Monday, July 25: Numbers 31- War, just war and Jesus' ultimate win.

War is an ugly event; death, casualty, families torn apart, homes, villages and towns destroyed. It is a sad fact of life.

I recently read a book about the US Generals of World War II; Patton, MacArthur and Marshall. These men played an enormous role in the Allies winning the war. The win came with a huge cost in lives and in destruction. War, it seems, always does.

When is it right to go to war and when is it morally wrong? There is no easy answer to this question.

Today we read about the total destruction of the Midianites. In the account recorded by Moses, the Israelites went to war on the orders of the Lord. It was not a human decision but God’s.  When you have someone like Moses, who is in face to face communication with God, one can know God has decreed the war. War will still be ugly and cost much in human life but any doubt as to morality is settled. The Lord decreed.

In our day we have no such intermediary with God, such as Moses, so decisions about when war is just and justified are much more suggestive. St. Augustine put forth his understanding that Christians could be soldiers of good conscience as long as they maintain proper attitudes and character. Thomas Aquinas later described his Just War Theory.

But since we see through a glass dimly (1Cor 13 NN), decisions about war remain a ‘theory.’ And Christians to this day are divided on what, if anything, constitutes a ‘just war.’

I cannot imagine what it would be like to strike down another human being, especially in the Israel context of hand-to-hand fighting. I shudder at the thought of spearing or ‘swording’ someone to death.

I readily admit I have lived a sheltered life and my sheltered life is possible because many have given their life and limb so that I can be free and safe. I am grateful for the sacrifices these soldiers have given.

I know, too that someday the Lord will come with His armies to vanquish evil for good. That day will be the bloodiest yet and on that day it will not be nationality that sets the battle lines but faith. Those who love and serve Jesus standing and reigning with the Lord and people who are opposed to the Lord (did not believe in Him) on the other ‘losing’ side.

Oh, God, in the time remaining before the end… may I be granted courage to advance Your name so that more people come to faith in Jesus and live with You in glory forever. Through Christ, my Lord, I pray. Amen.


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