October 30

Psalm 149:6-9

“Let the high praises of God be in their throats and two-edged swords in their hands, to execute vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples…” vss. 6-7

Anyone with even a passing interest in history will know that warfare has been a constant part of our human experience. From the very beginning tribes and nations have risen against each other for a variety of reasons, occasionally as a defensive reaction but more often as an intentional effort to dominate and destroy. The people of Israel were no exception–and like other nations they called upon their god for support and success. The psalmist paints a picture of soldiers singing songs of praise to God before using their swords to execute vengeance and punishment on their enemies. Such scenes are still taking place in every place where armies prepare for battle. Troops stop for prayer and worship before engaging the other. Religious leaders bless bombs and weapons and offer the promise of eternal life to any who might die. Fighters are told they are on God’s side in the great struggle between the forces of good and evil and millions have sacrificed their lives. Millions more have died as so-called “collateral damage.” Followers of Jesus have come to believe that this incessant warring is not a part of God’s plan. We look forward to the day when swords are beaten into plowshares and there will be no need to study war any more. And while that day has not yet come we can at least resist the temptation to use religion as a fuel for fighting. 

Thought for the Day: Why are there chaplains in the military?

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