Sermons

Summary: Jesus is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah and makes no promise that following him is safe, only that he’s good.

Not Safe, But Good

On April 10, 2002, the first battalions of US soldiers forced their way into Baghdad. The night before, their chaplain gathered them together for prayer and worship and he gave a message from Psalm 91 which is a psalm set in the context of literal warfare and it’s all about God’s protection and how he is our shield and defender. It’s the psalm that says; “though a thousand may fall at your side…” no harm will befall you... “he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways… These verses were foremost in the thoughts of these young Marines as they stormed Baghdad. Amazing stuff happ’ned. There were almost no U.S. casualties.

You say, Why, what happened?? There are scores of stories like this one… A Marine Humvee was creeping through the streets of Baghdad. Several soldiers were manning guns but exposed from about the waist up and later said they never felt so vulnerable in all their lives. Bullets were whizzing by from all directions. They came to an intersection and…

…Something told me to look to my right, and when I did, I could see the silhouettes of a small band of Iraqi men less than 25 feet away. They were kneeing with machine guns and RPG’s pointed right at our Humvee (rocket-propelled grenade launcher). The moment stretched into eternity and the fear of death riveted my insides. I prayed knowing that a direct RPG impact upon a Humvee would leave nothing behind but a little puff of smoke. What happened next was simply unexplainable. As soon as Batke could whirl his Mark-19 around and start shooting, the men, for no good reason, stood up as if they’d seen a ghost. They dropped their weapons and ran full-speed into a dark alleyway. It was nothing short of bizarre.

At first they wondered - what did they see that was so terrible to cause this band of fully armed Iraqi’s to turn ghost white and drop their weapons and run? Then they remembered how God said he would send his angels concerning us…

That same day a convoy was heading up under an overpass and the unit operations officer looked up and saw that the overpass was lined with AAVs from end to end, like a steel wall. But something caught his attention that made him take a second look: the AAV’s were not marked....

Whereas all of our battalion vehicles have the distinct and clear markings of our unit painted in bold white letters and numbers, the ones I saw had nothing painted on them at all. They were unmarked and out of place, and none of it added up, except for the fact that their position on the bridge provided a perfect shield from the incoming enemy rounds that were hailing down from the surrounding rooftops and balconies. In the heat of the battle, I simply sloughed it off and kept fighting. But days after the battle, going back to that same intersection, I tried to locate the overpass on which the strange AAV’s had been lined up in a steel column. To no avail I searched, no matter what direction I looked – north, south, east, west – the overpass simply wasn’t there.

The Marine’s who this happened to say it was just like 2 Kings 6:17 where Elisha was outnumbered and his servant was afraid so he prayed and it says…

The Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

Friends, if we were given eyes to see the angelic host of God Most High, it’d simultaneously be both a terrible and wonderful sight.

You may not even believe in that kind of stuff – but you couldn’t convince these soldiers otherwise. They prayed for God’s protection and saw irrefutable evidence of it. I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to share these stories with you – if nothing else – to give you more reason to pray for our troops every day. The chaplain who recounted those stories went on to write:

When the faithful fight the spiritual battle in prayer, those shouldering the burden of combat are given the strength to prevail. This was the awesome story of the home front during our war in Iraq. Prayer was the unseen force behind every victory, whether tactical or spiritual, that we experienced.

So we need to pray. But that’s actually just a side point…

I’m starting here with a couple recent awe inspiring angel appearances because I want to say this … if the sight of his angels strikes fear in the hearts of armed soldiers, how much more terrible and wonderful is he?? If God were to appear right here right now, don’t think for a moment you’d walk up and pet him – he’s no tame lion. We need to be careful at Christmas that we don’t overdo this baby Jesus – meek and mild idea.

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