For peace itself should not so dull a kingdom
Though war nor no known quarrel were in question,
But that defenses, musters, preparations
Should be maintained, assembled, and collected
As were a war in expectation.
— Henry V, 2.4.17-20
Now these things happened to them as examples, and they were written as a warning to us, on whom the ends of the ages have come. So, whoever thinks he stands must be careful not to fall (1 Corinthians 10:11-12 HCSB).
The Dauphin’s counsel to the King of France is obvious wisdom: be ready to defend yourself, whether the Huns (or the English) are at the gates or not. But it’s also spiritual wisdom.
The plagues and punishments inflicted upon the wilderness generation of the Exodus were not isolated historical happenings. They were teachers. The water from the rock, the quail out their noses, the bronze serpents, the closed door to Canaan—these were all professors in the school of faith.
Think about how many times the command “be alert” or “watch out” or “be ready” is found in the New Testament. The thief doesn’t announce his arrival ahead of time, so the homeowner has to be ready. Peace in previous nights “should not so dull” his house that he fails to keep watch tonight. In the same way, Jesus says, I will return suddenly. Be alert.
This readiness for Jesus’ return is also battle-readiness for every day until then. The same commands come from Peter:
Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. Resist him and be firm in the faith, knowing that hte same sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world (1 Peter 5:8-9 HCSB).
If things are going well for you, then rejoice and thank God. But be alert. A fiercer foe than the forces facing France fights to destroy you. Resist him, firm in the faith. What faith? The one that holds to this promise:
I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world (John 16:33 HCSB).