My wife and I today read a devotion about King Amaziah dismissing a bunch of soldiers just after he paid them to go out into war. The dismissal came right before the first battle began. A prophet had come to Amaziah and told him to trust in the Lord. God will return to the king and his nation much more than the cost of the soldiers he did not use in battle (2 Chronicles 25:5-9).
Trusting in God is a common theme in Scripture, and this is not the first time it was encouraged at the time of a battle. God instructed Gideon, years before Amaziah, to also reduce the number of his troops before fighting an enemy. Gideon’s army became so small that no one could believe that it could be ascribed to a human victory (Judges 7:2-8). Only God could win such a battle with only a few hundred soldiers. Large numbers is not always essential.
Recently, President Obama announced the end of combat operations in Iraq. It is not my place to say whether this is the will of God. However, I do believe the removal of combat troops will help in bringing about an end to the warring we have had for this past decade and longer.
To win this battle we need not oppose construction of mosques or Islamic community centers. To win this battle we need not burn Qur’ans. Instead, we need to help rebuild the infrastructure of towns and neighborhoods devastated by our fight against Saddam Hussein in Iraq and the Taliban and al-Qaida in Afghanistan. Large numbers of soldiers are not necessary. Rather a few skilled in the work of nation building are what is needed.
We still need to pay the soldiers who enlisted and have fought to date. They too are in need of assistance as they return home often broken from traumatic brain injuries or post traumatic stress disorder. The value of spending money to heal our soldiers will repay itself in the usefulness these veterans will return to their families and communities. We must not forget their contribution even as we cut back the numbers on active duty overseas.