A good general is not surprised at the outbreak of war because he knows that only an equilibrium leads to the suspension of war. And remember that a suspension is a temporary halting of proceedings and not the end of it! A good general knows that there is peace only because there is equilibrium. He is, therefore, aware that the possibility exists for a fight to erupt at any time when there is no stability.
Now the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle, and were gathered together at Shochoh, which belongeth to Judah, and pitched between Shochoh and Azekah, in Ephesdammim. And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and pitched by the valley of Elah, and set the battle in array against the Philistines. And THE PHILISTINES STOOD ON A MOUNTAIN ON THE ONE SIDE, AND ISRAEL STOOD ON A MOUNTAIN ON THE OTHER SIDE: and there was a valley between them.
A good general also knows that a war will erupt when the balance of power changes. Dear leader, do not be surprised when war erupts or when there is a new battle. Remember that it is not good for a leader to be surprised at the outbreak of war and trouble. These are to be expected!
A good general knows that peace exists only because there is equal strength on both sides of the divide. That is equilibrium! Until the Russian-Ukraine crisis, there had been peace in Europe because Europe is an armed camp! Many nuclear powers lie silently by each other in Europe. All the key nations of Europe are armed to the teeth with the most sophisticated weapons ever known to man. Because of this, no one wants to attack the other.
The armies of Israel were in equilibrium with the armies of the Philistines. There was no breakthrough; there was a stalemate. Then suddenly, with the death of Goliath, Israel gained the upper hand and the equilibrium was broken. The suspended war was suddenly back in full force. The equilibrium had been broken by the death of the Philistine giant, Goliath.
Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled. AND THE MEN OF ISRAEL AND OF JUDAH AROSE, AND SHOUTED, AND PURSUED THE PHILISTINES, until thou come to the valley, and to the gates of Ekron.
And the wounded of the Philistines fell down by the way to Shaaraim, even unto Gath, and unto Ekron.
1 Samuel 17:51-52
Many good men have had to fight battles they did not expect. David, for instance, found himself in a position of being pursued by Saul. Because of the insecurities Saul tried many times to kill the David. Later, he tried to get his son Jonathan and all his servants to kill David. David was in a battle he had not planned for!
And SAUL SPAKE TO JONATHAN HIS SON, AND TO ALL HIS SERVANTS, THAT THEY SHOULD KILL DAVID. But Jonathan Saul’s son delighted much in David: and Jonathan told David, saying, Saul my father seeketh to kill thee: now therefore, I pray thee, take heed to thyself until the morning, and abide in a secret place, and hide thyself: And I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where thou art, and I will commune with my father of thee; and what I see, that I will tell thee. And Jonathan spake good of David unto Saul his father, and said unto him, Let not the king sin against his servant, against David; because he hath not sinned against thee, and because his works have been to thee-ward very good: For he did put his life in his hand, and slew the Philistine, and the LORD wrought a great salvation for all Israel: thou sawest it, and didst rejoice: WHEREFORE THEN WILT THOU SIN AGAINST INNOCENT BLOOD, TO SLAY DAVID WITHOUT A CAUSE?
1 Samuel 19:1-5
Do not be surprised that you have to fight and fight and fight again. Do not think of resting or taking your ease whilst you are on this earth. As a teenager, you will fight to be a good Christian. When you are in your twenties, you will also fight to serve the Lord. In your thirties, you will have to fight the good fight of faith. There is a battle waiting for you at every stage of life. It is not a good thing that you should be surprised at the presence of conflict or difficulty. You should rather expect war, trouble, conflict and difficulty. To not expect war is to be simple minded!
Culled from A Good General”
By Dag Heward-Mills
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