If asked to name great military commanders in history, you might think of names in American history such as George Washington, Ulysses S. Grant or George Patton. Perhaps you might think of names in world history like Alexander the Great or Napoleon Bonaparte. Hopefully, you’d also think of names in the scriptures such as Joshua, David, Moroni, and Mormon.
All of these commanders led large armies. In order to lead effectively, they had to be able to tell their soldiers what to do (command them). A great commander definitely influences the outcome of a battle, but the strength of the army is a huge factor as well. Commanding an army with little strength is not likely to lead to victory.
On the other hand, imagine if, in addition to commanding your army, you could also command the physical environment to help you to victory. Think of Joshua commanding the sun to stand still so his army could complete their victory. Or the walls of Jericho falling down when the Israelite army blew the trumpets. Of course, God is the one who makes these things happen, so clearly it’s an incredible advantage to have God, the greatest commander of all, on your side in any battle.
In Jacob 4, Jacob seeks to empower his people, saying, “we truly can command in the name of Jesus and the very trees obey us, or the mountains, or the waves of the sea” (Jacob 4:6). Before anyone could get carried away with this perceived power, Jacob makes sure to add in the next verse that people of themselves are weak and it is only through the grace of God “that we have power to do these things.”
So, how about us today? Do we typically move mountains in the name of Jesus? Perhaps it depends on what we consider mountains. Any large obstacles in our lives can be considered mountains and, through prayer, these can be removed. In fact, any time a miracle is performed as a result of praying about it, we are in effect commanding our physical environment to change — and it’s changing!
Is it impossible for us to actually command a physical tree or mountain to move? No, it’s not impossible, but for that type of command to work, it would have to be something that God would want to make happen for some reason. It’s not going to happen just because we think it would be cool to move some things around.
It’s important to remember that God is the ultimate commander and we take direction from Him, even when it comes to what to pray for. As Jacob says later in this chapter, “seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand” (Jacob 4:10). In other words, we don’t tell God what to do but rather we seek to do what He wants us to do. If God wants a tree moved (or some other miracle performed), He will prompt us to pray that way — and the tree will move at our command!
So, in the spiritual battles that we face in life, it’s great to know that we have reached the rank of commander. If we remember that our power to command comes from God and that He decides when we use it, then we will win our spiritual battles as we command (pray) in the name of Jesus.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.