28 August – 3 September 2016.
Psalm 133:1 tells us: “How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony!” But in 2 Chronicles 13 we don’t see much harmony between brothers at all. Instead, the Israelites are at war with each other … again.
Here the writer describes the claims made by Judah’s king: he is a son of David, a rightful heir to the throne; and in Judah the people practice proper faith and preserve proper worship in the temple. So with God on their side how could they lose?
So Judah goes to war against the northern Israelites – and Judah does indeed win.
But does this really count as a win when they are killing their own brothers? All people are children of God, all people are created in the image of God, and so it is wrong to kill anyone. But somehow it seems even worse to see the Israelites killing their own people. In their so-called “success”, the soldiers of Judah slaughter half-a-million Israelites. Is that really a win? Then in chapter 14, their soldiers follow this by killing an extra million people! A million slaughtered – and Judah is so proud of what they have done.
Are we tired yet of these endless wars? Have we had enough yet of these endless killings? After each war we think people will have learnt their lesson. But they bury their men, mourn and weep for their killed children, and then go and do it all over again! Chapter after chapter, book after book, all we see is the Old Testament soaked in blood. Why can’t brothers learn to live together in peace?
But today we too still have to answer these same questions. Are we not yet sick of all these wars? Aren’t we tired yet of all this killing? Will we never learn that wars have no winners? We are all brothers and sisters in this world, we are all God’s children. But every day countries still fight against each other, bombing and killing each other – and then thinking that this can count as a victory. So today, let’s pray for peace and wisdom to finally come into our world and put an end to this foolishness, and to violence and war.
Pastor Stephen Lakkis