In a fallen world, war is inevitable, and according to Jesus, ‘wars and rumors of wars’ will be one of the signs that we have entered the end times.
But in the Book of Psalms, King David made a couple of intriguing statements about war. He stated that God actually trained his hands and fingers for battle and even helped subdue his enemies.
Blessed be the LORD my Rock,
Who trains my hands for war,
And my fingers for battle—
My lovingkindness and my fortress,
My high tower and my deliverer,
My shield and the One in whom I take refuge,
Who subdues my people under me. (Psalm 144:1-2 ESV)
The Hebrew word for train, ‘lâmad’, speaks of repeated exercises to attain skill. It speaks of a goad, a sharp stick, being repeatedly used to guide and train an ox.
The finger training undoubtedly referred to learning how to use the bow, being able to quickly grab the next arrow, and redraw the string. A properly trained bowman could unleash six arrows in a minute.
And in Psalms 18:2 and 34, King David adds that God was not only David’s shield and power, God also trained his hands for battle. But then David added that God gave him the strength to shoot a bronze bow, that was deadlier than wood in terms of power and distance.
So in a sense, it speaks of the technological advancement in war.
With God training King David’s warriors and with the blockbuster movie, Top Gun: Maverick, filling theaters, we shouldn’t be surprised that a Christian Navy pilot, Dan Pedersen, started America’s Top Gun school to train pilots in air-to-air combat.
It was initially believed that with proper training on how to handle a fighter jet, that US pilots would be superior to anyone they faced, due to better equipment.
However, the Vietnam War was an eye-opener.
Though American pilots were still winning the air battles, they were losing one jet for every two they shot down. The Vietnamese pilots, who were flying older and less technologically advanced Migs, were holding their own in dogfights.
It was an incredible cost in terms of pilots and equipment. The Navy realized that though, their pilots knew how to fly, they did not know the intricacies of air-to-air combat.
This led to the formation of the Navy’s Fighter Weapons School in 1969, to train pilots in the art of dogfighting. It would become known as Top Gun.
In an interview with CBN, Pedersen, who had been put in charge of setting up the school, said he had no funding and was told he needed to have it up and running within 90 days.
In his book, Top Gun: An American Story, Pedersen believed God, who he described as his co-pilot, helped Pedersen set up that school, writing:
“When I look back at how we pulled it together, it’s clear to me that the acting hand was far mightier than my own. I prayed for the gift of discernment to make it work.”
In a matter of three years, the school’s training was showing remarkable results.
When the next major air conflict arrived, US pilots demonstrated a 600% improvement and were shooting down enemy jets in a 12-to-one ratio.
READ: ‘God is My Co-Pilot’: The Founder of ‘Top Gun’ School Talks About How It All Got Started