Spiritual Warfare Basics: Five Principles: Weather

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, January 30, 2015 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

“Therefore measure in terms of five things: use these assessments to make comparisons, and thus find out what the conditions are. The five things are the way, the weather, the terrain, the leadership, and discipline.” ~Sun-Tzu, Chapter 1.

No general in history has been successful without having a good understanding of these five principles. I’m going to do things a little out of order, and address “the way” which is the “moral of the people” for last because Sun-Tzu believes this is the most important of the five. So here we will talk about the weather.

“Weather” is representative of all the factors that you cannot control or manipulate. You cannot control your enemy’s actions, but you can certainly manipulate them. The weather is something you cannot manipulate. You have no say in what the weather does. Twice European armies attempted to invade Russia: Napoleon tried and Hitler tried. The problem is that both Napoleon and Hitler did not consider Russia’s two generals: General Winter and General Mud. Neither army was prepared for the real winters that they only got small glimpses of in France and Germany. And neither army’s horses or tanks could get through the mud that was left when the snow melted. In both cases, Russia simply retreated until Napoleon or Hitler was stuck, and then they struck back.

When David sinned against Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 11, there is a subtle statement that not many pay attention to. In verse 1, the Bible tells us “It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when the kings go out to battle.” I’m not going to go into what David did in this post, but I want to point out that in the Middle East at that time, they went out to battle in the springtime. Why is that? Think about the context. Where are they? The Middle East. It’s a desert. Nights are cold during the winter. A traveling army would not fare well in such conditions. The summers are also too hot during the day. The kings of the area would fight when the weather was best suited for battle. They did not want their soldiers suffering in the cold or heat or rain. Remember that in the desert, when it rains, it pours. Also in the desert, you don’t want to fight during a windstorm because the sand will blast you, cut off your vision, and you will have no clue what is going on.

But weather can also be a tactical advantage. I’ve read reports of several armies charging downhill from the east right at sunrise. Why do this? It forces the enemy army to stare uphill, right into the sun, blinding them and preventing them to see who is attacking. Many armies have moved under the cover of darkness, under the cover of fog, or even in a sand storm. In the wars with Iraq, there was a massive sand storm right before we brought out tanks in and moved into Bagdad. It frustrated the generals because they had to sit back and wait. However, the sand storms blasted all the sand in the area away and exposed many of the landmines that had been planted in wait for them. In another famous battle, Elizabeth I of England defeated the mighty Spanish Armada, but with help: wind and waves. In many cases, weather has turned the tides of many battles and wars.

Spiritually speaking, what would weather be like in the battles we face? Remember that weather represents the things we cannot control or manipulate. Have you ever been in a situation where you really have no clue of what is going on and everything feels foggy around you? You aren’t alone. Keep your guard up. The enemy is likely making a move. But don’t forget that you might also be the one moving. There are times where God will make things foggy and murky to protect you. You may seem lost and confused but if you could see clearly you would not keep moving forward. One of the best illustrations of this is in CS Lewis’ book The Horse and his Boy. Shasta and Aravis, and the horses Bree and Hwin, had just sprinted to the Hermit’s house to the point of exhaustion and Shasta continues on foot. He reaches the King of Archenland just in time to warn him of Rabadash’s invasion, but then ends up traveling through a foggy mountain road where he would alert the forces of Narnia. When he came back with the army, he saw the route he had taken: a narrow path along a cliff. Had he seen the cliffs he would not have travelled as quickly as he needed to.

What about you? Do you trust the Lord in times of confusion and fog? Can you trust him to escort you through a dangerous location, keeping you in the dark so you do not see the dangers around you? Or so that the enemy cannot see you as you move through his territory? As I wrote this post, this verse came to mind: ”Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” Did you get a new perspective on this verse like I just got? I hope so. Are you frustrated with spiritual sandstorms that keep blasting you, giving you grit in your teeth and making it hard to breathe? I do. I live in the desert and I understand the dirt storms that resemble those seen in the movie Hidalgo. But how often do these storms in our lives keep us from running into the enemy’s landmines that we don’t know are there?

In a personal experience, three years ago my parents and I were moving from one place southeast of El Paso, TX, to where we are now. We have a mobile home and had been working all but non-stop to get the house ready. But we lived in a farm area and our house was the biggest thing the house-movers had ever moved. It rained heavily for a few days right when we were supposed to make the move, leaving a lot of slimy mud. We had to wait a week. It was frustrating because we wanted to get the job done. But we learned later that the reason for the rain and preventing us from moving the house was to give us rest. We would not have rested had this not happened. And we needed it, despite not wanting to admit it.

We have to remember that God is sovereign over all the weather, all the conditions that we cannot control. He can change them in an instant. Jesus spoke to a storm and it calmed. He also sent hail to wipe out an army. He has it all under control and he will direct the weather to get you where you need to be. He will direct the weather to aid you in your battles and to protect you from battles you should not fight. But you need to trust him. He will get you where you need to be. He may stick you in the backside of a desert for 40 years as he did with Moses, but in all he does he is training you and preparing you for a destination where he will receive glory through your life. It is not going to be clear, calm, and comfortable all the time. We’ll go through heat and cold. Wind and calm. Clear and obscure. Rain, snow, and sometimes, hail. Tornados, hurricanes, and earthquakes. And peaceful, calm, perfect. Every one of these we face, is for making us more like Christ and bringing us closer to the destination God has planned.

Next week, I’ll address terrain. Sun-Tzu devotes two chapters to terrain and I could easily do an entire series on that alone. But I’ll keep it to one post and hope this will help you understand knowing what ground you are fighting on and how it plays a role into your strategies.