2002-09-30 - Leaving Chard
Joel 2:12 "'Yet even now,' declares the Lord, 'return to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, weeping, and mourning; and rend your heart and not your garments.'"
September 30th is not a huge day in history it seems. It was on September 30, 1800 that normal relations were restored between France and the United States. It was on September 30, 1970 that the New American Bible was first published. A version name that apparently never caught on. It was also on September 30, 1644 that king Charles I set out from Chard with about 5,500 foot soldiers and 4,000 horse. He then dined with Lord Pauler at Hinton St. George and quartered at South Perrot during the English Civil War. You might say "So what?" to the last one or to all three but there is always something to be learned from history.
So this is the 358th anniversary of the King setting out from Chard. I assure you that we at cfdevotionals will be the only group remembering this day. However, as many of us are Americans and many others from the UK, I thought I would take a day and remind us of how Christians have traditionally went to war. Christians go to war seeking the will of the Lord only. They go in the name of truth and they do so prayerfully before they go. And, even though I would have lined up on the other side of Charles I, I know that his troops and the troops on the side with the Parliament would have both taken a day before battle to pray and fast and seek the Lord before they engaged in conflict. An amazing thought but in truth that is what they did. They prayed and fasted before they went to battle and they did so on both sides.
I try to keep up with the news and I may have missed it, but I have not heard anyone calling for people to pray and fast concerning the impending war with Iraq. I have not heard one spiritual leader nor have I heard one political leader making such a statement or suggestion. I can't help but think this is an oversight that should not be taken lightly. I don't expect those outside of Christ to be seeking the Lord on any issue, but Christians ought everywhere to pray. There should be a call to thoughtful prayer and seeking the Lord on every issue, but when a nation is going to war, even more so. Some Christian leader ought to be speaking out. Some political leader who has a walk with Christ ought to call us to seek the Lord.
It really is not only something major like going to war that should lead us to seek Christ. We should be seeking Christ in all things. That is why the verse we started with is so helpful. It tells us to rend our hearts and not our garments. In other words it is the inward disposition that needs to be examined and transformed more than the outward appearance. This was the condemnation of Christ to the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23:25 when he chides them for cleaning the outside of the cup while on the inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence.
Going to war is no small matter and it ought to humble us into a prayerful attitude and demeanor. Christians have been driven to prayer through adversity in the past and there is no reason why we should not use such events in our current experience to do the same today. If you spend any time in the Old Testament you know the results of going into battle without the Lord's blessing. Time and time again when the Lord is not behind the large army, the smaller, seemingly helpless army wins the day. It is like this in life also and it is a good lesson for us to seek the Lord in all things and seek to be within His will.
Soli Deo Gloria,