Joshua 8:18 Then the LORD said to Joshua, "Hold out toward Ai the javelin that is in your hand, for into your hand I will deliver the city."
I’ve a shocking confession to make: I don’t like the Book of Joshua at all. As a kid, I used to love singing the old spiritual “Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho,” but as an adult, I've grown to detest the whole book because it glorifies violence and genocide. I understand the history of it all – it was a time of kill or be killed in order to survive; I just don’t embrace the violent massacre of ancient towns on moral or theological grounds.
In the 21st century, we should have progressed to a point where violent massacres do not occur. Sadly, these inhuman events still take place. In fact yesterday in Egypt over 500 protesters were killed by the military regime and more than 2000 people were wounded. Even sadder is the fact that religious fanaticism, as well as a complete disregard for human life, was behind it.
When I reluctantly read about the battles that Joshua led and fought in the Bible, I wonder what Jesus really thinks about them. He radically taught that we should love our enemies and do whatever we can to maintain peace by helping the oppressed. I wonder if He was appalled at the thousands of people – men, women, and children – that Joshua slew. I wonder if Jesus was also deeply horrified and saddened by yesterday’s massacre in Egypt. If so, then what should we as Christians be doing to resolve it?
Questions for personal reflection
What do you think about the massacres in the Bible, as well as the one that took place in Egypt yesterday? What should Christ’s Church be doing?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we pray for the Egyptian people who are suffering today. We pray for those families of the massacre victims who will be distraught and wounded by their losses. Let Your Spirit of Peace come down and spread all over Egypt. Let the unrest and violence cease; let common sense and love prevail. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message or ask a question, please send him an email to Traqair@aol.com.
Today’s image is John’s latest Fall colors drawing. It’s called “Fall Cabin.” If you would like to view a larger version, please click on the following link: http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2883/9507907595_e15794247c_b.jpg