War. It’s about offense. Weapons. Attack. Advance. In fact, the antithesis of war is surrender. No commander ever writes surrender into the battle plan.
I love Exodus 17 for two reasons. First and most literally, it demonstrates the supernatural power and absolute necessity of praying for our military; from Commander in Chief to Privates on the front line. God has a beginning-of-time to end-of-eternity (is that a thing?) perspective of war. And he’s always on the right side. Always. As the parent of three active-duty sons, I pray desperately for our nation to be on the right side – on God’s side, with his blessing – every time.
The other thing I love about Exodus 17 is the picture it paints of Moses, doing battle in a posture of surrender. (Now, I understand he’s not on the battle field, but he is absolutely doing battle.) Picture it. Standing with your arms stretched wide open, reaching for heaven. No one in the history of war has stood like this in a war zone. When we feel threatened we often curl up…cover our face…raise a weapon…or run the other way.
But Moses knows that the battle is God’s. Do I? I mean, do I really? When life is frightening, do I immediately take on a posture of surrender? Or do I curl up, cover my face, raise my weapon…run the other way? It feels so much more natural – so much more productive – to take matters into our own hands. Doesn’t it? Sometimes it means curling up in a “comfortable” ball of denial. Other times it is building a battle plan. Strategizing. Manipulating. Doing damage control.
But true spiritual warfare happens in a posture of surrender. Not passivity, but surrender. And there’s nothing easy about it. When we’re under attack, taking on a posture (and attitude) of surrender means giving up our own ideas about what should happen, and completely and utterly depending on God – expecting him to intervene on our behalf. And accepting that his Will may look very different than mine. But it’s eternal. And it is good. And it’s the only path to true victory.