God Ordains Wars For His Own Purposes
INTERESTING FACTS : The Holy Bible has been translated into 2,018 languages, with countless more partial translations, and audio translations (for unwritten languages). (This is an enormous amount of translations. In comparison, Shakespeare, considered by many to be the master writer of the English language, has only been translated into 50 languages.)
DAILY READING : [NUMBERS 1 - 2]
TEXT : Num 1:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tabernacle of the congregation, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying, Num 1:2 Take ye the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, after their families, by the house of their fathers, with the number of their names, every male by their polls; Num 1:3 From twenty years old and upward, all that are able to go forth to war in Israel: thou and Aaron shall number them by their armies.
THEME : WARFARE
Many people miss the value of genealogies. However, if we had no genealogies in the Bible we would have no clear record of God's prophecies concerning the Christ. Remember, the coming of the Messiah was foretold by God. He tells us who He is, where He will be born, what He will do etc. Without a record of the tribes of Israel we would have no certainty of the prophetic nature of the Bible or that Jesus of Nazareth is indeed - the Christ.
The men who wrote the Bible wrote only what God told them. ["And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him." Deut. 18: 21 - 22] In fact, in the Book of Numbers the expression - "the Lord spake," contained in the first verse of Numbers, appears 234 times throughout the Book! Therefore, the value of an inspired record of genealogies is critical to God's inspiration of the Scriptures, since it provides the evidence that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah God foretold. For a moment, consider the odds of Jesus fulfilling the prophecies concerning Himself being mere coincidence.
In 1963, Dr. Peter Stoner, a science professor at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California, did extensive research on the mathematical probabilities (odds) of various numbers of Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah applying to Jesus of Nazareth (Peter Stoner, Science Speaks: Scientific Proof of the Accuracy of Prophecy and the Bible, Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1963, pg. 101-109). Upon completion of his research, he submitted his figures for review to a Committee of the American Scientific Affiliation. Upon examination, they verified that his calculations were dependable and accurate in regard to the scientific material presented. What kind of numbers did Professor Stoner's research produce? The odds of one man (Jesus or any man) fulfilling only "eight" Old Testament Messianic prophecies was one chance out of one with "seventeen" zeros after it (100,000,000,000,000,000)! To try to comprehend a number like that, Professor Stoner used the following illustration:
Cover the entire state of Texas two feet deep in silver dollars. Choose and "mark" one silver dollar and drop it from an airplane flying somewhere over Texas. Thoroughly "stir" the silver dollars all over the state. Blindfold a person and let them travel anywhere in the state, stopping only "once" at a spot of his choice to dig into the two feet of silver dollars and pick out the "marked" one. The chance of a person being able to do that in "one" try is the same chance as one man fulfilling only "eight" Messianic prophecies. Professor Stoner concluded, "The fulfillment of these eight prophecies alone proves that God inspired the writing of those prophecies to a definiteness which lacks only one chance in ten to the seventeenth power of being absolute."
Yet, Jesus fulfilled hundreds of prophecies about Him being the Messiah. We would not know this without the inspired record of genealogies. This is why Jesus' pedigree is given in Matthew and Luke. Still, many scholars agree one is Joseph's heritage and the other Mary's.
TRUTH FOR TODAY : GOD ORDAINS WARS FOR HIS OWN PURPOSES
The truth concerning the ordination of war escapes the attention of many Christians. However, when a student or reader of the Bible does notice what God says about war, they are either appalled or confused. The reason for this is the current dearth of clear Biblical theology absent from our pulpits. The truth is - God ordains war as a means of judgment and achieving His plan for mankind.
In the first chapter of Numbers we see God ordering Moses to "number" the men of the eleven tribes [the Levites were exempt] to go to war. Keep in mind for four hundred years Israel was in slavery. In other words, these are not trained or experienced fighters. They are slaves just two years removed from hundreds of years of bondage and must now fight. This is amazing when we consider how nations train armies today and in the past. Yet, here we see God sending inexperienced men who not only must fight, but will win against astonishing odds - both in the wilderness and in Canaan. Their "training" came from following God's commands. In addition, God was fighting for them. He would do miraculous feats for Israel - similar to His judgments on Egypt, and Israel would go on to conquer Canaan after their forty years of wandering in the deserts of Sinai.
On the subject of God ordained warfare, we must understand it is God's prerogative what He does with His own creation. No one doubts as General William Tecumseh Sherman said - "All war is hell" - that war is a horrible affair. Describing the United States civil war, Sherman went on to say - "You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out. I know I had no hand in making this war, and I know I will make more sacrifices to-day than any of you to secure peace." Yet, he went on to say - "But you cannot have peace and a division of our country. If the United States submits to a division now, it will not stop, but will go on until we reap the fate of Mexico, which is eternal war. The United States does and must assert its authority, wherever it once had power; for, if it relaxes one bit to pressure, it is gone, and I believe that such is the national feeling. This feeling assumes various shapes, but always comes back to that of Union. Once admit the Union, once more acknowledge the authority of the national Government, and, instead of devoting your houses and streets and roads to the dread uses of war, I and this army become at once your protectors and supporters, shielding you from danger..." In Sherman's statement we find some relation to God and His purpose in war.
Man, if left without judgment and intervention, would soon kill every living creature on the planet including himself. Therefore, God uses war to keep the causality list [if you will], to a minimum and spares the earth and its people - both living and yet to be born - from total annihilation. Such is the strength of sin. Sinful Man lives only for himself. Because of this, Man would have devastated the planet and all of humanity long ago had God not ordained war. It is still hell. Of this there is no doubt. However, God who can do no unrighteousness had a purpose in war that is pure and just.
Still, we long for the day when the prophecy will be fulfilled that says -
Isa 2:4 And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
Isa 11:1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: Isa 11:2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; Isa 11:3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: Isa 11:4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. Isa 11:5 And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. Isa 11:6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. Isa 11:7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. Isa 11:8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. Isa 11:9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. Isa 11:10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.
Even so...Come Lord Jesus!
-  http://bibleresources.bible.com/afacts.php
-  Science Speaks, Scientific Proof of the Accuracy of Prophecy and the Bible; By Peter W. Stoner, M.S.; and Robert C. Newman, S.T.M., Ph.D.; Moody Press Chicago
-  General William Tecumseh Sherman to the Mayor and Councilmen of Atlanta; In the mind of General William Tecumseh Sherman, who made famous the phrase "War is hell," there was no doubt as to the integrity of the North's cause. Sherman was renowned as a fierce - some would say tyrannical - military leader, and in September 1864 he gave orders for the city of Atlanta to be evacuated and burned. Despite appeals from the citizens of Atlanta, including reminders that there were elderly and pregnant women whom it would be difficult and even perilous to move, Sherman's decision was final. He explained himself to the mayor and council members of the city. [HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION of the MISSISSIPPI in the FIELD; Atlanta, Georgia, James M. Calhoun, Mayor, E.E. Rawson and S.C. Wells, representing City Council of Atlanta.]