Ecclesiastes 3:8 states that there is a “time for war and a time for peace.” In these times of warfare, we often ask, “How should we respond? What should be our attitude?” We will find biblical answers for these questions when we explore the ultimate issue: What does the Word of God say about warfare?
When a nation goes to war, God’s people need to fully understand their heavenly Father’s viewpoint about this matter. Naturally, God is not excited about war. He does not enjoy bloodshed and vengeance. However, He is dealing with a world of people who have a fallen nature.
God battles with people who oppose Him, who fight against Him and His followers. So, even though He hates war, God is not against it. Throughout the Old Testament, there are examples of God using warfare to carry out His plans, to punish the wicked and preserve His people (Deut. 9:4-6; Deut. 20; Jer. 5; Numbers 33:55-56). You may think, “How could God do that?” He says in Isaiah 55:9, “My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts are higher than your thoughts.” God has divine reasons for choosing war as a vehicle to accomplish His will.
In Scripture, God clearly establishes the government’s responsibilities and authority over us, as well. In Romans 13:1 and 4, Paul writes, “every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. . .for it [the government] is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.”
The government is ordained by God with the right to promote good and restrain evil. This includes wickedness that exists within the nation, as well as any wicked persons or countries that threaten foreign nations. Obviously, there are times when a country should not go to war; but there are also times when, if a nation does not do so, they suffer the consequences. Therefore, a government has biblical grounds to go to war in the nation’s defense or to liberate others in the world who are
You may think, “Well, how do we reconcile that with what Jesus said about loving our enemies and turning the other cheek?” (Luke 6:27-30) In that passage, Jesus was speaking to us as individuals. If someone treats us badly, we should love him anyway. We can pray for our enemies, and do good to those who hate us. The way someone treats an individual is one thing; the way he treats an entire nation is a completely different issue. The Bible teaches that it is the responsibility of the government’s leaders to protect the nation against those who would destroy it.
Despite the many different opinions and philosophies about war, the most important consideration is God’s viewpoint. However, there comes a time when our personal opinion is not a priority. The only reason we have the freedom to protest in this country is because thousands were willing to die for that liberty in the past. Throughout Scripture there is evidence that God favors war for divine reasons and sometimes uses it to accomplish His will. He has also given governments and their citizens very specific responsibilities in regards to this matter. This is a frightening time for all of the world’s citizens, but it is also a time for God’s people to rise up as a unified body against the global threat of evil and terror. I challenge you, as a child of God, to respond to this conflict as He desires: with a spirit of prayer, and attitude of appreciation for the thousands of veterans and present military heroes, a patriotic submission, and an unwavering dependence upon your heavenly Father.
- From the doughboys who fought in the trenches during WW I
- From the Marines who stormed Iwo Jima and quickened the conclusion of WWII
- From the men who endured the bitter cold of the Inchon Penninsula in Korea
- From the grunts who moved from jungle to jungle in Vietnam
- From our forces who liberated Kuwait just 12 years ago
Today the men and women in the deserts of the Middle East are no different from their ancestors. And we should commit here and now that no matter our opinion of the conflict, we will unequivocally back our armed forces. They stand ready to pay the ultimate sacrifice for our continued liberties. They deserve no less than our unwavering support and prayers.
And for our nation’s Commander in Chief: no matter your political persuasion, the Bible makes it clear we are to pray for him. We should pray for God to bless him with a double portion of wisdom, discernment, and fortitude in the days ahead.
I love being an American and living in a free country, but our nation is more than just a certain area of land bordered by oceans on the east and west — we are a nation of beliefs (equality, justice, and self-determination); we are a nation of principles (representative government, the rule of law, and the freedom to express ourselves in worship as we see fit); and we are one indivisible Nation under God.