ODJ: war

April 1, 2014 

READ: Joshua 8:1-29 

Better to have wisdom than weapons of war, but one sinner can destroy much that is good (Ecclesiastes 9:18).

Journalist Jeffrey Gettleman asserts, “There is a very simple reason why some of Africa’s bloodiest, most brutal wars never seem to end: they are not really wars. . . . The combatants don’t have much of an ideology; they don’t have clear goals. . . . I’ve witnessed up close—often way too close—how combat has morphed from soldier versus soldier (now a rarity in Africa) to soldier versus civilian.”

While I agree that a majority of Africa’s modern battles (including the infamous Lord’s Resistance Army’s decades of attacks on civilians in northern Uganda) differ from ideological, military-fought wars—such as World Wars I and II—biblical history reveals that attacks on civilians aren’t something new.

In Joshua 8:25-26, for example, we learn that when Joshua and the Israelites attacked Ai (after seeking God’s wisdom), the Lord ensured the victory over their people. This was not simply wanton destruction, but God in His holiness could not permit wickedness to persist in nations including Israel itself (which also faced defeat in battles). War has been used by Him to punish people for their wickedness. There’s a huge difference between evil men committing mass atrocities and the battles that God allowed due to His righteousness.

Scripture teaches that one reason wars occur is due to our hearts not being fully committed to God (2 Chronicles 16:9). “Quarrels and fights . . . come from the evil desires at war within” (James 4:1). God has allowed battles to occur at times to promote real peace and righteousness. He alone possesses the wisdom and righteous eyes to do so. May we strive for peace—and not battles—in all our relationships today.

—Roxanne Robbins

365-day plan› 1 Samuel 25:1-42

Read Ecclesiastes 3:8 and consider how we should seek God’s wisdom during these times. 
What do you think the difference is between a “warrior” of God (Joel 3:11) and a man or woman who wages wrongful war (through words or weapons)? How can we follow Jesus’ example in promoting peace?