From the time of the exodus from Egypt the Jewish people are called the "Army of G-d."
They are also called "servants."
The difference is this:
- A servant performs his master's service which may be on many different levels; he may work at the delicate craft of threading pearls, he may do other kinds of expert work or he may perform simple tasks. His service involves great toil and labor, but this does not constitute Mesirat Nefesh - a willingness to sacrifice self, to lay down one's life.
- Soldiers are servants who serve with great toil and labor and with self sacrifice, in wars of defense or attack. The soldiers stand at their posts with the highest degree of stalwart determination, undeterred by the opposing enemy; their service is not one of comprehension, for they act according to the orders of their commander.
The Jews in Egypt were utterly degraded under their severe and bitter affliction. Yet, despite it all, they did not change their names, their language, or their distinctive clothing. With absolute determination they stood at their posts, for they knew that G-d had promised to redeem them.
Whoever behaves as they did under such circumstances is a soldier in the Army of G-d, and the Al-mighty will come to his assistance in a manner that manifests itself in nature - yet transcends nature.