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Singing Psalm 142 for a winning war tactic

A war tactic often encompasses these characteristics:

Hidden.

Secret.

Unannounced.

Deceptively determined.

If anything is overwhelming, it’s war. If anything is underwhelming, it’s our ability to fight the war we’re in with our own strength and thinking you can outsmart your foe. If anything is emotionally paralyzing, it’s being unaware, surprised that you are in a war.

Yet you are in a state of constant war whether or not you know it or acknowledge it. Singing Psalm 142 subtly opens your eyes to your need for reinforcements. The darkness of the night fades with the light of dawn as you sing this psalm out to the Lord.

At all times in your life, you are engaging in one war tactic or another. This article hopes to shed light on the dark, blind spots that prevent you from recognizing when you need to choose a wise war tactic. It will lay bare some of the thoughts that might pop into your mind or are planted there. They are alarming to zoom in on and examine in detail.

It’s with King Jesus in mind that you can take heart and prayerfully read on. The Lord Jesus has overcome the world and its every last war tactic.

You are in a constant state of war in your thoughts, soul, and friendships. Sometimes the war is subtle and hard to recognize. At other times it is blatant and forceful.

You can prepare yourself for the battle, but understanding that your enemy is stronger than you will serve you well to rely on the only winning war tactic there is.

Singing Psalm 142 engages you in the process of learning to trust the triune God to be your wise, winning war tactic in the continual battle you wage for your thoughts, your soul, and your friendships.

Singing Psalm 142 for a war tactic that wins every time in your thoughts

We brought war upon ourselves in Adam the moment he chose to become untethered from God.

God allowed Satan to incite David uncharacteristically to think of taking a census of his fighting men, putting his trust in man.

When you know you are in a war, though you expect casualties, it is not easy to see. And so you turn your gaze on the One who can and will undo death for all who trust him. Looking to God is the only wise and winning war tactic. It was characteristic of David to use this war tactic.

When given the choice, David asked to fall not into the hands of man but into the hands of the Lord because with the Lord, there is mercy.

Fearing the consequences, David could not deploy the only winning war tactic he knows which is to inquire before the Lord, to cry out to him at that time. But God stopped the hand of the destroying angel anyway because he is merciful indeed.

Singing Psalm 142 convinces you that you need this winning but often unused war tactic.

The biggest question to consider when you detect fear in your heart in every great and small matter is, who will you entrust yourself to: machines, man, or God?

Singing Psalm 142 displays the war tactic that calls to mind the many that oppose it. Your thoughts are prisoners of war either taken captive by the enemy for evil under the guise of success in some lesser goal to please yourself or you intentionally take your thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ for the goal of pleasing God. One is at war and diametrically opposed to the other.

Parallels from the garden are seen in Absalom’s war tactic of deception. He was an independent thinker and looked to do good in the eyes of men. And in so doing, he stole the shallow hearts of the people of Israel.

Absalom despised his father’s usual war tactic of crying out to God over his sin, depending on God for truth, and seeking to do good in God’s sight.

Whether doing reconnaissance on land, sea, or in the air, you might be tempted to engage in a war tactic that presumes your innocence making you look good while making those on whom you have a competitive eye toward look bad.

  • A surprise attack is a war tactic you might use when you wait for someone to find out the truth without telling the person, allowing a lie to fester.

  • Guerrilla warfare is a war tactic you might use when you engage in groupthink around a lie such that the truth is not even considered. This attack is first against yourself but also unwittingly leaves many relational casualties along the way.

  • Ambushes occur when you think everything is going well and then are blindsided by conflict .

  • Envelopment is a war tactic you might employ when you encircle and verbally lash from every direction detailing how wrong they are in every possible way. 

  • The blitzkrieg war tactic is the quick and dirty version of envelopment.

  • Committing the reserve is a patient approach, a war tactic to win the trust of the unsuspecting, only to use them for all you can get from them and then hurt them once they are depleted or reject them when you no longer want them.

  • Shock action uses sudden intimidation to feign strength in order to gain the upper hand.

  • Off-balancing and pinning are war tactics to kick ‘em when their down reinforcing despair.

  • Intelligence is a war tactic where you use the knowledge you have of those who have confided in you against them.

  • Deception is a war tactic telling people lies you think they want to hear to win their trust or their favor.

  • Concentration is a war tactic you might use where you verbally beat people down in a small area of life that they feel insecure about until you’ve gotten them paranoid to such a degree that all they can think about is that weakness and become defined by it in their own minds.

  • An economic sanction is a war tactic you might employ when you withhold funds necessary to live from those who are dependent on you in order to manipulate their behavior to your liking rather than to support, teach, train, and love them.

Regardless of whether you are tempted to employ or are the recipient of these relational military tactics to wage war against flesh and blood, remind yourself that your war is against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms right now. 

These forces are evil because they are self-seeking and move you to operate as if your desires are supreme.

As soon as you recognize that you are beginning to use a war tactic from the list above or one like it, or someone is using a war tactic like it against you, take a pause and consider.

The Lord provides the war tactic you need to wage a different kind of war both offensively and defensively. He moves you to care about what he thinks and to consider others more important than yourself. 

His supernatural war tactic has you willingly and even joyfully operating in ways that oppose your natural desires. He moves you to a love in and of Christ that you could never have in and of yourself.

“ Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” ~ Ephesians 6:10-12

Being strong in the Lord means admitting weakness in yourself. The winning war tactic he provides is his availability to hear your cries. Crying out to God depending on him alone as your sure, freeing, winning war tactic.

Begin with where you orient your thoughts about the reality of this present war. Although it plays out here, the war is primarily engaged in the heavens. 

The angels rejoice when you are deployed and begin to engage in the ongoing war in earnest.

You need an easy, sure, winning war tactic. And the Lord supplies it and leads you to it before you can even think to ask.

“I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me;    I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me.I said, ‘Here I am, here I am,’    to a nation that was not called by my name.” ~ Isaiah 65:1

Short time or long, you are never too far gone. The Lord’s arm is never too short to save. It’s never too late to seek God. When you hear his call, you come to him as a sheep hears his shepherd’s voice and follows him. 

He works on transforming your thinking even as you sleep.

Singing Psalm 142 for a war tactic that wins every time in your soul

“For when my soul is overwhelmed,   My every way you see.Upon the path on which I walk   Their traps were laid for me.” ~ Psalm 142:3

Perhaps you were taught things in bite-size chunks that you could manage as a child. Or it could be that the responsibility for running the household was laid up on your shoulders at a very young age. In the former situation, you were given the opportunity to become well-adjusted as you learned progressively. In the latter situation, you could not possibly learn all that you needed to without there being major holes in what you learned.

We do not learn with a cement truck full of information siphoned on a given day into our brains. Rather, we learn slowly and progressively building upon a solid foundation.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 

“All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.” ~ Philippians 3:12-16

The good news is that you can begin from right where you are using the war tactic that the Lord has provided that is supernaturally foolproof. As you cry out to him, needy, and aware of your lacking and your weakness, he will teach you, and make clear to you all you need to know, in just the right way, in just the right time, filling in every hole, and growing you into maturity in Christ.

He does this for each one of his people. He trains and comforts your soul.

Depending on the tactic, you might win a small battle employing deception, vengeance, or some other self-serving war tactic that you have been trained to use or that you have gotten into the habit of using that happens to come to mind along the way.

You might gain the part of the world you’re going after. 

But even if you gain the whole world, what good would it be if you lose the major battle for your soul in the process?

Observe the war tactic Hannah used: crying out to the Lord over being barren and taunted for it by one who had many children. 

Had Peninnah thought about the Lord as the husband God’s people share, rather than exhibit schadenfreude, she’d have had compassion on and befriended Hannah.

One God, one people correlates with one husband, one wife. The sadness is so deep in the lives of those who veered away from this model. The tragic elements in the stories of Jacob, Elkanah, and David that were borne from having more than one wife are only surpassed by the salvation the Lord wrought in their lives in spite of their covenant breaking.

Marriage points to the faithful covenant relationship God has with his people. Yet, his grace reaches covenant breakers who turn to the covenant maker and covenant keeper.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” ~ Matthew 11:28-30

The Lord Jesus is your easy, sure, winning war tactic. 

You recognize him as your good shepherd, and you hear his voice. 

You come to him at the thought level before engaging in actions, before engaging with others. 

You cry out to him. You progressively learn to be gentle and lowly in heart from him. You pour out your thoughts and the feelings that flow from them to him. 

You take his easy yoke upon you. You take your trouble to him. You carry his light burden that enables you to forgive anyone of anything and realize that others too can forgive you of anything.

The absolutely best war tactic to defeat any war tactic the enemy plants in your mind is to extend mercy and grace from the rich repository of the King of mercy and grace. 

“To You, O LORD, I lift my voice;   I supplication make.I pour my thoughts out to the LORD,   To Him my trouble take.” ~ Psalm 142:1-2

Moses, Joshua, King David, and King Jehoshaphat employed the gentle, lowly counter-intuitive, counter-cultural war tactic of depending on the Lord.

“O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” ~ 2 Chronicles 20:12

Singing Psalm 142 for a war tactic that wins every time in your friendships

“None notices. Look to my right,    No one regards me there.There’s no escape for me to take,    And none to show me care.” ~ Psalm 142:4

“As it is written:‘None is righteous, no, not one;     no one understands;    no one seeks for God.’” ~ Romans 3:10-11

Though no one else may understand how painful it is when no one cares for you, when no one understands you, God understands.

May God’s grace open your mind so that you are not unaware of the devil’s traps as was Amnon.

Had Amnon known or cared that Jonadab was a “friend” who would advise him on how to expedite fulfilling his desires without considering the consequences, without considering the truth, without considering God or anyone else, had he known he was at war with his own desires, he would have viewed Jonadab’s advice as suspect. 

He would have questioned Jonadab for suggesting deception and seen through the duplicity. 

He would have cried out to the Lord, taken himself in hand, thinking of others before himself and denied himself. 

Instead, the aftermath is recorded how Jonadab, an accomplice to rape and murder, glibly explains to King David that he should not worry himself because Absalom had only killed Amnon and not the rest of the king’s sons.

With friends like this…?

“I cried to You, O LORD, and said,    ‘You are my refuge true;And in the land of those who live,    My portion is with You.’”

“Since I’m brought low in misery.    O listen to my cry;Save me from persecuting foes    Who stronger are than I.” ~ Psalm 142:5-6

It’s not clear whether Amnon’s character was corrupted before knowing Jonadab, but keeping company with one like him either corrupted his pure heart or instigated his wicked heart to act out its wickedness.

What are some of the relational battles you are engaged in moment-by-moment?

Accusations cloaked as conversations?

Specious, lopsided reasoning designed to satisfy cravings and lust?

Hysterical worry disguised as a godly warning?

Unreasonable anger and manipulation explained away as concern for your well-being?

Being lied to, rejected, made fun of, betrayed? 

Set your mind on what’s going on in the heavens even now while you are still on this earth. You are in good company with the one who defeated your enemy in the battle against these very things on the cross.

Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father interceding for you and sent the Holy Spirit to live within you to comfort, guide, and strengthen you.

The triune God does all of the helping of his people and doesn’t need my help, your help, or their help. He sometimes has you partner with him to bless others. He prepares you for the casualties so you won’t be surprised as death, your final enemy, will temporarily knock you out and those you love.

Until then, get and keep close to Jesus. His grace is sufficient for you, empowering you to love others when you would otherwise be too weak to in and of yourself.

It is heart-wrenching to your soul to watch those you love suffer as one or another evil war tactic of the enemy seems to win. Family and friends struggle with physical or mental challenges that result in trauma or death. But in Christ’s church, we learn to have compassion on one another as the Lord has compassion on us.

Knowing that he is watching you and suffering with you, you keep your eyes on him, waiting for his restoration of all things to make every wrong right. In so doing, he supplies the perseverance of the saints. You take heart, you keep going, putting one foot in front of the other through many hardships. Your eyes are on him and your hope is in him.

You see people you don’t know very well who look like they’re hurting. You bring the image of them that you have in your mind and lift them up to the Lord letting him know what he already knows is in your heart, that you would love to know them and share the Lord with them. You pray for openings and opportunities. You remember when you did not wait for opportunities but just spoke out so that it seemed to them like you were telling them about the Lord for yourself and not really for them. 

The sadness of the misunderstandings, the miscommunications will turn into joy the moment he undoes them. It takes the triune God to turn ugly communication into something beautiful. Only he can do it, and he will do it. What a relief that you don’t have to trust in your winsomeness to convince anyone of how irresistible he is, since he makes himself irresistible to his people in his own good time. He is our shield, our stronghold defense. He is also our offense as he fights for us.

Are you tempted to give to others out of guilt for how you might have failed them rather than out of love and concern for them? Jesus saves you not only from your sin, but also from the guilt of it. The greatest war tactic of all is his freeing you to love!

If you are tempted to view others in terms of what loving them costs you emotionally, financially, physically, mentally, all you have to do is look to Jesus, and what it cost him in all those ways to redeem every aspect of you and how joyfully he paid it!! He breaks your heart, so you can resist such temptations and follow his way of loving. He is the war tactic that cures you of the urge to retreat from loving.

Thank you, Lord, for the all-encompassing way that you help your people by preserving your very words that encapsulate how to approach life in 150 songs to sing each one highlighting how to depend on you from different angles and points of emphasis in our lives.

Did you sit at a table for meals with your family growing up where you naturally learned to engage with others?

You might be surprised at conflict and need to learn the war tactic of crying out to God for help to get through it.

Were times with others few and far between where conversations were strained at best, marked mostly by swings of either uncomfortable silence or angry outbursts?

Conflict might seem to be the norm, so you need to learn the war tactic of crying out to God for hope to pass through and get on the other side of it.

Most likely it is when, not if, you find yourself in conflict. Whether it’s comfortable for you or not, you need a winning war tactic.

O Lord, intervene and help your people come to Jesus, emulate his heart, and in so doing, give Jesus to those with whom we are in conflict.

Jesus is the only winning war tactic that he himself deploys and that he supplies freely for you to partner with him in deploying it.

Pouring out your heart to him in dependence is the transformative, easy, freeing, gracious war tactic that wins the friendship of those whose character is like Christ and are worth being friends with every time. And those friendships don’t end but continue on, a blessing for all eternity.

And you praise Jesus for his faithful friendship. Just being in his company transforms your thoughts, your soul, and your friendships. He is a friend like no other!

“So, out of bondage, bring my soul    That I Your name may praise;The righteous then will join with me,    For You have shown me grace.” ~ Psalm 142:7

May 19-26, 2023


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