The Promised Warrior

Pastor Jon Brohn

Isaiah 42:13 (EHV) The Lord will set out like a hero. Like a warrior, he will work himself into a frenzy. He will shout. Yes, he will raise a war cry. He will be heroic against his enemies.

My dear friends in Christ,

The battle looms. We live in a world where little kids fight, gunshots are heard nightly in some neighborhoods, and we have the most armed conflicts of any period in history. We see hostility between races, between political parties, and within families. We have economic wars, wars on drugs, the coming space wars, and more. We live in a world at war, and in one way or another we all feel like casualties.

Do we realize that there is an even bigger, all-out war going on? It started long ago and has claimed billions and billions of casualties. That war included the single most horrendous and world-changing battle of all time. At the center of the war, in the middle of that world-changing battle, is a warrior. The Warrior. He’s the one God promised to send. Listen to the way Isaiah described him:

The LORD will set out like a hero.
Like a warrior, he will work himself into a frenzy.
He will shout. Yes, he will raise a war cry.
He will be heroic against his enemies. (Isaiah 42:13 EHV)

Can you picture the scene? The threat of war hung over the world almost from the very beginning. God barely had time to rest from his creating work when the enemy reared his ugly head. Satan brought sin into the world by tempting Adam and Eve to disobey God’s command. Satan came ready to fight, and he is fierce. Peter described him like “a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8 EHV). He has been there since the beginning, and is spoiling for a fight! He wants to make us casualties of war.

Look just over Satan’s shoulder. Behind him is a massive army, too numerous to count. The soldiers of this sinful world spread around us and continually tighten the circle. Each snarling soldier is ready to use every weapon at their disposal. We talked about some of them before. Let’s not forget about weapons like coronavirus and cancer, poverty and hunger. The world’s army is at war with us and threatens to turn us into casualties.

We don’t have to look very far for the other enemy we face. Just take a look in the mirror. What do we see? Fear? “I am weak and inadequate.” “I am ugly and undesirable.” “I am a failure.” “I don’t know who I am!” If we look a little closer, we find perhaps the most frightening enemy of all—aging, and right along with it, death. Remember what today is? Ash Wednesday. At the end of the service, everyone who comes forward will receive ash on their forehead or hand. I will say to each one: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Casualties of war!

As we consider the enemies surrounding us, a cry starts deep in our hearts. We feel like casualties of the war that rages around us. We are desperate and weary and in need of help. When the apostle Paul took an honest look at his own life, he said it like this: “What a miserable wretch I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24 EHV).

The battle looms. One man, one brave man steps forward to rally his troops. He is willing to lead them into certain death. Before they go, he will stir them up with bold words of courage and whip them into a frenzy. His words surge like fire and they follow him as one, roaring into the fray. The battle looms, and a Warrior leads them. In J.R.R. Tolkien’s trilogy The Lord of the Rings, Aragorn, the true king, prepared his soldiers for battle.

That’s what good leaders do—they prepare their troops for battle. They pump them up. They get the adrenaline flowing. Just ask anyone who plays on a sports team. The coach gives them a “pep-talk.” They listen to music. They gather together and shout or chant. Just watch NFL players run out onto the field roaring for the game to begin. Listen to the music at the beginning of an NBA game as the players walk out on the court. They begin the game believing that they are not losers, but winners. They are not casualties, but champions.

Now, watch our Promised Warrior stride onto the battlefield.

The LORD will set out like a hero.
Like a warrior, he will work himself into a frenzy.
He will shout. Yes, he will raise a war cry.
He will be heroic against his enemies. (Isaiah 42:13 EHV)

This Warrior is certainly not a weakling who cringes in fear before his enemies and surrenders without a fight. He is a man of war who knows what battles are all about and is strong enough, well-armed enough to take on the strongest adversary and largest army. Who do you think threw Satan out of heaven? When Joshua was near Jericho, whose walls were about to fall, who was that man “standing right there in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand” (Joshua 5:13 EHV)? Who single-handedly struck down 185,000 experienced Assyrian soldiers when they came to destroy Jerusalem? The LORD of hosts of the Old Testament was none other than Jesus himself! This Warrior has thousands of years of experience in war, and he has yet to lose. He is definitely not a wimp! This Warrior works himself into a frenzy; he gets pumped for the coming struggle. He loves the people he created, and he is jealous when enemies try to take them away! Jesus is not a casualty. He’s the Champion!

Where is his roaring battle cry? I haven’t heard it—have you? Where are the Warrior’s miracles for us like the ones he did in ancient times? The Warrior’s battle cry is there. Listen for a moment. What do we hear?

  • A newborn’s cry, weak and frail, mewling in a manger...
  • A teenager’s voice, cracking and uncontrolled as he asks questions in the temple...
  • A teacher’s voice, gentle, yet filled with authority, speaking of repentance and the kingdom of heaven...
  • A healer’s voice uttering words with power, “Get up, take your stretcher, and go home” (Matthew 9:6 EHV)...
  • A friend’s voice, tempered by grief and touched by tears, shouting, “Lazarus, come out!” (John 11:43 EHV)...
  • A Son’s voice, strained by anguish and unimaginable pain, barely uttering the words, “Let this cup pass from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39 EHV)...
  • A Warrior’s voice, as the battle nears its end simply saying, “Tetelesthai,” “It is finished!” (John 19:30 EHV).

The Promised Warrior’s triumphant war cry means that he has defeated every last enemy. His death crushed Satan’s power and the world’s evil attacks. His cry of triumph means that all our sin and guilt is forgiven. The Warrior clothes us with his victory. His perfection covers us. The Old Testament gospel writer Isaiah described it like this: “Speak to the heart of Jerusalem and call out to her. Her warfare really is over. Her guilt is fully paid for” (Isaiah 40:2 EHV). We are not casualties. We are champions!

Do you need to hear that this week? I know I do. The news is filled with dire predictions of all the possible ways this world is headed for destruction. Words like pandemic, stock market losses, abortion legislation, politics, workplace/ school/ church shootings, global warming, climate change... the list goes on and on. We live in a world at war. How are we going to survive? How will we survive if we get sick, or we lose our life savings, or the person we didn’t vote for is elected, or if the polar ice pack melts and the oceans rise? Remember, we are not casualties. We are champions. We have the Promised Warrior on our side. His voice, his battle cry stirs us up so that we can survive and thrive.

Yesterday, I was going through Psalm 91 during our afternoon Bible study at Oak Ridge Place. We came to these concluding verses, and I thought to myself, “I hear the Promised Warrior’s battle cry!” Listen:

14 The LORD says,
Because he clings to me, I will rescue him.
I will protect him, because he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him.
I will be with him in distress.
I will deliver him and I will honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him,
and I will let him see my salvation. (Psalm 91:14-16 EHV)

Can you hear Jesus raise his war cry, a cry as gentle on our ears as a mother reassuring her child? I will rescue...I will protect...I will answer...I will be with...I will deliver...I will honor...I will satisfy...I will let him see my salvation. Salvation. That’s what it’s all about! We are not casualties. We are champions. Thanks to Jesus, our Promised Warrior, we win. End. Of. Story. Amen.