Man of War
Man of Love
Exodus 15:3 The Lord is a man of war; The Lord is His name
When I think of war, I think of killing and destruction – is this our God?
Deuteronomy 32:39 ‘Now see that I, even I, am He, And there is no God besides Me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; Nor is there any who can deliver from My hand.
1 John 4:8b for God is love.
God is love. All that He does is in love. How can war and the pain it causes be about love? Can the two really co-exist? In regards to this topic, we often read about God’s holiness and justice, but here I want to look at His love. Like the perfect parent with their children, there is perfect justice but also pefect love. Here are some of my thoughts on it . . .
There are two different accounts demonstrating this man of war I’ve been thinking about:
Many wars directed by God occurred as the Israelites moved into the promise land. But the motive of these wars was rooted in love because God is love – as we’ll see. God’s plan of reconciliation included Christ being manifested in a sinful body, like our own, so He could be the sacrifice that stood in our place uniting us back to God. God revealed Himself to the nation Israel – and it was through that lineage Jesus would come.
As God’s people moved into the land He gave them, He instructed them to wipe out the nations before them. He did this because the other nations were so corrupt that if they remained they would corrupt His people as well. Judges 2:3 Once taken in by other nations and their gods, they would be deceived and lost. And the state of the world at the flood of Noah would happen once again. He wiped out the nations to protect His people, and those He left were used to test them. Judges 2:21-22 Through Abraham God’s family came – not of the physical seed, but through the promised Seed of Christ. Romans 4:16 He had to preserve His people enough so that through them He could manifest the life of Christ to save us all. Those nations died, so His people could survive, so we could be delivered through His son, Jesus. That is love. Joshua 23:3, Deut 7:16
What may seem unfair, unjust or even unloving to us in this sliver of history was an act of love in the span of eternity. There is a much bigger plan and purpose, and that purpose was crafted in love because God is love. God did what was required to protect His family. The thought comes to mind – what would you do if your family’s life was in danger?
Second, wars of God were a result of the actions of the wicked, whether unbelievers or God’s people. When people go their own way, there are repercussions. Joshua 24:20. In the Bible, we see over and over how people became so wicked that they destroyed themselves and others, which happens when people follow their own will. God created mankind to walk and abide with Him in love. When they don’t, spiritual death is manifested. Physical death, in these wars of God, is the materialization of the state of their souls.
In God’s infinite wisdom, He does what is best. Like those who died in the flood of Noah, it was better to end the wickedness, than let it continue on causing more damage and pain. Genesis 6:5 They weren’t getting better, but worse. God knew the end to the path they were on. If you see a suffering animal and there is no hope for recovery, what is the most merciful and loving action to take? In the bonds of evil, people suffer and suffer greatly and the harm they do to others is extensive. God sees the beginning and the end – for any one life, He knows best. And He does what is best for all mankind.
A side note . . . we need to learn that only by being united to God is there life. Apart from Him is death. To abide in true life and love, which God desires with us, we needed to possess our own will. Robotic forced love isn’t love. But now there is people’s free will to contend with. In our free will, God laid out the choices before us Deut. 28, 30:19 God designed this life to operate in a certain way. He told us there is a path that leads to life, which is following His will, and a path that leads to death, which is following our will or anyone else’s other than Him. There are consequences to going our own way. If we are separated from Him, then we spiritually die because we were created to be united to Him in love. The fact that our bodies return to the dust from which they came is nothing compared to spiritual death.
I think one of the main reasons we are here on this earth and experiencing the evil we do is to learn that following our self-will doesn’t work. Following the will of God is the path of life, which we also get a taste of on this earth when we walk in His ways. This truth is what we all have to learn so that we willing follow God’s will and thus abide with Him in love. When people chose to follow their own will then they are making their own judgments about what is good and evil. (represented by the tree of knowledge of good and evil) They are driven by their own understanding, which is limited and wrong. Spiritual death is manifested. However, when we follow God’s will and are led by His Spirit, we aren’t making the judgments God is. (the tree of life) We are following His lead and therefore walk in life because His ways are life. In order to abide with Him in love and freedom, we have to choose His will, not ours, and that means we have to learn the difference and the consequences of both. Thus, this life here on earth were we are seeing both played out. Only by being united to Him is their true life.
God knew we would go astray. That is why the plan was always life in Christ Jesus and to provide a way in which we would be a part of Him. Because when His Spirit is in us, we live according to His will because that is who we are. 2 Peter 1:4
I believe in the end when we see clearly – we will see how every act of God, a Man of War, was the ultimate act of love.