Tag Archives: War

With God on Our Side

God is on our side.  Says who?  Says God.  And who, exactly, is referred to by the word, “our?”  You.  Me.  Everybody.  He’s on our side.  Chile, Vietnam, Belgium.  God’s plan is to bring peace throughout the world.  I’ll bet your first thought is, “Yeah, right; I’m sure that’s going to happen.”  But peace looked no more likely when God sent that promise (repeatedly) than it does today.  And He was serious.  Be honest: Wouldn’t you really rather have a world filled with peace?  Isn’t there a part of you that yearns for that?  God does, too; He’s on our side.  And He is already working to bring it about.  The reason it looks dubious from our vantage point is because God is not in a hurry.  He exists beyond the strictures of time.  His work is done thoroughly, not necessarily suddenly.

So, how do we know He is actually working on it?   One of His promises to bring world peace, given through Isaiah, specified that He would do it through the work of a “Chosen Servant.”  The Servant would be born to Israel in the line of David.  He would be rejected and eventually killed by being “pierced.”   Nevertheless, this “Servant” would then “see the light of life.”  His work on earth, which would look at first to have failed, would be accomplished in a quiet but relentless way.  And God promised:

he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.
In his teaching the islands will put their hope.” Isaiah 42:3b-4

Seven hundred years later, Jesus fulfilled those prophesies of the Servant.  As unlikely as it would seem, this impoverished, homeless guy, who lived a short and relatively obscure life in a conquered land, has had His Name and teaching gradually spread across the entire globe.  Quietly and yet relentlessly.  God says His work will continue until all nations live by it.  He got the first part right; I believe He’s right about the endgame.

So what is our part in all this?  It is to recognize that God is on our side and shut up!  Except God said it in a nicer way:

He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalms 46:9-10

People used to say, “God is on our side; fight harder!”  God says, “I’m on your side, stop fighting.”  When nations understand that, peace will come.  If you truly yearn for that, join Jesus in praying, “…Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”

Powerful Love

What would you do if your power was unlimited?  If you had the power to do anything, what would it be?  You could find a phone booth, grab your cape and be like Superman, flying about avenging injustice and stomping out evil.  Sound good?  It did to Jesus.  Except Jesus  didn’t use a phone booth and a cape.  No x-ray vision, no powerful explosions.  The first equipment He used included a bowl, a washcloth, and a towel.

 It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. … Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God;  so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.  After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.  –  (John 13:1–5 excerpts (NIV84))

This was an act considered so demeaning, it could only be required of a gentile slave.  Jesus knew there was no limit to the power God had given Him, so He humbled Himself and did what seemed to be the least powerful thing.  What He did seemed weak, but in fact, that act of love still powerfully rips through the earth, destroying evil wherever it is remembered and imitated.

I suppose Jesus, with all power at His command, could have refused to go to the Cross.  But He used His power to endure the assignment given by His Father, knowing it would ultimately defeat evil forever.  At the time of His arrest, as Peter whipped out his sword to resist,

 Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”  –  (John 18:11 (NIV84))

When Pilate was looking for an excuse to release Him,

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.”  –  (John 18:36 (NIV84))

In this world, people try to overcome evil with increasingly powerful acts of violence.  We brag about “shock and awe.”  We post signs saying, “This property protected by Smith and Wesson.”  Of course, the bad guys are using the same tactics.  Violence proliferates.  But Jesus’ Kingdom is not of this world, and He knows those ways don’t work.  Because He had unlimited power, He chose unlimited acts of humble, powerful love.

His way works.  His way wins.