Thursday, March 4, 2010

God's Battles

Another thing I have learned these past few days: We serve the same God who caused the armies of Israel to win in battle and therefore any peace we are able to win here on this side of the cross will be won because of our reliance on God bringing about the victory. The minute we start thinking that it is US and OUR EFFORTS that bring about peace in the face of seemingly unstoppable violence it will mean that we have stopped pursuing the kingdom of God and that we are simply pursuing peace on our own terms, on the terms of the kingdom of men. If God is King then it will be Him bringing about the peace we so need. Not us.

A quote from Vernard Eller's "King Jesus' Arms for the Armless that I think drives home this point:

"If the war to establish the peaceable kingdom (the kingdom of God, which is the only truly peaceable kingdom) is fought on the basis of our numbers, our resources, our wisdom, our strategies, our good intentions, our peacemaking abilities, then it will fail; is is as simple as that. If, however, it is fought by God himself and by people who have put themselves totally under his command, then it does not make a great deal of difference what are our numbers, resources, etc.; there is no possible way the war can fail. The issue is not our ability but our obedience. Our success depends not upon the vision of what we can or will do but upon our faith that there is a God who already has given the victory into our hands if we are willing to accept it on his terms. Joshua's statement of the matter cannot be improved: 'Take very good care to love Yahweh your God.'"

Last night I had an intense exchange with a friend about the practicality of Jesus teachings (a topic which I have already written about) and something I need to continue to address is that Christ offers us a difficult task when he tells us to love our enemies, not because he knows we will fail, but because he knows we will need Him to lead the way and win this battle for us and alongside us. Are Christ's teachings practical? No. Are they possible without Him leading us in our doing it? No! Love is never easy and we cannot do it alone. God must be within it or our strivings for redemption and reconciliation with each other will fail.

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