When it comes to human events in this world, everything rests on the Covenants. Nothing we do in this life can be isolated from the applicable covenant. Let’s not bog this down with chasing all the ways in which the Covenant of Christ is or isn’t like the Law Covenants. Moses is ended, but stands as a testimony. Noah stands as the applicable Law Covenant and it’s part the Faith Covenant of Christ. What we can know about Noah comes from our understanding of Moses. You must learn to think like an Ancient Hebrew to understand any of it, and a major element in that is thinking in terms of covenant; reality is a covenant.
Thus, a major factor in our thinking about how to walk in this fallen world is recognizing how humanity generally rejects the Covenants. Our personal individual adherence to the Covenants produces powerful effects, but this is all dampened by the general failure around us. This is the crux of our witness to the lost world; they need to see the blessings of embracing the Covenants. They need to see that there is a difference. When God’s wrath moves on the earth, our Savior’s blood on the doorposts of our existence marks us out for sparing.
That can mean rough treatment and being driven out of place, but that’s part of how God moves us to where He wants us to serve Him. We take it in stride as part of our covenant existence.
All the more so for a soldier, called by God to serve in one or another military system, is it essential to grasp the covenant nature of reality. There are some heavy personal questions about serving in the military of a secular state. If you are going to be a soldier, your options are limited when born in such a place. You’ll have to find that sweet spot of peace with God, and that means having your own system of internal caveats about what the system tries to tell you.
There is no one right answer, but I can tell you of the answers I have found along the way. To be sure, most of them became clear in my conscious awareness after I left that service. Here’s hoping that some of this will speak to others, even if they have nothing to do with the military.
For the individual covenant soldier, military victory means almost nothing. While it is the ostensible goal in every way, every day, it remains merely ostensible (definition: appearing as such but not necessarily so; pretended). You know what it means to everyone around you, but you also keep a clear view of what it means in your heart.
It may have nothing to do with God’s favor. The Ancient Hebrew understanding of this rests within the wider Ancient Near Eastern (ANE) cultural viewpoint. In that world, the gods controlled who won battles, in the sense that two opposing sides prayed to their respective deities. They firmly believed it was essential; there were no atheists in that world. In their minds, your deities would embolden you for battle, and the army with stronger faith and obedience won. The other side would lose heart, in the sense that their gods would abandon them. So the whole point of battle was to stand firm in the melee and make the other side fold and run.
The Hebrews added a few elements that were not ubiquitous in the rest of the ANE. A critical point is that the Hebrews knew they might be called by Jehovah to enter a battle they were supposed to lose. They would inquire of God before battle, and sometimes dared to ask if they should expect victory. On occasions, the response included a confirmation that they would win and how to go about it.
And if they didn’t inquire, the outcome was a disaster regardless whether they won. Without covenant loyalty, there might was well not be a covenant. Without that covenant, their existence was virtually meaningless.
Today’s covenant solider knows that his military and his nation is going to face disaster sooner or later, because nobody bothers to consult with God. They all assume it’s a matter of good troops, good training and weapons, and good execution. That’s what the troop are taught. But the covenant soldier knows it’s really a matter of being there and doing his best because that’s the calling of God for him individually. His moral victory is obedience from the heart in the midst of vast moral failure all around him.
He’s there because he’s a witness in the context. His life has no meaning without the covenant. Everything else is just the context. His witness is in how he gives his full humanity to the ostensible mission and plays the role to the hilt. He’s hardly afraid of death or disability arising from such service; that’s just a matter of how God has chosen to use him. He remains a witness to the glory of Christ for the duration of the mission in this life.