Biblical Escalation of Force?

Posted: October 3, 2011 in Godly Warrior
Tags: , , , ,

Is there a Biblical model for the Escalation of Force?

I believe a partial answer can be found in the life of the Apostle Paul.

While studying Acts Chapter 14, I was struck by the way Paul and Barnabas handled both implied and direct threats to their life.

Paul and Barnabas were preaching in Iconium under a General Threat or Danger.

Acts 14:1-2 “(1) Now it happened in Iconium that they went together to the synagogue of the Jews and spoke that a great multitude both of the Jews and of the Greeks believed. (2) But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brethren.”

Their reaction to a unspecified danger or threat was to remain and press on with their mission.

Acts 14:3 “(3) Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.”

One of the primary reasons that they remained on task even in the midst of this danger, had to do with those new Christians they were leading. We must always stand in the gap when others are depending upon us. Notice that they remained in place “a long time”.

Now what happens when the environment changes from generally threatening, to a very specific, credible threat upon you?

Acts 14:5-6 “(5) And when a violent attempt was made by both the Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to abuse and stone them. (6) They became aware of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding region.”

Once the threat had moved from general to specific, it made sense to react to the threat. In this case, flee, or retreat was the right decision. Too often, Christian believe that the willingness to be faithful unto death, martyrdom, requires that we wait for it. Martyrdom is not the same as fatalism. We must be willing to die for our faith, but we must not seek it out.

So what happens when you have been caught and are facing death? We are faithful. And if they do not kill us, then we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and carry on with the mission.

Acts 14:19-20 “(19) The Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. (20) However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day departed with Barnabas to Derbe.”

He picked himself up, walked back into the city and went to bed. He left the next day on his own. Brave!

Last, but not least, what happens when the mission is over? We rest. Paul and Barnabas, having completed their 1st missionary journey, traveled home.

Acts 14:28 “So they stayed there a long time with the disciples.”

The Lord has established the concept of Sabbath, or a period of rest.

So, our reaction to danger looks like this:

General Threat – Press on with the Mission
Specific Threat – React Appropriately
Caught – Be Faithful unto Death
Survive – Return to the Battle
Success – Rest and Refit for the next tasking

Soli Deo Gloria

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