Keep On The Firing Line

A song urging us to “keep on the firing line” might seem out of place at church, especially for the many of us who have grown up in times of peace and have not needed to learn how to suit up for war, let alone march into battle. This is a song for evil days when the war raging in the spirit realm spills over and roils our physical realm. To be able to stand in such a day, Ephesians 6 says we need to suit up. Sing along with our song, then come back and we’ll talk about God’s provisions that enable us to STAND.

Prepare our minds for the battle

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:10-13)

We see people fighting people and wonder why everyone is so animated. These verses tell us clearly: wicked spirits in high places — which we cannot see — work THROUGH people and nature to attack God’s people.

Sometimes the attack is obvious. Sometimes it is so subtle that we miss it because we don’t know the enemy’s agenda. II Corinthians 2 tells us Satan has an advantage over us when we are ignorant of his devices. Let’s do our homework and NOT be ignorant! We need to prepare our minds for the battle.

Andrew Jackson and the Battle of New Orleans

When I was a kid, the radio played a number one hit song by Johnny Horton called “The Battle of New Orleans”. It begins,

♫♪ In 1814 we took a little trip 
Along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip
We took a little bacon and we took a little beans
And we caught the bloody British in the town of New Orleans ♫♪

It’s a fun, rollicking song which makes that battle sound almost like a comedy. That was was pretty much all I knew about that “skirmish”. I had no idea how desperate the fighting was, how huge the stakes were for the United States and how miraculous the victory. I have recently been brought up to speed. (If you want to read a couple of page-turners, I highly recommend Kilmeade’s “Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans” and Medved’s “The American Miracle”. I wish I had read these in grade school!)

The connection with our “firing line” song — Jackson was up against a much larger, stronger and better-trained enemy. Only hours before the battle Jackson’s men were able to build a crude mud wall and organize a dense firing line. Their rifles could fire once, then needed to be reloaded. Groups of three or four men shared each of the many narrow shooting spots in the line. They took turns firing, stepping down, reloading, repeating. The barrage Jackson’s firing line dished out overwhelmed the powerful British soldiers who, with rifles and gleaming bayonets, were charging Jackson’s line. The victory was stunning. It is a success story of preparation, teamwork, determination and — as those authors I mentioned explain — remarkable miracles from heaven. It was a God-aided victory. That incident combines with our song “Keep On The Firing Line” to paint a powerful picture.

I came not to send peace

We love to read Bible truths about the love, joy and peace we experience as beloved children of the Most High. Yet we recognize the enemy is at war, and continues to steal, kill and destroy.

Jesus understood that. In Matthew 10 Jesus says, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” The fight is on. God gave us “the whole armor” described in Ephesians 6 so that we may be able to withstand and STAND in such a time as this. Our song, “Keep On The Firing Line”, adds energy to our conviction to “fight, be brave against all evil” and do our part to “win for God and the right”. Let’s sing it together!

God bless you lots!
— Dale R.

Download this songsheet

Keep On The Firing Line
Words and Music: Bessie F. Simmins Hatcher (1915)

Oh you must fight, be brave against all evil
Never run nor even lag behind.
If you would win for God and the right
Just keep on the firing line.

1. If you’re in the battle for the Lord and right
Keep on the firing line.
If you’ll win my brother surely you must fight
Keep on the firing line.
There are many dangers that we all must face
If we die a-fighting it is no disgrace.
A coward in the service he will find no place,
So, keep on the firing line.

Oh Brother, keep on the firing line
Keep on the firing line.
Time is getting short, Jesus coming soon,
Brother, keep on the firing line.

2. God will only use the soldier He can trust,
Keep on the firing line.
If you’ll wear a crown, then bear the cross you must
Keep on the firing line.
Life is but to labor for the Master dear,
Help to banish evil and to spread good cheer.
Great you’ll be rewarded for your service here,
Just keep on the firing line. (Refrain)

3. When we get to heaven, Brother, we’ll be glad
Keep on the firing line.
We will praise the Savior for the call we’ve had
Keep on the firing line.
When we see the souls that we have helped to win,
Leading them to Jesus from the paths of sin,
With a shout of welcome we will all march in,
So, keep on the firing line. (Refrain)

Oh you must fight, be brave against all evil.
Never run nor even lag behind.
If you would win for God and the right
Just keep on the firing line.

Your thoughts?

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8 Replies to “Keep On The Firing Line”

  1. Sal Arico

    What a great song for our time, all times for that matter! Paul said to “continue in prayer and watch in the same with thanksgiving”. Our prayers and especially our praises are weapons in this warfare and contest, and God exhorts us to stay “awake” in the battle. Thanks Dale for this great song of encouragement! You are doing a great job of teaching us all to sing, Sing, SING!!!

    1. Dale Reichel Post author

      Sal, thanks much! Two great joys, 1) being “in this” together with other saints like you and 2) being able to watch God do “Red Sea -class” miracles. As I sit here, I think one or more is coming soon! God bless you lots! -D

  2. Daniel W

    Yes and Amen….thanks Dale for sending this great song.
    It is much needed in this hour.
    Hope to hear Johnny Horton and the Battle of New Orleans next…?
    I had forgotten about that song. And you are right, I suppose that he made it sound like
    a testosterone filled late night adventure (did they even have testosterone back then?)
    I remember standing in that field in New Orleans at 4 in the morning with you and Jon.
    It was pretty surreal.
    Blessings to you !!!

    1. Dale Reichel Post author

      Dan, thanks for your comments. I can’t out-Horton Horton, but I do hope to find some more of these Christian fight songs. Tis the season!! God bless you lots! -D ???

  3. Cathy Reichel

    What a spirited, fun, inspiring song to rally our troops for the Lord! – Performed with energy and heart. Thanks Dale – can’t wait to hear what you choose next:)

  4. Frank manasseri

    Keep on the Firing Line is appropriate for the times in which we live today.

    The spiritual battle has spilled over into the flesh. This insurrection against a free society is fueled by the hatred promoted by evildoers and haters of God.

    We as God’s people are instructed to clothe ourselves With the whole armor of God.

    As we put on this armor of God we are instructed not to fighy but yo stand in victory!

    We stand in victory of out powerful Lord Jesus Christ.

    “And having done all stand!”

    We must remember that inebof the pieces of the armor we put on is prayer.

    Let us line up on the firing line cheering ine another on to be fully equipped for victory.


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