Because Christians have a tendency to concentrate at non-decisive points, it may be difficult to get more than a few away from places of mislocated concentration to points where decisive battles are being fought. These few may not be enough for effective concentration, but their proper deployment is a step in the right direction, a step toward economy of force. Not to send them to the decisive points would violate several principles of war; economy of force uses what is available to do the job.
When there are many decisive points and the Christians are congregated away from the front, we ought to plead with God for economy of force: “And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found none” (Ezek. 22:30).
Concentration in a noncombatant area is legitimate for training, to receive power or to prepare to attack, but if concentration remains after training has been accomplished or if we dilly-dally around in the rear, we will never be ready for war. This is a waste of force!
The Lord Jesus Christ said to His disciples:
“Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high” (Lk. 24:46–49).
The primary objective was “all nations.” Jerusalem was the place where power was to be received and from which the early believers were to start after they had received the power. However, they stayed in Jerusalem a prolonged period of time after the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Their failure to move out was disobedience to orders. But God finally forced them to leave by allowing persecution. Concentration in the wrong place is not economy of force.
When these principles are combined with an offensive at a decisive point, we are practicing economy of force. In biblical history the greatest example of these principles combined in one military battle is Gideon’s victory over the armies of Midian and Amalek described in Judges 7 and 8. In his God-directed use of economy of force, Gideon sent 31,700 men home and won the battle with 300 men.
The much-needed application of this principle is that we must send people who are willing and ready to go to the decisive points. As it was with Gideon, it may be that 22,000 are afraid to go and another 9,700 are not ready to go. Perhaps only three hundred men are willing and ready to go with the message of Jesus Christ.
It was not God’s plan to invite the Midianites and the Amalekites one and two at a time to the Israelites’ home towns where the 31,700 soldiers could take them captive. Nor is it His plan to invite non-Christians one and two at a time into an overconcentration of Christians at non-decisive point where the believers preach the gospel at each other. It is God’s plan to attack the decisive points with victory in mind. There are so many places and so few willing to go that we must economize our force.
Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Lk. 10:2). This is imperative. Jesus Christ tells us to pray that God would send workers. He commands us to do it and tells us why: the harvest is too much for the few reapers. Let us pray for economy of force.
*Excerpted from Principles of War. To purchase, visit ccmbooks.org/bookstore.