True or false . . . Working through the opening chapters of 1Chronicles can be kind of tough going? True. Really true! True or false again . . . the opening chapters of 1Chronicles are God-breathed, “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work?” True again! And because of this latter truth, we persevere in our reading despite the former truth.
Genealogies are not the most riveting reading. The names of who fathered who all blur together after a while. While some names are familiar, most are not. But as I slog through these first chapters of 1Chronicles what I’m particularly on the look out for are the periodic inserted editorials concerning some of these unknowns. Those breaks from the list of names meant to provide some divinely inserted “color commentary” on these mostly unknown people. While I’m sure there is a ton to be learned from researching the names themselves, I’m thinking that when the Spirit pauses to provide some additional information it’s probably prudent to pay particular attention.
They waged war against the Hagrites, Jetur, Naphish, and Nodab. And when they prevailed over them, the Hagrites and all who were with them were given into their hands, for they cried out to God in the battle, and He granted their urgent plea because they trusted in Him.
(1Chronicles 5:19-20 ESV)
“They” are the valiant men of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh who carried the shield and the sword. “Them” are some obscure, haven’t-a-clue-who-they-are enemies of “they.” And they prevailed over them. How come? Because they cried out to God in the battle. And so, it’s got me thinking about the cry from the battlefield.
The battlefield. The point past the point of no return. You’re in the fray. The enemy has been engaged, the ebb and flow of hand to hand combat has begun. You keep raising and positioning your shield to stave off life-compromising blows. You keep swinging your sword with all your might and strength desperate to gain some advantage in the conflict.
There’s a lot going on. Strategies to be formed, tactics to be executed, prisoners to be taken, casualties to be ministered to. Not the sort of situation where your first thought is to take a timeout and head into your prayer closet. But the sort of situation that compels us to cry out to God in the battlefield.
When you’re up to your eyeballs in alligators, that’s a good time for a cry from the battlefield. Urgent pleas ascending while you stave off the enemy. Desperate petition and supplication brought before the throne even as you find it hard to see past the circumstance. Though you’ve put on the full armor of God and have fully engaged the battle you still need to be”praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication” (Eph. 6:18).
And those who cry from the battlefield are those who trust in the LORD. They look up in the midst of the fray because they believe God looks down from His throne. They pause to petition for air cover because they believe there is refuge in the shadow of the Almighty’s wings. They call out even as they press in because they believe that greater is He that is in them than he that is in the world.
They cry from the battlefield because, though the battle may be fierce, they know their God is faithful.
And the victory will be won.
Because of His all sufficient grace. And for His everlasting glory.