In the wake of the recent mass church shooting in Texas, thousands of congregations across the land are installing or fine tuning security measures. Common sense dictates that historically soft targets plan for the slightest chance of invasion. A small minority will resist any defensive preparations citing a twisted theology suggesting that all tragedies fall within the parameters of God’s will; therefore, what will be, will be---so be it. Even though God frequently acknowledges the presence of stupidity, He doesn’t will it. In the realm of the spiritual, lack of preparation is the grease on the skids to hell. Few desire to view their church as an armed camp which in reality is not necessary. As in the Texas case, cowards flee when lethal resistance is offered by just one person. For those who prefer Biblical accuracy over political correctness, scriptural justification for making ready arrangements is available.
When David was in hiding from a jealous King Saul, he sought help from Ahimelech the priest who occupied the Tabernacle (Old Testament version of the church – Acts 7:38). After procuring some food for his band of followers, David asked the priest if any weapon was available: “And the priest said, The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom thou slewest in the valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod: if thou wilt take that, take it: for there is none other save that here. And David said, There is none like that; give it me” (II Samuel 21:9).
An Edomite rat named Doeg was lurking in the shadows observing the transactions; the spy couldn’t wait to give Saul a report of David’s most recent whereabouts. When the king arrived with his troops, he unjustly accused Ahimelech of treachery and treason. The end result was: “And the king said to Doeg, Turn thou, and fall upon the priest. And Doeg the Edomite turned, and he fell upon the priest, and slew on that day four score and five persons that did wear a linen ephod.” It is not safe to assume that the priests were all sissy britches, lace on the underwear types. They were men among men, and many were well schooled in the arts of self-defense (See II Chronicles 26:16-20). The problem was clear---they had no weapons.
Fast forward 200 years….the temple of Solomon had replaced the Tabernacle, and the king of Judah, Ahaziah by name, had been slain by an adversary. His mother Athaliah was a woman of great political ambition and devious design: “And when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal” (II Kings 11:1). A certain princess, Johesheba, managed to rescue one young prince (Joash). “And he was with her hid in the house of the Lord six years. And Athaliah did reign over the land. And the seventh year Jehoidad (the priest) sent and fetched the rulers over hundreds, with the captains and the guard, and brought them to him into the house of the Lord, and made a covenant with them, and took an oath of them in the house of the Lord, and shewed them the king’s son” (II Kings 11:3,4).
Jehoida organized a coup d’état with the intention of installing the rightful king to a position of authority. He made provisions for an anticipated opposition on the part of Athaliah and her minions. After strategic assignments were distributed we read: “And to the captains over hundreds did the priest give King David’s spears and shields, that were in the temple of the Lord” (II Kings 11:10). It is noteworthy to observe that these weapons dated back to the days of David who must have learned a valuable lesson from the murderous deeds of Saul and Doeg. Failure to learn from history is suicide on steroids.
The seven churches of Revelation are all assigned an angel which is authorized to write information to each congregation. Every message is individualized, but the messenger is always an angel, which are generally thought to be warm, fuzzy, pink faced critters perched on a cloud with a miniature harp. Hollywood portrays them with John Travolta wearing an overcoat. Neither impression is remotely correct. The first time an angelic being shows up in Scripture is telling: “So he (God) drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life” (Genesis 3:24).
Balaam joined the Adam and Eve club when he too encountered a sword-bearing angel preventing passage (Numbers 22:22-34). As is often the case, Balaam’s donkey had more sense than he did. Joshua met an angel wielding the “sword of the Lord” to receive instructions concerning the impending battle of Jericho. It never hurts to have an engagement plan in the world of the physical or spiritual. David’s pride led him to conduct an unauthorized census which brought swift judgment from the Lord. “And David lifted up his eyes, and saw the angel of the Lord stand between the earth and heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem” (I Chronicles 21:16).
“Only by pride cometh contention..” (Proverbs 13:10). In the opinion of God, pride lies at the door of any serial killer. The Psalmist prayed, “Let not the foot of pride come against me, and let not the hand of the wicked remove me” (Psalm 36:11).
Is it possible that the angel of common sense is warning against those whose pride has convinced them they have the right to take innocent lives? By Biblical precedent preparations should be made to prevent passage to those who would do harm.