The family of Jediael counted the number of family members according to how many of them were ready for war:
‘All these were the sons of Jediael according to the heads of their fathers’ houses, mighty warriors, 17,200, able to go to war’ – 1 Chronicles 7:11 (ESV)
They counted those who are combat ready because this was the number that mattered above everything else. What counted on the day of battle was not a man’s popularity, postal address or what clothing brands he wore, but whether or not he was ready for war.
The very same principle applies today. The reality is that we are all in the midst of a battle. But this battle is not against people, but against the devil – and the battle is not for soil, but for the souls of people:
‘We are not fighting against [people] but against evil spirits in the heavenly places’ – Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)
Paul understood the need to remain in a state of ‘readiness for war’, knowing that the devil is always looking for an opportune time to attack:
‘When the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from [Jesus] until an opportune time’ – Luke 4:13 (ESV)
In order to be ready for war we need to be sufficiently equipped, trained, and strong enough to engage an enemy. The good news is that God has prepared all these things for those who want to be ready.
Firstly, he has provided us all with the equipment we need:
‘Put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm’ – Ephesians 6:13 (NLT)
Secondly, although it’s wise to receive training from others, it’s ultimately God who trains us for battle:
‘Praise God… who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle’ – Psalm 144:1 (NIV)
Finally, God provides all the strength we need to engage our enemy and remain standing:
‘Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power’ – Ephesians 6:10 (NLT)
Jesus remains absolutely focussed and committed to the mission He began at the dawn of time: to rescue people from hands of the devil so they can be restored to the Father. And today, Jesus doesn’t look for the popular or the pretty, but those who are ready for war!