Spiritual Warfare Basics: Five Principles: The Moral of the People

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, February 27, 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.

The most important of the five key principles that Sun-Tzu talks about to open up The Art of War is “The Way” or “The Moral of the People.” This addresses the willingness, and the desire of the people to follow their leaders. A general has no army if his soldiers do not follow him. This post was saved for last in this sub-series because this is what is required of us as Christians. Now, one thing I want to make clear: God is unlike any other general we can observe in history. God does not require our devotion to get done what he wants done. He will get it done no matter what we say or do. But he desires us to take part in his plan. And when we serve him with full devotion, leaving absolutely nothing behind and giving him everything we have to offer, we get to see God display his power and glory. So buckle up. This is where the fun begins.

To illustrate this concept, I want to look at two historical events: the Vietnam War and the showdown between David and Goliath. In the Vietnam War, there was 80% support of the American people for the early part of the conflict. But when the Vietnamese launched the “Tet Offensive” in 1968, things changed. This massive 100+ simultaneous attack strategy revealed to us that the US was not winning, despite winning every military engagement. When the videos of the aftermath and the US retaliation to the offensive came to the mainland, the morale and support for the war plummeted. In the years that followed, more and more people hated the war and worse, hated the troops. The North Vietnamese did not win a single military engagement with US troops, but they won where it mattered the most: in the hearts of the people at home. Without the support of the people at home, our soldiers in Vietnam could no longer do anything.

Then we have the situation between David and Goliath. Saul had been king for a number of years and had waged war on the Philistines and the Amalekites. But because of his disobedience, God rejected him as the king. But the wars were still going. The Philistines had long overpowered Israel and one thing was prevalent throughout Saul’s rule: the armies did not trust him as a leader. He was head and shoulders above everyone else, tall, strong, the best the physical side of things had to offer. But he could not maintain the will of the people. Go ahead and read the set up of the scene in 1 Samuel 17.

Goliath was the champion of the Philistines. His mere presence commanded the will of his army. And in 1 Samuel 17:11, we see that everyone was terrified. Saul, the appointed king and champion of Israel, would not fight nor did he do anything to match the challenge. David, however, entered the scene and with one look at Goliath, he sees that with God’s help he could take him down. Entire sermon series can be made about the rest of this encounter, but suffice it to say, David struck down Goliath. From that point on, he commanded the will of the people. David’s dedication and his command and care for his people proved its worth.

Even when David was an outcast, his character and his presence retained a loyalty and a service that could not be outmatched. All you have to do is look at the deeds of his Mighty Men. In one account, three of his best men overheard David longing for water from the well of Bethlehem, his hometown and now under Philistine occupation. David was hiding from Saul at the Cave of Abdullum at the time. His men traveled 12 miles of rocky, mountainous terrain to Bethlehem, fought through the garrison of Philistines, drew the water, and then retreated back 12 miles of rocky, mountainous terrain. Just for a drink of water.

Imagine if we had that kind of loyalty and devotion to our King, Jesus Christ. Imagine if we showed not just the instant obedience to our King, but developed such a close relationship that we can overhear the inner desires of our King, where we will seek to serve our King in such a way that he does not even have to give us orders. David’s three mighty men there did not even get the orders to go get water. They just overheard him wanting it and they went out and got it.

It is one thing to be a servant and only doing what we ought. What if we stepped it up and sought to find out what God wants to do and do it before he asks us to do it? As we are being conformed into the image of Christ, our will and our desires will become his will and his desires. Could we know the heart of God? We know his thoughts are above our thoughts and his ways are above our ways, but what if we had that relationship with God in the same way David’s Mighty Men had with him? It doesn’t mean it won’t be without challenge or be happy times all the time. When David’s men got the water, they were living in a cave, outcasts because of Saul. His Mighty Men themselves were outcasts, merely because of their association to David. Yet their courage and their deeds were incredible. One held a field by himself and slew a garrison. Another killed 800 Philistines. Another fought until his hand grew tired and cleaved to his sword, to where he could not let it go. To do such deeds, it requires the dedication, loyalty, and perseverance to step way beyond yourself and serve your King to the best you know how.

But what happens if we don’t show this type of loyalty? What happens when we don’t serve our King and follow him? God will still get done what he wants done. But if we won’t obey him, he will find someone else who will. God will still get it done, but we will be left out. God deserves our devotion and loyalty simply because he is God and we are not. And history does not paint a good picture for those who won’t listen to him. In a similar way that Jehu was sent to kill Joram and Jezebel, the son and wife of Ahab, and claim the throne for the Lord, Jesus will come and overthrow the Ruler of the Air once and for all. And as with Jehu, two watchmen asked what Jehu was there to do and they chose to side with the conquering king. Let us also side with the conquering King. Let us serve him will full loyalty and devotion.

With this, we conclude the mini-series on the five key principles Sun-Tzu uses to open The Art of War. We have addressed what this spiritual war is about. We have addressed the importance of knowing ourselves and knowing our enemies. We have addressed some of the equipment and tools that both sides of this war have at our/their disposal. And we just finished with understand the five key principles we must understand to be successful in battle. Now, we will explore some of the tactics the enemy uses against us so we can recognize what they are, how they come, and what to do about it.

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