August 6 – Coward to Conqueror – Declaration of War

Read Judges 7:18-20

According to the Constitution of the United States, Congress has the authority to declare war. On December 8, 1941, just a day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President  Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a declaration of war against Japan. Just three days later, he signed the declaration that entered our country into war against Nazi Germany. One document, one signature and our military was unleashed against the enemy.  

In biblical times, God ordained the priests to rally the troops with the sound of the trumpet. Numbers 10:8,9 states “The priestly sons of Aaron, moreover, shall blow the trumpets; and this shall be for you a perpetual statute throughout your generations. And when you go to war in your land against the adversary who attacks you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, that you may be remembered before the Lord your God, and be saved from your enemies.” The sound of the priestly trumpet was a declaration of war. God made it clear that this was a law established by Him throughout their generations.

I do not claim to be a biblical scholar, but the Old Testament book of Numbers spends ample time showing that God separated the Levites among the tribes of Israel to serve as His priests. No other tribe was given this calling. God gave extreme detail to their duties. It was not a service to be taken lightly. This is why I question why Gideon, of the tribe of Manasseh (Judges 6:15) was the trumpet blower as he gathered his troops against the Midianites. (Judges 6:34) Where were the priests? I see no mention of them. Previously in Judges 6:10 we understand that Israel had not obeyed God and had drifted far away from Him. The whole period of the judges is characterized by everyone doing what was right in their own eyes. (Judges 21:25)  After the death of Joshua, there arose another generation who did not know the Lord. (Judges 2:10) The baton had not been passed. Israel had chosen to live in idolatry. I think I’m safe to assume the reason for the absence of the priests is obvious.

Although it was God’s decree that the Levitical priests blow the trumpets to declare war, Gideon was now chosen as the trumpet blower. After assembling the troops and following God’s order to decrease the number of soldiers from 32,000 to 300, he gave each soldier a trumpet. Only the military leader would have blown the shofar, but Gideon equipped each man with his own. Upon his command not one, but 300 loud shofars blew which would have indicated an enormous army. At the sound of such intense noise, the Midianites fled and God defeated the enemy.

Gideon, in the absence of the priests, took on priestly duties and he equipped each of his soldiers with a horn to blow as well. In a real sense each soldier became a priest. As they sounded the trumpets they remembered that it is the Lord who saves them from their enemies.

We too are priests. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9) God has equipped each of us with weaponry and armor to face the enemy. We are in a spiritual war and as a priest of His we are to blow the trumpet, rally the troops and prepare for the battle. God supplied Gideon and his army with unique weapons, not swords and mighty chariots, but clay pots and trumpets. The weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. (2 Corinthians 10:4) And He has called us conquerors through Jesus Christ! (Romans 8:37)

Today, exercise your role as His priest and blow the trumpet, put on His armor, take up His weapons and be a conqueror! For the battle is not yours but God’s and He has signed the declaration of war and has already defeated the enemy!

Charline Engle

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