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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Nourishment for the Battle

How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth! (Ps 119:103)

It will help if you read the entire chapter of 1 Samuel 14 to get a good handle on the context. Israel was in the midst of a war against their long-time oppressors, the Philistines. Through miraculous intervention, many Philistines fell in the ensuing battles, but for reason known only to King Saul, he ordered his army not to eat anything until they’d completely beaten their enemy. Jonathan, Saul’s son, hadn’t heard the command.

We pick up this story in verse 28:

“Then one of the soldiers told him, "Your father bound the army under a strict oath, saying, 'Cursed be any man who eats food today!' That is why the men are faint." Jonathan said, "My father has made trouble for the country. See how my eyes brightened when I tasted a little of this honey. How much better it would have been if the men had eaten today some of the plunder they took from their enemies. Would not the slaughter of the Philistines have been even greater?"

The following analogy is not perfect, but close enough to give us reason to pause. Scripture is clear about the deadly battle Christians face every day of our lives. And it is equally clear we do not fight this raging war against flesh and blood, put against spiritual forces (see, for example, Ephesians 6). Scripture also tells us weapons of steel and iron are useless in this fight. We must use spiritual weapons against a spiritual foe (see 2 Corinthians 10).

Satan, our long-time spiritual oppressor, knows if we don’t nourish ourselves on spiritual food, we'll become weakened and unable to effectively fight the good fight. That’s why he deceives us into believing we don’t need the daily honey of Scripture, along (of course) with prayer, proper disposition to the Sacraments, and frequent fellowship with other Christians.

Truth is, if anyone tells us we do not need to read the Scriptures, to study them, memorize them, imbibe them, they are not speaking God's truth and are -- whether innocently or purposefully -- putting us at risk for spiritual injury, imprisonment and even death.

The Psalmist said, “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34). So reader, pick up your Bible and read. Gain your nourishment for the daily battle.

1 comment:

Anna said...

Just what I needed to hear.