God’s Word is known to contain words of peace, love, and reconciliation. While that is true, there are also references of strategy in taking over new territories. Even as the Israelites were taking on new territories, God was extremely specific as to how to occupy the territory and not all directions were the same. These wars were initiated by God and His people would have to pray to God to know next steps to take when going into battle. Examples of this can be found in Numbers 31:1-3, where God commands the people the to take over the land of the Mideonites.
In later chapters of the Old Testament, war in the land was a result of judgment due to unrepentant sin. As a result of judgment, land that was prior conquered became overtaken. Israel looked forward to the coming of the Messiah who is coming has been prophesied by prophets.
In the New Testament, Jesus mentioned the importance of showing love to another even when difficult to do so. Paul
mentioned that we should, as much as we are able to, live at peace with all men. It was also mentioned that there was a shift in how to combat war within the Kingdom of God. Ephesians 6:10-18 says:
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the days of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. Be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”
There is a shift in the instructions when it comes to strategic warfare. While, before, the Israelites would physically take over a territory and follow the instructions that God provides. Here, we see that being in strategic warfare involves the belt of truth (Word of God or Bible). Belts hold all your clothing up. Therefore, God’s Word hold you up and keeps everything together. It also involves the breastplate of righteousness. Walking in righteousness protects and shields you from harm. For the Christian, righteousness has to do with, to the best of your ability, obeying God’s commands and living in a way that is honors Him. It also refers to how every step the Christian makes is in a place of peace. Because of the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross and part of the inheritance that one experiences after asking Christ to become their Savior, peace is part of the legacy for the Christian. He or she is not moved by circumstances or situations as Jesus is the center of their life and decisions are based upon the Word of God. Since the decisions are based on Truth (breastplate of righteousness), then there is peace in knowing everything will work out as God intends. Next, faith is a shield and protects the Christian from attacks. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” It is having confidence that God will perform His Word. The hope is an assured hope as you know that despite the situation or circumstance, God will come through. Helmet of salvation has to do with choosing to align the Christian’s thoughts along with what God Word. The sword of the Spirit has to do with declaring God’s Word over your situation and standing on it. Just as the sword cuts, divides, and pierces when used, the same is true when speaking God’s Word over your situation. Lastly, Christians are to be in a constant state of prayer. Just as God was strategic with the Israelites, Christians are taught how to be strategic warfare as well.