Monday, June 14, 2010

The God of War

As revealed in his Word God isn't nearly as squeamish about war as some of his children may make him out to be. In the rapturous joy after crossing the Sea (and Pharaoh and his army drowning) Moses sang:
The LORD is a man of war; the LORD is his name. (Exodus 15:3 ESV)
David declared that God made him a victorious soldier:
For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall. This God--his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him. "For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God? This God is my strong refuge and has made my way blameless. He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights. He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your gentleness made me great. You gave a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip; I pursued my enemies and destroyed them, and did not turn back until they were consumed. I consumed them; I thrust them through, so that they did not rise; they fell under my feet. For you equipped me with strength for the battle; you made those who rise against me sink under me. You made my enemies turn their backs to me, those who hated me, and I destroyed them. They looked, but there was none to save; they cried to the LORD, but he did not answer them. I beat them fine as the dust of the earth; I crushed them and stamped them down like the mire of the streets. (2 Samuel 22:30-43 ESV)
Isaiah prophesied in martial imagery:
The LORD goes out like a mighty man, like a man of war he stirs up his zeal; he cries out, he shouts aloud, he shows himself mighty against his foes. (Isaiah 42:13 ESV)
Who can forget the picture of the Pantokrator—The Overlord, the King-Messiah, found in Revelation?
Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:11-16 ESV)
However, some today believe that violence is wrong—for any reason. Historically they may call themselves pacifists or conscientious objectors. I don't believe that the government should revoke such a status. Indeed, historically some Church of God (Anderson) leaders have advocated a strong pacifist position but I think that while it was sincere it was misguided. In essence, it's asking others to do the fighting for them. It's telling others, "Take up your gun and shoot it for me; I won't fire upon tyranny." I'm not calling these conscientious objectors cowards; I'm simply calling them misguided. Scripture does not forbid the use of violence when rightly applied. Remember, David, himself, said God trained him for war.


And some evil just needs killin'.