Wednesday 05 September 2018

Bible Book:

All the fighting men who were with him went up, and drew near before the city. (v. 11)

Joshua 8:10-29 Wednesday 5 September 2018

Psalm: Psalm 132


In this passage we get battle plans, military tactics and a brutal response to victory – the destruction of the population of Ai and the execution of its captured king. Like other similar passages, this isn’t easy reading today. If judged by today’s morality, we are reading about war crimes including the massacre of a defeated city’s civilian population, and the murder of its captured ruler. We can attempt to spiritualise away the detail of what we are reading, but in good Wesleyan pattern we need to allow the plain meaning of Scripture to speak to us, even where its uncomfortable. And this passage speaks of war, violence, death and destruction, carried out in God’s name. When we discuss extreme interpretations of Islam with Muslim friends, perhaps its good for us to recognise that our own faith story contains many violent and problematic elements.

One small detail to note is that in this passage there is victory for God’s army, whereas in Joshua 7 there was defeat. The difference? Joshua’s army were now united and working together, rather than thinking of personal gain as in the earlier battle. Being consecrated to God means serving God fully. It is not a guaranteed cause and effect whereby if we serve God fully then automatically things will go well for us. But when we are half-hearted in our relationship with God, then there is little surprise that we don’t experience all the fullness of relationship that God has for us.


To Ponder

  • How do we read today’s passage in light of Christian morality?
  • Which actions described are comparable to the extremes of war crimes witnessed today?

How does Jesus teaching to “turn the other cheek” fit with this passage?

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