The Israelite War Cry

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, January 31, 2014 7 comments

“Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage, do not be afraid neither be thou dismayed, for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” ~Joshua 1:9 NKJV

One of the biggest challenges many professing Christians in America face is the realization that we are at war. In America, we are not challenged like the Christians in the Middle East, or China, or Vietnam, or North Korea. And when we are, we tend to blow it off. We don’t realize that we have an enemy out there whose sole purpose is to steal, to kill, and to destroy. We also don’t realize that God has empowered up and equipped us to face this foe and push his forces back. As Christians, we live in enemy territory. We are in the world but not of it. We are ambassadors to this world. This is not our home. We are sent into the world, not to suffer, not to endure persecution. Though that is what best proves our faith, that is not why we are still on this planet as a Christian. Our purpose, for still being here as a born-again Christian, is to go out and rescue the lost. To go and declare war not on the lost but against the powers of darkness, against the authorities that imprison the lost. And God has equipped up to do that job. He sends us out as sheep amongst wolves, but we serve a God who loves to do the impossible. And to demonstrate his power and his glory, he loves to put us in impossible situations. So when we face such impossible odds, let us go forth and charge to claim the victory that God has promised up. Why should we fear defeat when God does not send us out to lose but to win?

One reason we don’t make a stand in this war is because we lack a war cry. I never bought into a war cry for the longest times. I always saw it as a waste of energy and a waste of your voice. I understood the arguments of how it riles you up and how it is meant to invoke fear into your enemy. But I did not understand how it really worked, until this last year when I heard a short sermon from Eric Ludy, the senior pastor at the Ellerslie Mission Society in Northern Colorado. The short sermon was about the war cry used by the Israelite army, particularly when conquering the Promised Land. And that was war cry is “Rak Chazak!”

What is this? What does it mean? It comes from the phrase Rak Chazak Amats. Let us define these words and you can find them in your Strong’s Concordance in Joshua 1:6,7, and 9.

“Rak”: It is a plead, an emphasis. If only we could be this, if only you would do that. Rak is that cry where all you need is this or that which follows it. In Joshua 1:7, Rak translates into the NKJV as “only.”. A special plead to follow through with what follows.

“Chazak” means to stand firm, to hold your ground. In all three verses it says “Be Strong”. It means to strengthen, to fortify, to withstand, to prevail. It means to be the man. Chazak is what it is to take a look at your opponent in the eye, to grip your sword so tightly that your hand will clave to it. Chazak is what it takes to tell your opponent, “I don’t care who you are, how big you are, how strong you are, how many you have, you are going DOWN!”

“Amats” is the rest of it. Chazak means to be strong. Amats means to be courageous or to be of good courage. Amats is the unwavering, unyielding confidence of victory before the field is ever taken. It is being alert and ready for anything Amats does not care about the odds, it does not care about the impossibilities. Amats says, “Let’s get this job done!” What examples do we have of what Chazak and Amats looks like? What about David versus Goliath. This is not just a mere story of the little guy beating the big guy. This really happened. There was a real David and there was a real Goliath. And David slew the giant with Chazak and Amats. What about his Mighty Men? Jashobeam killed 800 men in one battle. Eleazar stood and defended a field to the point where his hand literally froze to his sword. He could not let it go. Three of David’s Mighty Men drew water from the well of Bethlehem, while it was occupied from the Philistines. They traversed 12 miles of rocky, mountainous terrain, fighting through a Philistine garrison, drew the water, and fought their way back with the Philistines on their tails. Just for a cup of water for King David. That is Chazak and Amats. The list in 2 Samuel 23 goes on.

What would happen today if we as believers got Chazak and Amats? What would that look like? What would it look like if we were to fearlessly proclaim the truth of the Gospel of Christ no matter what the odds, no matter what opposition came our way? What would it look like if we were to hunker down and fight our battles on our knees in prayer? What would it look like if we were to get off our comfortable seats and go to the places that most won’t? What if we were to do more than just feed the hungry, but spend time with them? Listen to their stories? What about the starving in Africa, or the victims of the cartel and gang violence of Juarez, Mexico? What about your neighbors who are struggling to make ends meet? What would it look like for the church to be the church?

Rak Chazak! We cannot let ourselves get comfortable. We have an enemy that is out to not just destroy us but to get us to believe we are ineffective for the battle. All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. Some 150,000 people die every day and go to hell because they have not accepted the gift of Jesus Christ. What are we doing about it? Our generation today is the first generation that has ever lived that can get the Gospel to every person on this planet. And the Bible is available in more formats and languages than ever before. What are we doing with this amazing opportunity? Rak Chazak, Worldview Warriors!

Our enemy is going to fight to keep you from engaging in the battle. If you are not fighting, he won’t worry about you and he will continue to devour whom he can devour. What if you can rise up and make a stand, take the hit so that someone else does not have to? What if you can draw the enemy’s attention towards yourself so that someone else can get a chance to get back onto his feet? You have the skills and the armory to fight against this enemy. Will you? Rak Chazak!

No matter what the enemy throws at you. No matter what odds you face. You serve a God who loves to do the impossible. So charge forward with the confidence and faith that he will come through. Take your orders from the true Commander-in-Chief, Jesus Christ. We go in as sheep, but the sheep of our God will beat the wolf pack. Do not be afraid! Stand your ground! The victory is yours! Go out and claim it! RAK CHAZAK!


Manny Gil said...

Powerful word Brother! It is definitely a call to all Christians. Thank you for writing this. May God give you more to write & to share. Chazak!


Charlie said...

Thanks for reading this post. This was my second post with Worldview Warriors three years ago, and yes, God has given me PLENTY to write and share. When I was writing this, I seriously wondered if I would run out of material, but God just keeps it coming and right now, I have enough material where 2017 will end before I finish with what I have now. I am glad you were encouraged with this post. I recommend checking this link to hear Eric Ludy's original message on this which inspired this post.

Unknown said...

Thnx for the inspiring word brethren. We are indeed in an enemy territory and this calls for utmost alertness and readiness. This is a good message to nourish our spirits and develop us into concrete spiritual maturity. I've been in spiritual warfare for long till I came to realise the secret weapon the devil uses to defeat us, and that's instilling fear in us and making us feel inferior. Having realised the authority God has granted me, I have managed to overcome the enemy and restored the peace I longed for. The battles still continues and am glad God gives me victory every time. Glory be to God, The Almighty. I feel empowered, encouraged, renewed and motivated to move on. We are indeed meant to overcome. Glory unto our Savior Jesus Christ.

Charlie said...

Thanks for reading this. See my comment above yours to get the link to the message by Eric Ludy where I picked this up from.

Charlie Wolcott

Anonymous said...

Would you say Rak Chazak Amats with men and women? Could you write out how to pronounce it? Thank you!

Charlie said...


Yes, you would say it with both men and women? Even though it tends to be a "manly" aspect, it is something that applies to both genders.

This link is where I got the inspiration for this post from and in it Eric Ludy gives the proper pronunciation.

The best I could do it writing it out would be as such.
Rak: "Rock"
Chazak: ck (as in blo'ck') a sock
Amats: a "mots" (as in 'mot'ly).

I hope that helps.

Sean Ireland said...

This war cry has stirred something in my heart and life. I am encouraged that I am not abandoned God our Father does not leave alone as orphans. Thanks for the post.