Week 20 in the year of our Lord 2022

Fighting & leading

8 minutes to read

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Yes David is a role model for men #

The Lord made King David a warrior. You will hear a lot of modern pastors trying to be edgy saying that David is not a role model for men; he is a type of Christ.

As if the two are exclusive.

Of course David is a role model for men. His strength, his skill, his longsuffering, his fortitude, his repentance, his honor for the king—these are all things that we should emulate.

Don’t forget that when Paul calls us to imitate Christ, Christ reveals himself after the gospels like this:

And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Revelation 19:11-16)

If you’re not ready to imitate Christ the warrior king by fighting righteously as he does for the corner of the world he has delegated to your dominion, don’t be calling yourself a Christian. And don’t be criticizing men who are unafraid to use the sharp edge of a blade to bring about good. A high horse is no substitute for a white one.

That said, there are ditches on both sides of this issue.

But God said unto me, Thou shalt not build a house for my name, because thou art a man of war, and hast shed blood. (1 Chronicles 28:3)

Many men overthink this in principle, but underthink it in practice.

Overthinking it in principle looks like, “God doesn’t want David to build a temple because he shed blood, so did he really even approve of David’s skill at war, and the thousands of people he killed?” Yes, God approved of those things. He gave them to David (Ps 18:31–42; 144:1).

But God didn’t want to be known to his people and the nations as a god of bloodshed—like so many of the pagan deities. He wanted to be known ultimately as a God of wisdom and peace, because those are essential to his character. Bloodshed is essential to his justice, but his temple is a sanctuary of mercy, not a testament to justice and wrath.

So that’s overthinking it in principle.

In the other ditch, underthinking it in practice looks like, “God approves of skill in war, and slaying one’s enemies, so all combat is God-honoring.”

This can apply in spiritual warfare, but we have written plenty about wisely conducting yourself in debate. So let’s take the example of military service. Many conservatives have a very strange attitude to military service, idolizing or fetishizing it. But that’s not a Christian attitude to war.

Patriotism is good. It is a requirement of the fifth commandment. Defending your country is good. It is an extension of the sixth. But jingoism and bloodthirst are perversions of these good things.

Moreover, the US army is run by people who hate God, hate his laws, and will therefore inevitably require soldiers to fight for things God hates. This puts modern Christian soldiers in a similar situation as Christian solders in ancient Rome. In the first century, it was a hotly contested question as to whether you could legitimately serve in the military, working for Caesar, a political power opposed to the High King, Jesus.

We are not taking a position here. But we are encouraging Christian solders to be thoughtful about their specific situation. Military service is not innately noble. It depends who and how you are serving.

Brawlers v. Soldiers #

All Christians are called to be soldiers—spiritually speaking. But sin can pervert soldiers into brawlers. Especially in men who are good at fighting.

The brawler likes the fight. The fight is the mission. It’s a function of his own desires, and often his own insecurities. Everything is a battlefield to the brawler.

For the soldier, fighting is a means of protecting and/or accomplishing something. The fight is never the goal. It’s a function of the mission. It flows out of his given duties. He knows where the battlefield is—where to fight, and where not to. Know knows that if he doesn’t confine the fight to the battlefield, he has lost. The fight will destroy the things he loves.

Man’s mind doesn’t run on code #

People aren’t a mathematical formula.

Achieving success, or getting others to achieve success, isn’t a question of establishing a logical sequence and then simply feeding it into the brain.

We don’t run on instruction sets like machines do. You can’t program a mind so simplistically.

Men who would be leaders must understand this. And not just intellectually.

Take the example of Dave Ramsey. To help people pay off debt, he recommends paying off the smallest debt first—as opposed to the debt with the highest interest rate or largest balances.

Mathematically, it makes more sense to eliminate the debt that is costing you the most, which is likely the one with the highest interest rate or largest balance.

So why does Ramsey recommend otherwise? Does he not understand basic math?

No, he gets math—but he also understands human behavior.

Psychologically speaking, paying off even a small debt is rewarding and encouraging. That sense of accomplishment helps to build the habits needed to correct the larger problem. Being in debt isn’t just a mathematical issue. It’s an issue of discipline.

Modern men have become clueless about the human component of discipleship—whether it be individual, familial, or ecclesiastical. It’s as if we treat people as code on a computer screen. There are no doubt many factors that go into this. E-gnosticism, screen-mediated life, and just our general isolation.

Many things seem airtight when isolated on a piece of paper, or in the domain of the mind. But test them in the laboratory of life, and they quickly take on water.

From our men’s group, Tyrannus Hall: #

Pets are to some women as computer games are to some men. They’re both good things that get treated as counterfeit dominion. We are motivated to fulfill the mandate, but we turn to counterfeits so that we can avoid dealing with the curse.

Games let men bypass sweating over the thorns and thistles of the cursed ground. Pets let women bypass the pains of childbirth and a proper relation to their husbands.

It’s not real fruitfulness if you’re trying to escape the curse on your own terms.

New content this week: #

Stop breaking promises

Notable: #

Join us in a fast for overturning Roe #

Several members in our online men’s group, Tyrannus Hall, are going to be fasting this weekend, as we have seen reports that the Supreme Court will be issuing their opinions on the Dobbs case. This could have the effect of overturning Roe v. Wade in the US, and ending the federal sanction of abortion.

We invite you to join us in seeking the Lord’s favor on this decision, through praying and fasting as you see fit.

Talk again next week,

Bnonn & Michael

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