September 29, 2022

By the Command of God?

Key Verse to Read and Treasure

A Time to kill (Ecclesiastes 3:3, ESV)

For Insight

Could there be a time for killing? Could Solomon have gotten this part wrong? Does killing make God a bad or uncaring God? If God allows or ordains killing, then what does this mean for humans? What does this mean about our thoughts on how God values human life and worth? Is God a God who actually orders, allows, makes allowances for and commands murder? One little verse can raise all sorts of questions and put us in a spiritual tizzy.

We read something like what Solomon has written here, or what Moses wrote in Exodus 15:3; that God is a man of war, or the Old Testament stories where God told the Israelites to go in and kill their enemies; destroy human life; leave no one, including women and children, alive. What happens to our idea of a cozy, comfortable, mushy, kind, sweetheart of a God who’s all about grace, mercy, forgiveness, and peace? God sure knows how to put us in a spiritual and faith dilemma.

To think that God put kings in place and gives them authority to invoke wars, to kill. But just like his anger, God’s wars are just. God does not go out and start war or give authority to start war based upon greed, or our need to control or overpower, or just because we do not like the people, the color of their skin, and where they live. God wars against evil and no war God puts in place or gives authority to undertake is to fulfill human satisfaction, only to flesh out evil, advance the kingdom of God on earth and bring him glory.  

God’s killing is the opposite of what James writes about in his epistle when he said, “why do we argue and fight? We argue and fight because we want our way.” We live in a violent, bloodthirsty culture where killing has become more acceptable and normal than we realize. It’s nothing to hear of killings, homicides, on the morning or nightly news. We are conditioned for killing and do not always have a shocked or stunned reaction. Killing on any level to satisfy our way is purely from selfish motives. These are not the just or righteous wars. Like birth and death, killing and life are not opposites, but counterparts in God’s great plan of salvation.

There are other kinds of killing. Not all killing is about human life. There is the killing of attitudes, or ways of thinking of ways we may have formally held or ascribed to. If God kills it is because it is counterproductive and goes against his plan for life and salvation. God kills because his desire is to transform us at our deepest levels and inner being. God kills darkness, negativity, and any place or presence that desires to kill us.      

Check Yourself:

Does Solomon’s statement shake you up? How does your idea of a sweet, soft, cozy God line up with the God who is a man of war?

Praying Ecclesiastes 3:3

Dear God, it’s becoming more and more apparent that your ways are not our ways. Yet, there is comfort in knowing it is not for us to understand your way, only trust, love and stay with you. Nothing less than our good is your motive for everything you do or command. Amen

Digging Deeper

Read Exodus 15:3

Read Isaiah 3:2-22

Read Isaiah 42:13

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