womens bible study

The Call to Arms

The account of Exodus 13:17-18 describes Pharaoh finally conceding to let the Israelites leave Egypt and includes a couple interesting details.  The first is that they did not travel by the shorter route toward the Red Sea, and the second is that they left armed for battle.  God addressed the first by explaining that it was to avoid the Philistine country. “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” (v. 17b) It makes sense to avoid war if possible, but they were obviously anticipating they would meet with resistance of some kind.

I had to pause on these two details to contemplate how we go out from our homes every day to work, school, appointments, etc.  We generally take the shortest route because of efficiency.  But are we armed?  Should we be armed?  Do we even think about it?  Our deployed soldiers in enemy territory never go anywhere without their sidearms, often sleeping with them.  In this nation, we don’t necessarily need to be armed with a physical weapon, but it would be unwise not to be armed with our spiritual weapons.  The times are evil, and we encounter the evidence daily in man’s inhumanity to man, the effects of selfishness, greed, and lust, and the terrible sacrifice of our unborn babies to the same.  2 Corinthians 10:4 explains, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”

It is one thing to know we have spiritual weapons at our disposal, but another entirely to know how to use them.  I personally believe that is why God led the Israelites by a more circuitous route to the Red Sea: although armed, they were not prepared to fight.  In Egypt, they were so busy making bricks that there was no time for the drills and exercises of warfare.  Our problem with spiritual warfare is more complex.  Because our enemy is unseen, we tend not to think about his constant presence and strategy “to kill, steal, and destroy.” (John 10:10) Consequently, we leave home without considering we should be dressed in the armor of God (Ephesians 6: 11-17) for protection.  Worse, we are weaponless if we have not been intentional about learning scripture, as God’s Word is the sharp, double-edged sword of the Spirit.  Critical to the rest is to “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (v. 18)

Importantly, the Lord is our Protector, even as He was for the Israelites of old.  While He wants us equipped and prepared, He will pinch hit with detours or delays that are perhaps frustrating, but designed to keep us safe.  We must have the discernment to see this so that we do not grumble against God because we didn’t get that expected pay raise or that clean bill of health.  Instead, we should seize the opportunity of the reroute to learn the warfare necessary to support our Commander-in-Chief when He gives us specific battle instructions.  While He is faithful to fight for us, He will not do our job.  We have a role to play.

The desert ended up being the Israelites’ training camp, and afterwards God expected them to go in and take the Promised Land.  If we want to reclaim our nation from the evil that seems intent on sweeping away our freedoms, we must realize just how powerful our weapons are, and become skilled in their use.  “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violent assault, and violent men seize it by force [as a precious prize].” (Matthew 11:12 AMP) Do you feel equipped, or is it back to boot camp?


  1. Phil on February 13, 2024 at 10:21 pm