Horses, Chariots, or Jesus
by Pastor Jack Hyles
(Chapter 9 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Kisses of Calvary)
“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.”--Ps. 20:7
Franklin Roosevelt was President. Cordell Hull was Secretary of State and had recently made the statement, “Oh, if we could only have just a few more months.” Crowds were gathering for Sunday school on Sunday morning when Captain Fuchida gave the command.
At 7:55 a.m. the bombs were dropped. A hundred Japanese planes attacked the Naval Station at Pearl harbor. Some 2,353 or our choicest young men were killed, and 960 were missing, 1,272 were wounded, making a total of over 4,000 casualties, wounded and missing in the attack. There were 177 planes lost. Eleven hundred and two men were killed on the U.S.S. Arizona alone.
The newsboys ran down the streets of my city and yours crying, “Extra! Extra! Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and war is on!” I´ll never forget it. On the way to Sunday school someone cried, “Extra!” Before the Sunday school class was ended, America was thrown into the most disastrous war we have ever known.
The Cabinet rushed to the White House. The President called a special session of Congress to declare a state of national emergency. War was on.
Our boys left home. Blue stars were replaced by gold stars. Mothers said good-by to sons for the last time. Wives said good-by to husbands. Children were never to see their fathers again. America was cast into a war to end all wars known as World War II.
Many of us exchanged our civilian clothes for khaki and navy blue and thousands of men marched off to the bloodiest war ever.
Twenty years have passed since that day. What has America learned from that horrible disaster? In what are we trusting? Today, twenty years later, war threatens again. We´re just as close today to a sneak attack as we were on December 7, 1941. Nothing is different. The enemy then was Japan. The enemy today is a far more godless, ruthless enemy than were the Japanese. The enemy is godless, atheistic, communistic Russia built on Lenin, Stalin, and Khrushchev.
What has America learned? In what are we trusting today? I think it can be summed up in the twentieth Psalm where the psalmist said as he spoke about the impending war and tragedy, “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.” That same thing could be said about America today. Some trust in chariots, some trust in horses. Now, I´m not talking about America as a nation, but about the man on the street.
These are serious days. We live constantly with the horror of a black cloud of impending war over us. The Iron Curtain is ever-increasing. Our forces get small while their forces get larger.
In what are you trusting, you personally, in these dark days when we are only one push of a button from atomic and hydrogen war?
Recently in the newspaper I read where Khrushchev said they have bombs that were over 100 megatons and dared us to prove we had one of 50 megatons. In these crucial days, in what are you trusting personally? Ah, some are doing like the psalmist said--they trust horses, some trust in chariots, but the only safety is to remember the name of the Lord our God.
Now, notice in what the writer said the people were trusting.
The psalmist said, “Some trust in horses.” In the Oriental lands in David´s day, horses were used in offensive warfare. In other words, the Bible is saying that some are trusting in the offensive of our country. Some are trusting, David said, in weapons of offense.
Today we could paraphrase that and say that some trust in machine guns, some trust in our atomic submarines, some trust in our atom bombs, some trust in our air force, some trust in our navy, some trust in our army, some trust in our marines and some trust in our paratroopers. (If there is anybody we ought to trust in, it is the paratroopers, being an ex-paratrooper!) Some trust in our offensive weapons, but David said that will not do. David said the only safety in his day or our day is to remember the name of the Lord our God.
British and U. S. soldiers sit in missile pits today ready to launch warheads in a moment's notice. No doubt about it--America is not napping now as she was twenty years ago. We are ready and prepared today. The sun never sets on American airplanes with atom bombs. A man told me in New Mexico, “Brother Hyles, planes leave this air base every day with atom bombs. There is never a moment when the sun sets on bombs that are owned by the United States. There is never a moment--in the daytime or nighttime--when there is not in the air literally scores of United States bombers loaded with atom bombs protecting our country.”
A man in Albuquerque said to me, “See the Sangre de Christo Mountains?” I looked at them. He said, “See those open places in the mountains? Inside those open places are literally hundreds of atom bombs and atomic weapons. There is enough atomic power in those mountains, if place strategically, to destroy every city and town in our country.” I thought about those Sangre de Christo Mountains. In those mountains we have our trust. In those mountains we have our hope. I started thinking. Oh, praise God, it´s not in the Sangre de Christo Mountains that our hope lies today but it is in the Sangre de Christo, which means the blood of Christ. In that blood lies the hope of our country today.
Some trust in horses. On Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 1961, Admiral James H. Sides stood to speak and he said, “Readiness is the key.” In other words, what he was saying was that we trust in horses and military preparedness. He said, “We must remain strong.” That is true, but our strength must be in the Lord.
Today in the Supreme Court there is a case trying to outlaw the offering of prayers in the public school system. I told my wife recently that the next thing they will probably do is remove “In God We Trust” from our coins. When America loses her faith in God and salvation in Christ, she can have all the bombs and jet planes and armies and navies and airpower she wants, but that will not bring peace and God´s blessings. We must trust in the name of our Lord our God. Some trust in horses, some trust in chariots, but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.
Does you hope today rest in bombs? Is your hope resting in the Sangre de Christo Mountains with that atomic power? Is your hope resting on military might? Is your hope resting on horses? Is your hope resting on jet planes and atom bombs? Is your hope resting in England today where the U. S. and English soldiers sit prepared at any moment to launch an atomic attack and where they sit in guided missile bases prepared for the order? Is that your hope? I say that if that is the only hope you have, you are of all men most miserable. You trust in your horses and you trust in your chariots, but that will not do the job. That will not give safety in these day.
Recently in Jacksonville, Florida, while in a Bible conference, this was illustrated so beautifully. A Young man who had recently taken the soul-winning course picked up a hitchhiker on the way home from the morning service. The hitchhiker pulled a weapon with which to kill the driver of the car. His plans were to leave the body beside the road, steal the car, take his money and flee.
The driver responded with giving the man the Gospel of Christ as he had learned in the soul-winning course. After a moment, the hitchhiker threw his weapon out the window, bowed his head, asked God´s mercy and was gloriously saved.
That evening at the close of the service the driver of the car and the hitchhiker came forward arm in arm, to make a public profession of the latter's faith in Christ. They stood in the pulpit of the Trinity Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida, rejoicing and praising God for the joy that the hitchhiker had found in Jesus.
An attempted murder was turned into salvation and a man, seconds from death, became a soul winner.
There is safety in the Gospel of Christ which is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes.
Another thing the psalmist said, “Some trust in chariots.” In the Bible, just as the horses represented the offensive warfare, chariots represented defensive warfare. A chariot was built thusly. It had only one pair of wheels and one axle. It had a front and two sides and no rear. I was used for protection during attack. They would hide for protection and defense behind the front. There was no place in the back for hiding. It was a three-walled, two-wheeled, one axle machine used for defensive war.
Pharaoh, for example, had 600 chariots. The Philistines in Saul´s time had 30,000. The Syrians in David´s time had 32,000 chariots. Solomon kept a standing army of 1,400 chariots. Now, chariots were a sign or a symbol of military defensive power, just as horses were a sign of offensive power. Horse and chariots then as we boast of bombs today. We say we have many bombs and we have many jet planes and we have many shelters, etc. In those days they would say we have many chariots and horses. Solomon´s chariots were a constant reminder, “Do not attack us; we have power, we have might; we have defense; we have ability to protect ourselves.”
Things have not changed a great deal. In Solomon´s day some trusted in horses (that was the jet planes), some trusted in chariots (that was the defense), yet David said, “We will remember the name of the Lord our God.”
We´re trusting today a great deal in our defensive measures. In my town is a Nike base. In a nearby town is another, and all around our nation a Nike defense has been set up. Nike missiles are to be fired to meet enemy missiles and destroy them high in the air. Many are trusting in our Nike bases and our Nike sites. over on Indianapolis Boulevard in our city you will find little signs on the streets that say, “Evacuation Route.” When in New York recently I asked a taxi driver, “What´s the attitude here about war?” “Well,” he said, “everybody says it is inevitable. It has to come. It isn´t a matter of WILL war come, but it´s a matter of WHEN will war come.” How long do we have?
A man said in Las Vegas recently, “Let war come. American people are so constructed that they will have a good time and live it up. We´ll worry about the war when and if it comes.” All across our land today there is the strange feeling that war is inevitable; that it has to come. Atomic attack must come and the question is not, “WILL it come?” but, “WHEN will it come?” How long can we stave it off? In these days when war looms as heavy as it ever has in the history of the world, heavier than it did on December 7, 1941, twenty years ago, I ask, “In what are you trusting? In whom are you trusting?” You say, “I´m trusting in horses. I´m trusting in jet planes. I´m trusting in bombs. I´m trusting in the Sangre de Christo Mountains. I´m trusting in the warheads. I´m trusting in the ballistic warfare. I´m trusting in megaton bombs or bomb shelters.” Pick up a newspaper and read it. Almost any day there is some article in it about how to furnish a bomb shelter--how much food to take, how many clothes to take, and many preachers waste time on television arguing the question, “If a bomb hits, will you invite your neighbors into your shelter?” Isn´t that something. (I´ll guarantee you one thing: if I´m your neighbor, you won´t have to invite me in. I´ll just burst right on in!)
The answer is the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Trust in your horses; trust in your bombs; trust in your planes; trust in your ballistic warfare; trust in your missiles; trust in your armies; trust in your navy; build you a bomb shelter. But I´m here to say, my precious friends, in the final analysis the only hope you have to survive, the only hope you have to live, is a faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour.
“Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee.”
Dear friends, in these days or any other days the answer is not found in horses; the answer is not found in chariots; the answer is remembering the name of the Lord our God.
Retaliation is sure. We could retaliate. How we love to boast and say, “If Russia drops a bomb on us, Russia will be doomed.” Well, you may be just as dead whether Russia is doomed or not. We seem to think that there is some merit in the fact that if we get destroyed, so will Russia. Oh, yes, we do have airplanes. If Russia dropped a bomb today on American soil, before that bomb had landed we would have airplanes headed toward Russia with bombs and she would be destroyed, but that won´t do you any good if you are killed. My precious friend, when it happens and if it happens, may I ask you, “In what or in whom are you trusting?” The psalmist said that some trust in chariots, some trust in horses, but thirdly he said--and this is what I want to spend some time on--
“But we will remember the name of the Lord our God.” I say again, “The only answer in this day is a saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.” Ah, you young people, you think you have a lot of time. The toddling grandmother or great grandmother or grandfather whose hair has turned to silver and whose body is racked with pain, whose wrinkles are multiplying daily and whose step is not as good as it used to be, whose cane is necessary, who has a little tremble in the talk, a little stoop in the shoulder, and hands that are a little palsied, may not be any nearer death than boys and girls. In war, bombs do not take just the old but also the young. We face today, twenty years after Pearl Harbor, a time just as tragic and just as drastic, and yet here we are again trusting in horses and chariots just like we did twenty years ago.
Only four things can happen to you, and Christ is the security and the safety in any of those four things.
To know Jesus as Saviour is the answer in case you live. Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life....” He said in John 10:10, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” In John 11:25, he said, “I am the resurrection, and the life...” Jesus Christ is the only safety and the only security for life.
Back in 1954 I learned that the man who dropped the first bomb on Pearl Harbor, Captain Fuchida, had been converted. I wrote to Captain Fuchida asking him to come to the Miller Road Baptist Church. He accepted our invitation and the Captain who gave the orders to drop the first bomb on December 7, 1941, came to Garland, Texas.
We had a great crowd that night. Our auditorium which at the time seated 1,100 was packed and jammed. Folks were standing in the back and around the sides as we met the man who had given the order to drop bombs that would kill 2,300 of our own boys. When the man stepped on the platform you could have heard a pin drop.
Then I had one of our men who had recently been converted to step up on the platform. I asked, “Curley, were you at Pearl Harbor?”
Curley said, “I was.” He had told me before Captain Fuchida came, “I saw the man flying the first plane. I saw the look on his face, and I would know him in a minute if I saw him again. I´ll never forget the look that man had as he dropped the first bomb. As he swooped down I saw him.”
So Curley, a man about 45 years of age, came to the platform and I asked, “Curley, have you ever seen this man?”
Curley looked and said, “Yes, I´ve seen him. That was the man who dropped the bomb on my ship on December 7, 1941.”
I said, “Curley, were you a Christian?”
“No, I wasn´t.”
“Are you a Christian now?”
“Yes, I am.”
I said, “Would you men like to shake hands across the blessed Book of God?”
The man who dropped the first bomb and the man who received the bomb and saw him fly over clasped their hands on the Word of God. Both of them were redeemed by the blood of Calvary and were no brothers in Christ. The answer for all people is the Lord Jesus Christ. Go ahead and have your bombs and have your ammunition. I believe we should be prepared. We should be ready, but it´s foolish for us to think that our future and our safety lie in a few jet planes and a few atom bombs when our entire future and the destiny of man lie in the hand of God and the power of the Lord Jesus Christ. I beg you in Jesus´ name, flee to the Rock of Ages where alone you can find safety in these days of war and turmoil. In the case of Life, Jesus is the answer.
In the second place, in the case of death He´s the answer. Paul said in Philippians 1:21, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” In Psalm 23:4 David said, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.”
Suppose we do defend ourselves. Suppose we have a war and Russia is annihilated and you are still alive. That still will not give you any protection from cancer. That still won´t save you from a plane crash or a car wreck. That still won´t save you from a heart attack or T.B. If America does have defense and offense, if horses save us and chariots defend us, I still say you have not whereof to glory and you have no safety unless you´ve come to Christ and accepted Him as your Saviour.
I heard about a prisoner named Johnson in the state prison. Prisoner Johnson had been there for many years. Finally his attorney sought pardon the Governor granted it for Johnson.
One day the warden came to the man and said, “Prisoner Johnson, I have something for you.”
Prisoner Johnson stayed back in ranks.
Again the warden said, “I have something for you.”
Johnson did not move.
The warden said, “Prisoner Johnson, I have a pardon for you, a pardon from the Governor of the state.”
Prisoner Johnson didn´t smile, but stood still in the back.
he said, “Johnson, a pardon for you. I said a pardon for you.”
Johnson still stayed in the back.
Finally the warden could not understand it, so said, “Johnson, can you hear me?”
Johnson nodded his dead. “I can,” he said.
“But aren´t you happy?” asked the warden.
Johnson stepped forward slowly and stood before the men of the prison. He took off his outer garments, unbuttoned his shirt and showed a great cancerous growth eating out his stomach and said, “Sir, if I get the pardon it can´t help this.” He said, “Death is coming for me, pardon or no pardon.”
Now America, suppose we do win. Suppose bombs are enough and we do win the war and suppose we conquer Russia. There is still in every bosom and every heart the cancer of sin. If you´re without Christ, you will still go to Hell, and victory in war, or peace on earth, good will toward men, will not save your condemned soul. You´re still lost without God regardless of military defeats or victories. Ah, listen to me. If war does not come, if Russia does not come, you still have to face death. The only safety in death is the name of the Lord our God.
3. The Coming of Jesus
The third thing that could happen to you is the coming of Jesus. The Bible says that Jesus is going to come again. The Bible says in Revelation 6 that men shall flee and cry and pray and say, “Rocks and mountains, fall on us and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne.” The Bible says that great men and chief captains and mighty men and bold men and servants and slaves shall run and cry for refuge in the rocks and mountains. Why? Because Christ is come.
If Jesus came today and you were not saved, you would be left forever. If Jesus came today and you were not saved, you would be lost forever. If Jesus blew the trumpet and the dead in Christ arose and the living should be raptured and Jesus came back and you hadn´t trusted Him, forever and ever you would be doomed and condemned to fire and brimstone.
The only safety in life is Jesus. The only safety in death is Jesus. The only safety in the coming of the Lord is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
I heard about an unusual church service recently. The pastor preached a sermon on the return of the Lord. He asked for all the saved people to stand and form a line around the building. He said, “If Jesus came this morning here is how it would look. If you know you are saved and you know if he came today you would rise to meet Him in the air, would you stand, please?” Then he said, “I want you to line up around the building, and join hands.”
Most of the people did. Twenty-six people stayed sitting where they were. he looked at those twenty-six and said, “That´s the way it is going to look some Sunday morning. Jesus will come and the saved shall be taken out of the pews up to Heaven, and you who are lost without God shall be left.”
There are some today who are not prepared for Christ´s coming. In God´s dear name, if you have the intelligence to get in out of the rain, if you have enough sense to get out of a burning house, I beg you in Jesus´ name, receive Christ as your Saviour and know that you are saved. For the Bible says that in a moment when we think not, the Son of man cometh. Jesus is safety in life, safety in death, and safety at His coming.
Another thing that could happen is war. Oh, God forbid that it should. A German teacher in the early days of World War II came over from Germany and was teaching in our high school. One day he saw some airplanes coming over. I will never forget it. On the planes was the U. S. insignia. He looked out the window at those airplanes as they went over and began to weep and said, “Oh, thank God! Thank God! I don´t have to run.” He said in his country the buzz of airplane motors and engines means run for cover and run for safety.
God forbid that our precious boys will ever have to march off to the battlefield. god forbid that my precious boy whom I love as I love my own life would ever have to wave good-by to me and march off to some foreign battlefield and die on the Flander´s Field. But if war does come, dear friends, thank God there is safety. There is a refuge.
What is the refuge? The refuge is the bomb shelter of Jesus Christ. My family is all in it. We have a bomb shelter and there is plenty of room for everybody. Come on in. You can fuss and wrangle about the ones you build, but in the one that Jesus built there is room for all.
My little girl Cindy is not old enough to know about Jesus yet or how to be saved. She´s in the shelter.
My little girl Linda is four. She doesn´t quite understand about salvation yet. She´s in the shelter.
One night a year and a half ago my boy David and I knelt at home and prayed in our living room, and David came into the shelter.
My little girl Becky recently go the assurance that she was saved and she´s in the shelter.
A few years ago in Garland, Texas, my own precious wife left the seat and came down to the front and said, “Honey, I was not saved when I was a child. I thought I was, but I wasn´t; will you baptize me?” That same night just before we took a vacation together, I buried my wife in baptism and my wife is in the shelter.
My own mother, a thousand miles away from my home today, is in the shelter.
At midnight one night my sister came to see me and said she wanted to be saved. I had the joy of telling my sister about Jesus and she came into the shelter. Her family is in the shelter.
I have two little sisters buried in a small cemetery in Italy, Texas. Their bodies have long since turned to dust. Their souls are with Jesus. They´re in the shelter.
My wife´s mother has been saved for years; she is in the shelter.
There are only two sorrows that I have today. One is that I couldn´t get my father into the shelter before he died; the second is that you´re not in the shelter. Some of you today are trusting in horses or in chariots, but let me tell you, the real hope is to remember the name of the Lord, our God.
“Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee.”
Could I tell you one of the sweetest things that ever happened to this preacher? I married into a very wonderful family. My father-in-law is one of the dearest men I have ever met. I wish you could know him well. When I was first married, he and I were driving one day. He wasn´t a Christian. He was one of the old school. Brother, he wouldn´t borrow a dime; he´d rather give you a hundred dollars than borrow a penny. He wouldn´t buy things on credit. He was honest and had integrity and great character and so forth, but was not a Christian--no time to talk with God or for God. He was a very successful businessman. I talked to him one day driving to work. I said, “Mr. Slaughter, are you a Christian?”
“Oh,” he said, “I´m all right. I was sprinkled when I was a baby and that is good enough for me.” That was all he said.
I never pushed him, but once every six months I would go to him again and say, “Mr. Slaughter, are you a Christian?” I could see him getting a little closer and a little closer. I talked to him many times.
One afternoon in our previous pastorate my wife became burdened about her father. She went out to see him about twenty miles away and fell on his neck and began to cry and said, “Daddy, I´ve got to know you´re saved! I´ve go to know you´re saved!”
He said, “Honey, Daddy is all right.” He didn´t pray with her and he didn´t make any decision, but he said, “Daddy is all right.” We took that, and we trusted that he was saved but still doubted somewhat about it all. he never made a profession. He was never baptized. Several months ago he started forgetting things. His memory about little things failed him; he would forget names and people he had known all his life. He would remember events but not names, etc. he kept getting weaker and weaker. he went to the hospital, took some tests, and found that he has hardening of the arteries to his brain. The doctor said he will never get any better.
I was in Texas recently for a Bible conference and went to see him. I had some time of fellowship with him and I could tell he was sick. So I called the doctor and asked, “Doctor, how is he?” The doctor said he was a sick man.
Well, it´s hard for us to understand PaPaw getting sick. PaPaw was just the strongest fellow. He always had the five-dollar bill if everybody else was busted. He was the fellow that everybody looked up to. At one time he weighed 210 pounds, and now he weighs 163. I said, “Doctor, what about his life?” The doctor said that the illness could cut short his life.
So I went to see him and I said, “Now, PaPaw, I want to talk to you.” We went into the living room and sat down together and I said, “Now PaPaw, listen. I want to know one thing. Are you saved? Do you know that if you died, you would go to Heaven? I want you to listen to me. I want to tell you how to be saved. I´m going to tell you just like I tell anybody that comes to me at church wanting to be saved. I want to know that you are saved. Now, you listen.”
He began to cry. His mind is alert. His memory is bad but his mind is alert. (The doctor said that he was in sound mind.) I told him that all have sinned as I have told so many thousands of others. All have sinned, sin lead to Hell, Jesus suffered Hell for us, and if we will trust Him, He will save us. Now, I said, “PaPaw, I want us to pray. While I pray, I want you to pray silently.” So I prayed.
I had never heard him pray. I doubt that my wife had ever heard him say a prayer. When I finished praying, I said, “Now PaPaw, you pray.” I thought I would have to tell him what to pray, but he started praying. I´ve never heard a sweeter prayer. I ran quickly after he prayed and wrote it down as best as I could remember it. Here is what he prayed (this was one of the sweetest moments I have ever lived in my life):
“Dear Heavenly Father, though I have never called on You, I have always respected You. I´m an old man now (by the way, it was his seventieth birthday that day). I have raised two fine children, but I´ve been too busy to do the main thing. Thank You that I have a son-in-law in whom I can trust. I know I should have done this years ago, but I was too busy. If You will accept an old man like me, I will accept You. Forgive any wrong business deals that I have made and any help You can give me will be appreciated. I now take You and pray that You will take me in the presence of a minister of the Gospel, my own son-in-law and in my own home. I make my profession of faith now. Amen.”
I hugged and kissed him. I said, “Wouldn´t you like to get baptized?”
He said, “I sure would.” I didn´t have to beg him. He said, “When can I?”
“Well,” I said, “we will make arrangements somehow.” I called Bob Keyes, one of my good friends in Dallas, and said, “Bob, fill the baptistry; we´ll meet you at 10:30.” Bob filled the baptistry. I took some friends and my mother and went out to get Mr. and Mrs. Slaughter.
At 11 o'clock sharp I had the blessed privilege of baptizing my father-in-law. he is now in the membership of the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, where I am his pastor.
As he came out of the baptistry and walked down to the little crowd that gathered at the altar, we all started singing, “Happy Birthday to you.” I thought, Two birthdays in the same day! On his seventieth birthday he came to Christ and followed Christ in baptism.
Some trust in horses, some trust in chariots, but he trusted in the name of the Lord. Won´t you trust Him, too? Bow your head now and say from the heart, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner, and save me now, for Jesus´ sake. Amen.”
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