By 1588, the Spanish Empire had become the largest in the world. Phillip II, the king at the time, was determined to gain control of the entire world and bring it under Catholic control. Protestant England, which had a population of only 4 million, was one of the countries that stood in the way. In 1588, Phillip II was determined to bring England under his control. Philip II organized an Armada with around 130 ships, 7,000 sailors, 18,000 Spanish soldiers, plus another 30,000 soldiers from the Spanish Netherlands. On May 28, 1588, the “Invincible Armada” set sail for England. From the beginning, the Armada was met with disaster. The huge Spanish ships were quickly met by the smaller, more maneuverable English ships. In a panic, the Spanish fleet decided to flee northward past the English Channel and around the coast of Scotland. The Spanish fleet encountered a series of storms and strong winds that destroyed many of the remaining ships. When Philip II heard of the loss, he said, “I sent the Armada against men, not God’s winds and waves.”
In Deuteronomy 20, God gave the Israelites instructions concerning war. The Israelite military consisted entirely of foot soldiers who would soon be in combat against seemingly stronger militaries. The Canaanites and other nations had the advantage of horses, chariots, and more manpower. Although these nations put their confidence in their horses and chariots, God reminded the Israelites that their confidence was in Him. He said, “…let not your hearts be faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them; For the LORD your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you” (vv. 3-4). The enemies were more advanced in weaponry and larger in number, yet they lacked the one thing that determines victory in any battle. The Israelite’s enemies did not have God as their commander and warrior. The Israelites were weak in number and lacked weaponry, however, they had God on their side who had promised to fight for them and save them.
As Christians, we are in a constant war on three battlefronts: the world, the flesh, and the devil. It may be spiritual in nature, but it is still very real. Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” The world looks upon Christians as the underdog. They view the Church from the outside and see Christ’s flock as weak, foolish, and lowly. Yet, as believers, we must remind ourselves that, although we appear weak and foolish to the world, we are God’s channels through which His power flows. Although we are powerless in our own flesh, “greater is he that is in [us] than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Because God fights for us, we rejoice in the victory!