A few years ago, a friend of mine recommended I check out “Day of War,” a book by Cliff Graham about David and the “mighty men.” He described it as a crazy mixture of Braveheart, 300, “Wild at Heart”, and the Bible. I was certainly intrigued but had enough on my plate already, so I didn’t think too much about it. Plus, I already knew all about David’s mighty men, so I figured there really wasn’t any need for me to read the book anyhow.
Here in Romania, I still have plenty to do, but it seemed like the right time to check out the book. I had the ebook version, so I “opened” it up and started reading.
I’d like to say the book is awesome. I really want to be able to say that. But in all honesty, it’s not. The story is awesome but the book itself leaves a lot to be wanting. The hard, honest truth is that Cliff Graham is at best a mediocre, predictable author, but at worst he’s downright confusing, has caricatures for characters, and fails to draw the reader’s heart into the story. I appreciate Cliff Graham’s attempt, but he would have been wise to co-author this book with someone more gifted in writing.
Still, the story carries the book with or without a gifted author. And there’s no doubt about it that Cliff Graham knows how to pick a great story. And he’s not afraid to show the hard, gritty, dirty, bloody story for what it is. He makes war dirty and warriors even more screwed up, and he blows that cartoonish, Sunday school picture of David out of our minds with a shotgun.
He’s a bad writer, but he brings the story the masculinity that was sucked out of it by religion. Despite the author’s weaknesses, the book carries a lot of power, and I found myself unable to put it down once I got into it (and resigned myself to the fact that he’s not a gifted writer).
You know, it felt a lot like reading a comic book. It was bad on dialogue, had a predictable story and cookie-cutter personalities, but was full of non-stop, roller-coaster action and adventure. I’ve always been a fan of comic books, so I guess it’s no surprise that I enjoyed the book.
But I didn’t read the book for itself. I read it for my spirit. And for that, it’s been good. God has used it to re-awaken in my heart a determination to fight and not give up in the daily battle for holiness, purity, and separation unto God. At numerous times today, in fact, I found myself praying, “Oh, God, cover me in the day of war” just as David and his men would pray in the book. Living here in Bucharest, I’ve found it very easy to forget that I’m called to not simply survive as a soldier of Christ but to be covered with the glory of God and do exploits for him. I gotta pray for his covering in this day of war.
At one point in the story, David and Benaiah are speaking about this “covering” (the anointing) from God that enables men to do amazing feats. Benaiah is confused and asks David, “But why the day of war? Why do we only ask for it then? Why not when a man is in his field plowing? Why not when he is with his family or when he has left them and wants them to be safe and protected? Why not every day?” David responds, “Every day is the day of war.” What a great truth. Every day is a day of war in which the enemy seeks to silence us, stop us, distract us, kill us, discourage us, tempt us, etc., etc. But our God is ready to pour out on us the grace necessary to do valiantly and overcome just as he overcame. Oh, let us ask for his covering in this, the day of war!
In closing, check out more information at lionofwar.com, where you can learn about the movie, comic book, documentary, and book series.