“And King Jehoram went out od Samaria at that time and mustered all Israel. Then he went and sent word to Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, saying, ‘The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you go with me to fight against Moab?’ And he said, ‘I will go up; I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.’ “ 2 Kings 3:6-7, NASB.
Soldiers rarely get to pick the cause they fight for. Soldiers choose to fight for nation or for a king. They rarely get to choose whether the nation’s objective is worthy or if the king’s rationale is just. They are, after all, soldiers.
When the king of Israel asked the king of Judah to join him in the fight against Moab, there was no poll taken fo the foot soldiers. The kings did not make long and compelling speeches to gain adherence. They simply committed their forces to one another. This seems obvious to us. Of course no one asks the soldiers! That’s crazy! That’s chaos! That’s ridiculous!
I get that. I do. but as I pondered on this, two applications came to mind. First is contemporary: Why is there such an uproar to remove monuments to great leaders of men that led well in the civil war? How do we look at monuments to Generals Lee or Bragg and seek to remove the monuments based on the cause they led troops in? Are we under the impression that these generals should have deserted their posts? Should they have led men to ignore their orders to fight? Would we really advocate for a military that considered the instructions of civilian leadership and then decided if they would lead their armies to act for or against those orders? Coups have begun this way. In fact, that is the definition.
Soldiers follow orders. The Continental Army knew they were rebelling against lawful authority (in fighting the motherland) and they did it…but no one asked the private on the front line. For that matter, no one asked General Washington what he thought. The governing body gave him instructions to fight and win…and our cause was one of rebellion! No one has suggested removing him from the dollar bill have they? Nor should they since he led with honor, distinction and was effective in executing his mission.
Now I don’t really care if a person thinks the cause fo the CSA was just. It is not essential to the question at hand…what role did Generals Lee, Bragg, Polk, Benning, or Jackson have in shaping the policy leading up to the war? They had minimal influence, but they did lead well and that is deserving of recognition. (Consequently, I find Dr. ML King Jr to be one of my greatest heroes, but I disagree with some of his personal life choices, including his adulterous affairs; however, I can separate his cause from some of his actions. I would not call for a removal of his memorial because he sinned. I believe influence of his life is greater than the individual parts. Why is not this the same approach for these generals?)
Second, by way of application we can learn something from just being a horse. When we yield to Jesus as King, we “join a heavenly army” (excuse the analogy if it seems too militant for you). He is Sovereign Ruler over our lives. We yield to follow His commands and instructions, period. To ignore Him is to commit treason. It is to rebel. If He says bear witness and make disciples…to do anything else is to be AWOL. When He says to “be holy as I am holy,” to ignore is to declare your independence from Christ. As servants/soldiers/ followers/disciples, we have only one appropriate response to our Leader…Yes Lord!
Today, be a good horse. 🙂