Reconciling Love and War

  • July 06, 2019
Saturday 06

Luke 6:27-31

One area of confusion about war is the apparent discrepancy between Jesus’ words and God’s approval of battle in the Old Testament. Can such dissimilar teachings be reconciled? How can the God who told Israel to destroy the Canaanites (Deut. 20:17) be the same one who said, “Love your enemies” (Luke 6:27)?

To correctly interpret biblical passages like these, it’s important to understand their context. In Luke 6, Jesus was speaking about personal conflicts, not national wars. As children of God, we are to emulate Him by being “kind to ungrateful and evil men” (Luke 6:35).

In order to clarify this issue, we must distinguish between commands issued to nations and instructions given to individuals. The Lord has bestowed certain responsibilities upon governments. He calls them ministers of God for good and entrusts them with avenging evil (Rom. 13:4). But to individuals, He says, “Never take your own revenge” (Rom. 12:19).

God allows governments to engage in warfare for the protection of those being harmed. On the battlefield, a soldier with a humble mindset carries out his duties because he is obedient to the authority of his government (Rom. 13:1-2). That’s very different from individuals seeking their own revenge—murder is a man or woman’s vengeful response to anger or jealousy; it is motivated by a desire to destroy another person and often also results in self-destruction.

There have been times when war has led to peace between nations. But we’ll never experience inner peace if we battle individuals who wrong us.

Bible in One Year: Psalm 139-144

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27 But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,

28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

29 Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either.

30 Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.

31 Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.

17 But you shall utterly destroy them, the Hittite and the Amorite, the Canaanite and the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite, as the LORD your God has commanded you,

35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.

4 for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.

19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY," says the Lord.

1 Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.

2 Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.

1 O LORD, You have searched me and known me.

2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar.

3 You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.

4 Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all.

5 You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it.

7 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?

8 If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.

9 If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,

10 Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me.

11 If I say, Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,"

12 Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You.

13 For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb.

14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.

15 My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;

16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.

17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!

18 If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You.

19 O that You would slay the wicked, O God; Depart from me, therefore, men of bloodshed.

20 For they speak against You wickedly, And Your enemies take Your name in vain.

21 Do I not hate those who hate You, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?

22 I hate them with the utmost hatred; They have become my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts;

24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.

1 Rescue me, O LORD, from evil men; Preserve me from violent men

2 Who devise evil things in their hearts; They continually stir up wars.

3 They sharpen their tongues as a serpent; Poison of a viper is under their lips. Selah.

4 Keep me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked; Preserve me from violent men Who have purposed to trip up my feet.

5 The proud have hidden a trap for me, and cords; They have spread a net by the wayside; They have set snares for me. Selah.

6 I said to the LORD, You are my God; Give ear, O LORD, to the voice of my supplications.

7 O GOD the Lord, the strength of my salvation, You have covered my head in the day of battle.

8 Do not grant, O LORD, the desires of the wicked; Do not promote his evil device, that they not be exalted. Selah.

9 As for the head of those who surround me, May the mischief of their lips cover them.

10 May burning coals fall upon them; May they be cast into the fire, Into deep pits from which they cannot rise.

11 May a slanderer not be established in the earth; May evil hunt the violent man speedily."

12 I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted And justice for the poor.

13 Surely the righteous will give thanks to Your name; The upright will dwell in Your presence.

1 O LORD, I call upon You; hasten to me! Give ear to my voice when I call to You!

2 May my prayer be counted as incense before You; The lifting up of my hands as the evening offering.

3 Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.

4 Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, To practice deeds of wickedness With men who do iniquity; And do not let me eat of their delicacies.

5 Let the righteous smite me in kindness and reprove me; It is oil upon the head; Do not let my head refuse it, For still my prayer is against their wicked deeds.

6 Their judges are thrown down by the sides of the rock, And they hear my words, for they are pleasant.

7 As when one plows and breaks open the earth, Our bones have been scattered at the mouth of Sheol.

8 For my eyes are toward You, O GOD, the Lord; In You I take refuge; do not leave me defenseless.

9 Keep me from the jaws of the trap which they have set for me, And from the snares of those who do iniquity.

10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets, While I pass by safely.

1 I cry aloud with my voice to the LORD; I make supplication with my voice to the LORD.

2 I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare my trouble before Him.

3 When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, You knew my path. In the way where I walk They have hidden a trap for me.

4 Look to the right and see; For there is no one who regards me; There is no escape for me; No one cares for my soul.

5 I cried out to You, O LORD; I said, You are my refuge, My portion in the land of the living.

6 Give heed to my cry, For I am brought very low; Deliver me from my persecutors, For they are too strong for me.

7 Bring my soul out of prison, So that I may give thanks to Your name; The righteous will surround me, For You will deal bountifully with me."

1 Hear my prayer, O LORD, Give ear to my supplications! Answer me in Your faithfulness, in Your righteousness!

2 And do not enter into judgment with Your servant, For in Your sight no man living is righteous.

3 For the enemy has persecuted my soul; He has crushed my life to the ground; He has made me dwell in dark places, like those who have long been dead.

4 Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me; My heart is appalled within me.

5 I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your doings; I muse on the work of Your hands.

6 I stretch out my hands to You; My soul longs for You, as a parched land. Selah.

7 Answer me quickly, O LORD, my spirit fails; Do not hide Your face from me, Or I will become like those who go down to the pit.

8 Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning; For I trust in You; Teach me the way in which I should walk; For to You I lift up my soul.

9 Deliver me, O LORD, from my enemies; I take refuge in You.

10 Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.

11 For the sake of Your name, O LORD, revive me. In Your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble.

12 And in Your lovingkindness, cut off my enemies And destroy all those who afflict my soul, For I am Your servant.

1 Blessed be the LORD, my rock, Who trains my hands for war, And my fingers for battle;

2 My lovingkindness and my fortress, My stronghold and my deliverer, My shield and He in whom I take refuge, Who subdues my people under me.

3 O LORD, what is man, that You take knowledge of him? Or the son of man, that You think of him?

4 Man is like a mere breath; His days are like a passing shadow.

5 Bow Your heavens, O LORD, and come down; Touch the mountains, that they may smoke.

6 Flash forth lightning and scatter them; Send out Your arrows and confuse them.

7 Stretch forth Your hand from on high; Rescue me and deliver me out of great waters, Out of the hand of aliens

8 Whose mouths speak deceit, And whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.

9 I will sing a new song to You, O God; Upon a harp of ten strings I will sing praises to You,

10 Who gives salvation to kings, Who rescues David His servant from the evil sword.

11 Rescue me and deliver me out of the hand of aliens, Whose mouth speaks deceit And whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.

12 Let our sons in their youth be as grown-up plants, And our daughters as corner pillars fashioned as for a palace;

13 Let our garners be full, furnishing every kind of produce, And our flocks bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our fields;

14 Let our cattle bear Without mishap and without loss, Let there be no outcry in our streets!

15 How blessed are the people who are so situated; How blessed are the people whose God is the LORD!

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Publish Date July 19, 2019
Overcoming the Flesh

The only way to overcome sin is by surrendering fully to God and walking by His Spirit.

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