War is hell
Who remembers hearing this as a child, usually right after you had the nerve to say something out of line to your mother? Well, I can almost hear God shouting this every time He drops a plague on the people, and especially today as I read about Him waging war against Midian.
“They warred against Midian, as the Lord commanded Moses,
and killed every male.
They killed the kings of Midian
with the rest of their slain…
And they also killed Balaam the son of Beor
with the sword.”
No matter how you slice it, war is absolute hell. It’s brutal. It’s bloody. Human beings fighting and killing other human beings in astronomical numbers is beyond tragic. Life, as precious and sacred as it is, ends abruptly at the hands of another. And, to see this happen on the pages of Scripture at the mandate of the One who created life itself gets me choked up.
“Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones,
and kill every woman who has known man by lying with him.
But all the young girls who have not known man
by lying with him keep alive for yourselves.”
I was mournful while reading this passage today. Kill the babies? Why, God? Why? I pictured my own sons when they were wide-eyed innocent little boys with big toothy smiles on their faces. I closed my eyes and reached into my memory bank to hear their laughter, the kind that comes from deep inside a child’s belly. Then, I thought of my little grandson who’s so smart, and who gives the best hugs.
Why, Lord? Perhaps it’s because the males might have risen up one day and avenged the death of their fathers. Or, perhaps it was a deeper concern that evil, if allowed to procreate, would have destroyed the people of God, and therefore His ultimate plan for salvation of all. I can only guess.
And, what became of the little girls whose entire families were slain? What did Moses mean when he told his commanders to keep them for themselves? In what way? The thought petrifies me. I couldn’t help but picture my sweet little granddaughters while reading this. They’re so dainty, loving, and full of personality. Becoming a spoil of war had to be positively soul-crushing to those little Midianite girls.
When I seek answers on things like this, I’m often left with an explanation that’s insufficient to soothe my emotions. In my spirit, I defer to God’s will, whatever it is. But, sometimes my understanding is unfruitful. In times like this, I must pray:
“God, please help me understand what I’m reading. I know that you created human beings with abilities that no other creatures possess. We have the miracle of language and thought. We have the ability to reason. With Your guidance, we have invented and discovered some amazing things. Despite all of that, our understanding is still limited, especially when compared to Yours.
"To us, life is everything. It’s all we know. To You, maybe life means something different. You are eternal. You have always been, and will always be. As far as we know, we have a beginning and an end. So, we cling to life by any means necessary. The loss of life is devastating to us.
"Please forgive me for questioning you this way. And, please forgive me for feeling this way. I do trust and believe that You are my Father...and Father knows best! As always, I come to you in the Name of Your Son Jesus Christ...the one who opens the door for me and lets me in. Love, Leslie.”
How does reading about war and killing in the Bible affect you? Feel free to comment below, or by visiting my Facebook page.
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