A God of Violence? Part 2

Yesterday, we saw that God’s condoning of the death of foreign people in Old Testament times was not only a recognition of the need for purity of life, but that it is now no longer advocated or needed, because Christ has become our perfection. Today, I want to look at an example and see how it has relevance for how we live and how it shows us that God’s overriding motivation is for our welfare and not our judgment.

In 1 Samuel 15:3, we see God’s command to Saul, first king of Israel, to utterly destroy the Amalekites and not to spare a single soul.  The fact that he then spared Agag, their king, led to the end of his reign.  Harsh judgment?!  Not in the light of what we looked at yesterday.  After all, the consequences of the disobedience were seen many years later when, save for Esther’s intervention, Agag’s descendent, Haman, would have completely destroyed the Jews (Esther 9:24).

This is important for us because, in the Old Testament’s symbolism, enemies of God’s people are ‘types’ of sin.  Our need to ruthlessly eliminate from our lives anything which opposes the purposes of God is important.  Failure to do so means that unresolved problems resurface at a later time and conspire to undo us.  How many times have we not seen that someone’s untreated addiction, unresolved anger, or unconquered bad habit, been the ultimate source of their undoing.

May we likewise be so ruthless as to completely eradicate, with the help of others and the strength of God, any such behaviour or attitude that would threaten our well-being as we grow in faith and wisdom.  Knowing that God’s discipline is really an act of love to protect us  (Hebrews 12:6), we can see that God’s desire is, as He has said, to show Himself strong on behalf of those who hearts are fully committed to Him (2 Chronicles 16:9).

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