my mission!

An infantryman is on the move. He is not hiding in a foxhole or stationed in an office at the command center. We are all called to be on the move with the Gospel. This is why Jesus said “GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONS…” He did not say to stay huddled in prayer. Prayer is of utmost importance, and it is a part of our spiritual armor, but prayer is employed as we are deployed! We are called to pray while we continue on the offensive bringing the Gospel to all nations! We pray before we march. We pray while we march. And we pray when we rest and before we begin to march again!

We pray – ON THE GO!

Can you take a moment to imagine what would happen in our world if the time we spent on Sunday mornings was to worship God and equip the saints – and the rest of the week we engaged in the harvest field of this world reaching lost and hurting people with the Good News of Jesus Christ. What if the church engaged more outside of its four walls than inside them? What if we took our spiritual armor seriously and engaged in the battle according to God’s strategy and command?

We could turn our world upside down!

Lord, my heart is stirred and I find myself wanting. Help my heart to be filled with praise and grant me the grace to take Your Word (Your two-edged sword) into the battlefield of life to seek out and rescue lost souls. Reset my focus on the Great Commission and help me pray as Paul prayed,

  • “…That speech may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel.”

In Jesus’ Name!

About Kirk's Devotional Journal

Kirk L. Zehnder is the Founder of Resurrection Christian Outreach. RCO is a ministry that promotes the growth and vitality of the local church through speaking engagements, seminars, various media tools, and written curriculum and books. This ministry was started over 35 years ago by Kirk as a means to strengthen the church that he was pastoring. It grew as Kirk began to share these tools with other churches. Today many of the materials are being used by local churches both nationally and internationally. Kirk's Devotional Journal is a result of struggling with Bible reading programs that never seemed to work. Kirk feels the Lord helped him discover an easy-to-follow program to Read, Reflect, Pray, and Journal through the Bible in one year. This program is called L.I.F.E. Unlike other programs there are no dates to follow. You can miss a day and still complete your reading. You never feel like the dates and verses you missed are chasing you. You are free to enjoy your daily Biblical journey and listen to the voice of The Lord. For more information on the L.I.F.E. plan, send an email to Kirk is also available for speaking engagements, seminars, and retreats. With over 40 years of professional business and pastoral ministry experience, Kirk brings a unique combination of practical wisdom, humor, and Biblical insight. If you would like Kirk to speak at your church, school, or ministry, please send an email to and we will get back to you as soon as possible to discuss your opportunity.
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