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The Word and the Sword

Briefing: In our training as law enforcement officers, we are taught to use our words long before we use our weapons. On the street, officers learn their verbal skills directly impact how often they have to use their physical skills. These two skill sets go hand and hand.

Dispatch (Assignment): Read Psalm 149.

On the Street: Psalm 149 can be looked at through the lens of the Christian law enforcement officer. After all, we are called in Romans 13:1-5, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.”

We are His instruments for carrying out justice. We fight God’s battles, He is neither for us or against us (Joshua 5:14), He is interested in His righteousness and we are called to come along side and carry out His judgment/sentence. We must remember God is a god of justice. Justice is His, we are fighting His battle, not our own. There is a series of verses in 2 Chronicles chapter 20 that show us this Biblical truth. 20:15, “For the battle is not yours, but God’s” verse 17, “You will not have to fight this battle.” Verse 22, “As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes” Even though you are called into law enforcement, it’s not about you or me. It is His battle and He will prevail.

We will start with God’s blessing in verse 4. “For the LORD takes delight in His people; He crowns the humble with salvation.” The verses we will discuss in Psalm 149 are addressed to these people. His people are the followers and believers of God. As New Testament believers, we acknowledge and confess that Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father (John 14:6). The verse goes on to say He crowns the humble with salvation. The humble are the people who give control of their lives over to God. We recognize that God’s grace is undeserved mercy in the face of deserved wrath. James 4:6 says, “But He gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

Verse 6 says, “May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged swords in their hands”. The Gospel of Christ must be on our mouths (testify) and the double-edged sword in our hand. Micah 6:8 says, “seek justice (your sword), love mercy (testify of the good news of Christ), and walk humbly with your God” (verse 4).

Let God’s people praise God who has given them the glory of bearing the sword as His army in service. We are the thin blue line until He comes back. Daniel 7:21-22 says, “As I watched, this horn was waging war against the saints and defeating them, until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom.” Continuing in Daniel 7:27, “Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey Him.”

In verse 7 God’s Word says, “to inflict vengeance on the nations and punishments on the peoples”. Vengeance is God’s just retribution on those who have attacked His kingdom (Romans 12:19).

Verse 8 says, “to bind their kings with fetters, their nobles with shackles of iron.” A fetter is a chain or manacle used to restrain a prisoner, typically placed around the ankles. We would call iron shackles handcuffs. Their kings and nobles are the leaders of earthly endeavors. These are obviously non-believers who oppose God by their pride.

This chapter ends with a great praise to God. Verse 9 says, “to carry out the sentence written against them. This is the glory of all the saints. Praise the LORD!” This sentence written against them is God’s judgment on those whose names are not found in the book of life. What is the sentence? It is God’s firmly determined judgment. The last part of this verse says, “This is the glory of all His saints.” Our glory as law enforcement officers is that we are blessed with the calling found in Romans 13. We are the thin blue line that separates chaos from civility.

Investigational Resources: Romans 13.

Officer Safety Principle: Christian law enforcement officers are an oddity. We have been given a great privilege and responsibility as law enforcement officers. It is absolutely essential that every Christian LEO know their Biblical mandate.

from Psalms Through the Eyes of a Cop, Volume 2
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
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