Even though Christmas is over and all the decorations are put away, one of my favorite Christmas stories is still fresh in my mind. The story is Cosmic Christmas (more recently released as An Angel’s Story) by Max Lucado, and it is essentially Lucado’s imagination of the angels’ involvement in the birth of Christ and Satan’s attempts to thwart their efforts.
I think my favorite character in Cosmic Christmas is an angel named Sophio. His job is to speak truth to the troops in order to strengthen them and combat the devil’s lies. While the other angels are staying alert to all that is going on around them or are fighting battles with demons, Sophio is keeping his eyes on the Father at all times so that he is not distracted by anything. He then speaks truth. Constantly. Continually. Sometimes in the ear of one angel or another. Sometimes aloud for all to hear. But, those truths flowing from his mouth strengthen and save the other angels on multiple occasions.
Cosmic Christmas is just one author’s imaginings of events in the heavenlies. But, in Dt 20:2-4, I see people – real people of history – doing the exact same thing Sophio did in Lucado’s story. As God gave the Israelites instructions regarding every aspect of life, He included instructions regarding warfare. The priests were supposed to go out among the people and speak truth to them. Read with me what they were supposed to say…
Do not be fainthearted. Do not be afraid, or panic, or tremble before them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.
Is that not awesome? Can you imagine being continually girded up with such words as you are going out into battle? I’m sure the furtherance of this was that the priests were to remind the people specifically of some of the ways God had worked in their history. His mighty acts. His miraculous interventions. The reminder that the same God who had worked all of those miracles was still fighting for them this day. How awesome! How uplifting! How strengthening!
There are days when I am fighting my battles that I hunger for that type of strengthening. I hunger to have someone pour truth into me. Instead, so many times I get a nice little pat on the back from someone and an empty promise of, “It’s all going to work out. I’m sure it will fine. Everything will work out eventually.” That’s not truth. That’s not the word of God. That is no encouragement. But, that’s what we as believers often give each other. Emptiness.
We are a priesthood of believers. In the Old Testament the job belonged to one tribe – the descendants of one man. But, since the death and resurrection of Christ, the job belongs to all of us. This not only means that we have direct communion with God, it also means that we are responsible to speak truth into one another’s lives. We are not individuals each fighting our own battles, just us and the Lord. We are a community. A priesthood bonded together by the blood of Christ. And we are supposed to work, live, and fight as a community. While one fights, another prays, and yet another speaks the truth of God’s Word into the soldier’s life. Then when the roles shift, someone else speaks truth while another fights and another prays.
Who around you needs a Sophio? An encouraging priest? What words of truth can you whisper in their ears to strengthen them? Not just a pat on the back, but real words of truth. God’s Word.
Or are you in the middle of the battle? Don’t distance yourself from your fellow believers. Ask the Lord to send you someone who will speak His truth into your heart! And when He sends your Sophio, listen to him! Receive God’s Word spoken to you! For with that truth, you will win your battles.