Continuing our discussion from Episode # 97 of Season 3 – ‘War Crimes and Genocide in the Old Testament,’ let us dive into Deuteronomy 20 and the laws concerning warfare which God gave to Israel.
It is entirely too easy in our present context as Americans living in the 21st century, to see this passage and hear what it says, and to come away with a kind of latent disgust at the brutality and harshness of what is prescribed.
Again, though, we have to be very careful not to suppose we are the ones who are more righteous, just, and fair than God is. If we have a different standard, where did it come from that we are so confident in its greater holiness or utility?
Believe it or not, there is a remarkable amount of mercy in Deuteronomy 20. We just have to know where to look for it, and we have to be looking for it.
Besides that, though, there is the critically important matter of not being embarrassed of anything which God has commanded or instructed.
We may not always understand what he was, is, or will be doing. Nevertheless, our aim should be to trust that the ways of the Lord are just and pure and perfect. So if this passage gives us some difficulty and challenge in that regard, let’s lean in rather than ducking out.
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