by Tad Lindley
Warning: The following article contains graphic depictions of violence that may not be suitable for those wishing to remain discouraged.
And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. (Matthew 11:12)
Why I don’t have a TV
I can hardly claim to be an expert on the subject of television. Even in our modern nation, there are many who choose not to have TV in their home because of the violence on it. We have not had a TV in our home for about sixteen years. The fact of the matter is that if TV had the right kind of violence on it, we would be a different nation today. Unfortunately, there are certain violent acts that Hollywood is scared to show the people.
The Bible says that the kingdom of heaven permits violence, and the violent take it by force. That’s a strange verse of scripture. By itself it would make us wonder if we shouldn’t back up our preaching with gunpowder and lead. Then we read in II Corinthians what kind of violence the Lord is referring to. He isn’t suggesting that we fly planes into buildings, or blow up buses full of innocent people. That’s man’s answer. But the Lord tells us, “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds” (10:4).
King J’phat’s firepower
The weapons of our warfare, the instruments of violence that the saints of God use in the Bible are mighty. King Jehoshaphat’s people were about to be overrun by three hostile nations (II Chronicles 20). Then King J’phat decided to get violent with them: “They think they’re big just because they have better weapons and better transportation? We’ll see about that.” No, he didn’t go down to the armory and start handing out Uzis; the king went to God and declared a nationwide fast. POW!!! Ammonites take that! Our weapons are mighty. I’ll never understand why President Bush didn’t call on our nation to fast before he ordered the attack on Iraq. Fasting is one of the most powerful weapons known to the kingdom of God.
Then the people got even more violent. They formed a riotous mob at the temple in Jerusalem and began to pray. BAM!!! Take that, Moabites! The Lord came through with a powerful message to the people. He moved on the prophet Jahaziel who declared the word of the Lord: “The battle is mine; you all just show up and look pretty.”
The violence escalated – they unholstered their praise
The dangerous thing about violence is that it escalates. In this case it got way, way out of hand. Not only were the people of Judah fasting, but they were praying, and then things really snowballed. When they marched out to confront the enemy, they sent the choir out front of the soldiers. And the choir was praising God. They were thanking the Lord before the battle was ever joined. BIF!!! Silly Meunites, you can’t touch God’s people!
As they un-holstered their praises, and launched their worship, and rattled away with shouting to the King of Kings, the Lord set ambushments against the enemy, and when the Israelites came upon the enemy, they were already dead!
Wrong kind of violence in Hollywood
That’s the kind of violence there’s not enough of on television. In fact there’s not enough of that kind of violence in our classrooms or our communities. I might be interested in television if the hero was popping off praises to the Lord instead of 9mm rounds. I might not be so against it if they actually showed people solving their problems with the right kind of violence.
If you find that you are up against a battle that is bigger than you are, may I recommend getting spiritually violent? Addictions, ungodly lifestyles, bitterness, anger, depression, hurt, and loneliness can all be overcome by the weapons of our warfare: prayer, fasting, and praise. Notice as you go back and read II Chronicles 20 for yourself, the Jewish people were shouting, praising, and worshipping before they ever had the victory. If you are struggling, may I suggest that it’s time for us to turn off our TVs and really get violent. In Jesus’ name.
Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church.