Find them, fix them, flank them, and finish them is the motto of mobile military doctrine when referring to a military force.. I have been reading about battles over the years and not much changes since the days of the Assyrians and the Egyptians. If you are fighting over large areas you need to know where your enemy is. One of the reasons that Lee got into trouble at Gettysburg is that his “find em” folks, Jeb Stuart’s Calvary were off galloping over the country side, while the Union Army was picking the ground and taking the high points. Lee believed that since he had found them and they were there in front of them and they were fixed, he needed to fight them and the rest, as they say is history.
Siege work is a bit different. You already know where the enemy is and so you surround and invest until hunger or disease does the work for you. If you are investing an enemy in a fortress who also have a mobile force wandering around that you cannot find, siege work can be devastating. To be trying to get into a fortress and be attacked from behind by another army is catastrophic.
The Apostle Paul uses a lot of military kinds of language and even Jesus talks about a man preparing for a battle to see if he can numerically fight the foes coming against him. There are interesting battles in the Old Testament that give us a hint of how wars were fought back then. Spiritual things are talked about in military terms and military things are given spiritual weight. The end times are seen in battle images in the Book of Revelation. Luther’s hymn “A Mighty Fortress” casts interesting images in the spiritual realm. We seem to be surrounded and invested in our fortress and yet those who surround us are the ones who are themselves surrounded and defeated and they don’t even know it. All this evil will be itself confined and it has been forced to unconditional surrender. It is absolutely depotentiated. Evil can no longer overcome God’s people. The demonic powers and unrepentant evil men will, though with weeping and gnashing of teeth be brought to ultimate judgment. (I am paraphrasing an article from Victor Bartling written in 1965 called “the Secret of God’s Plan”)
One of the more interesting and compelling stories of siege warfare involving even psychological warfare is Sennacherib’s investment of Jerusalem. You can read the psychological part in 2 Kings 18;26-27 (warning – you may need a strong stomach). Most know about the defeat of that great army that had surrounded Jerusalem and it reminds me of the hymn “Christ is the Worlds Redeemer”.
Christ has our host surrounded
With clouds of martyrs bright,
Who wave their palms in triumph
And fire us for the fight.
The army of God’s enemy who surrounds us is itself surrounded by the army of God and defeated.
The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.
Like the leaves of the forest when Summer is green,
That host with their banners at sunset were seen:
Like the leaves of the forest when Autumn hath blown,
That host on the morrow lay withered and strown.
‘The Destruction of Sennacherib’, Lord Byron.
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