I don’t think I have to take from this that God is violent, literally a soldier in arms. Rather I think it can remind me there are times we have to stand for what is right, and silence is not called for. There are times we must fight for injustice, even non-violently like Dr. King, Sojourner Truth, Gandhi, and Desmond Tutu fought. They did not raise a gun but they were soldiers for justice. To sit down and do nothing when other people’s rights are trampled on is to miss the call of God.
I cannot help but think as I write these words of ways here in my own blessed south-land, people are doing just this: trying to write into law rules that discriminate against the GLBT community, trying to discriminate against other faiths, setting up rules making it harder for minorities to vote, stripping programs to support those with disabilities. If we do nothing, we miss the call of this Psalm. We must stand, in our own way. And that is not easy.
Yet Psalm 144 is also a word of hope. It is the Lord who trains our hands for the battle. Ultimately it is God who goes before us, ready to overturn oppression and bring freedom. We are called not to fight this battle alone but to work together with this God, participating with the One who brings liberty. We can know if we do this, victory is coming whether it takes days or decades.
Let us stand. Let us not give up in this fight for freedom.