Sunday, 19 November 2017
Deborah and Barak.
Today in church we had a reading from Judges in which Deborah summoned Barak to battle.
The reading began with the assumption that Israels military defeat by the Canaanite King Jabin was punishment on Israel for worshipping foreign gods.
And that the Judge Deborah's faithfulness would assure Israel's victory.
This is not true.
The outcome of battles is not decided by God.
Those with superior military strength win battles.
Losing a battle is not God's punishment.
And winning a battle is not God's favor.
We have seen these false perspectives used by both sides in modern wars.
"God is on our side" they say.
But God is not a god of war or violence.
He does not make war or punish anyone.
Jesus was the Prince of Peace.
He said, "'Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.'" Matthew 5:9 (NRSV)
Children of God means that they are like God.
So God must be a peacemaker not a warmaker.
In the East there is a spiritual principle called Ahimsa which means non-violence or harmlessness.
Why would God tell people to be non-violent if He was violent Himself?
So God must be non-violent.
So there can be no hell.
Like the Holy Dove.
[Scripture quotation (marked NRSV) are taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission. All rights reserved.]
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