Spiritual Warfare and the Iraq War
The spiritual warfare concerning the impending war in Iraq is quickly transitioning into a new stage. Up until now, while there were still some possibilities as to whether the war would take place or not, our role was to pray for wisdom and righteousness for those in authority.
As we are now coming to the point where President Bush as commander in chief is saying, "Go, Fight, The war is on," we have to do just that. When a commanding officer gives the command to fight, it is not the time for the soldiers to question his decision.
Here are some strategy points for prayer:
1. World Policeman - It is a little over-simplistic to say that American armed forces are the world's policeman, but there is some truth to it. Saddam Hussein and his regime are criminals. They have to be stopped. There is no moral equivalency between the weapons of Iraq and the weapons of the US, any more than there is a moral equivalency between the weapons of the police force and the weapons of the mafia. This "policing" is part of the ministry of God (Romans 13:1-6).
2. Two Armies - This war will be fought on two levels, one human, the other angelic. It is the job of the coalition soldiers to fight the war on the human side. It is our job to fight the war on the angelic side. They must not fail. We must not fail. In case you need a reminder of angelic involvement in warfare, check the following passages: Exodus 14:14-25, Joshua 10:11, II Samuel 5:24, II kings 6:17, II Kings 19:35, Daniel 10:13, 20, etc. The battle must be won in the heavenlies.
3. Ungodly Union - The support of the leftists, primarily in Europe, for Hussein and the Islamic militants is bizarre. It seems to have escaped them that Islamic extremists represent the opposite of everything that is dear to liberal humanists; they desire to see the destruction of western society, all westerners converted to Islam. Can you imagine anything more incongruous than European women staging a nude peace rally in behalf militant Islamic Iraq? Let us pray to break that union (Zechariah 11:10, Luke 11:17).
4. Curse - Television cameras filmed one of the sheiks in a main mosque in Baghdad this week giving a frenzied sermon. He actually drew a sword out, recited verses from the Kuran about "leaping out from behind the rocks to kill the infidels", and started screaming, " Jihad, Jihad, kill the Jews," etc. etc. Much of this war is spiritual in nature. We have the authority to break every curse (Gal 3:13) and to bind every power of witchcraft (Luke 10:19). Those who are speaking curses are working full time. We have much more authority, but we better get to work using it.
5. Constitutional Government - Let us pray for constitutional government to be set up among the Islamic dictatorships. A constitution is a kind of covenant and therefore tends to be more biblical in nature (II Chronicles 15, 23). It doesn't solve all the problems, but part of the goal of the conflict is to replace dictatorships with functioning representative, legal governments. This is true in the Palestinian territories, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, etc.
6. Reverse Protests - It is also strange the virulence of the demonstrations against Bush and for Hussein. Where are their protests on Hussein's mass murder among the Kurds? On his stockpiling of chemical biological weapons? On his torture of his own people to gain political power? Of the absence of human rights, civil liberties and freedom of the press? Of his active support of terrorist groups? If the protestors want to stop the war, why don't they put pressure on Hussein the criminal to step down? If Hussein were to step down, the war would stop before it ever started. Are they really for peace?
7. Praying for the Military - Elisha the prophet prayed for King Joash by placing his hands over the king's hands, opening the window and telling him to shoot arrows out the window (II Kings 13). Elisha claimed that this prophetic action actually affected the outcome of the war. Let us do our part to put our hands spiritually on the king's hands in prayer as the king's forces "shoot" their arrows. Let us believe that our prayers can affect the outcome of the war. But we must "shoot".
8. Governing Authority - I was reading again this week the passages where Jeremiah prophecies that all the nations of the world are to submit to Nebuchadnezzar's authority (Chapters 27, 28, 38). Those who do will live and be blessed. Those who refuse will be punished severely. God used an ungodly Gentile king to be his instrument of governing authority in the world. Nebuchadnezzar's job was to bring law, order and basic civil justice - not to bring revival. That was the job of the prophets and the community of faith. Part of the reaction against Bush is at root a rebellion against the authority of God to rule in the government of men.
9. Aftermath - Evidence indicates that Iraq has stockpiles of biochemical weapons. This war could stop that stockpile or cause it to be released in a panic causing an epidemic. This war could cause the collapse of Islamic dictatorships and terrorism, or it could end up with it worsening. The war could bring some peace and stability for a few years in Israel or bring an intervention of foreign forces that would set the stage for a disaster later on. Many could be killed in the war, or few. Evangelism could be increased in the Middle East, or hindered. Let us pray for the outcome of this war to advance the kingdom of God and bring better conditions to the world, not the other way around.
10. Fight To Win - Paul speaks of us as believers as farmers, athletes and soldiers (I Corinthians 9). In that context of spiritual ministry, he says we are not to beat the air, but to play to win. We must pray to fight to win this war: fall of Hussein, fewer casualties, weakening of Islam, destruction of terrorism, better government for Iraq, evangelism to the Muslims. The first rule of the Israeli Army code for soldiers is "dvekut l'msima" which literally means "clinging to the assigned goal". We might say hear, focus on winning, hit the target, accomplish the task