Translations: Chinese GB Big5

The Violence of War

Isaiah 42:23-25
Which of you will listen to this or pay close attention in time to come?
Who handed Jacob over to become loot, and Israel to the plunderers?
Was it not the LORD, against whom we have sinned?
For they would not follow his ways; they did not obey his law.
So he poured out on them his burning anger, the violence of war.
It enveloped them in flames, yet they did not understand;
it consumed them, but they did not take it to heart.


They say there are no atheists in fox holes, meaning that at time of war or like suffering even atheists will turn to God. But that is not always the case. True that it is more likely for people to turn to God during such times of turmoil than times of ease. And this we see throughout the Bible. But there are those who have become so hardened in their hearts and obstinate in their opinions that it seems no amount of suffering will turn them to God. Times are suffering are meant to be times of reflection. In the case of Israel they should have taken to heart that they had been disobeying the covenant they had made with the Lord and as such God was bringing upon them the judgements he promised in Deuteronomy 27 and 28. Then they would have understood. As we note here the violence of war is often the expression of God's burning anger.

Take recent examples. Radical Muslims as well as many Christians view events like 9/11 in which Islamic terrorists murdered thousands in the name of Allah as being an act of God's anger against the ungodliness of Western culture. The Christians may view this as God lifting his hand of protection and restraint somewhat in the sense of "For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way." 2 Thessalonians 2:7, allowing these lawless radical Muslims to commit such acts of violence, perhaps in response to things like millions of American women having their preborn babies murdered, the world-wide promotion of feminism and immorality, and the hypocrisy within the Christian community. But what of the war against terrorism? What about Afghanistan and Iraq? Are these not also God's expression of his anger against Islamic terrorism? But the religious elite in the Islamic community are blind to this idea. They are hardened in their hearts.

It is to be noted, as the case of Job, that unjustified suffering occurs. Innocent people may suffer because of other people's sinfulness, whether it be the sinfulness of an individual as in Job's case, namely Satan, or the sinfulness of the society and culture in which they live. Even the early Christian suffered unjustly at the hands of Romans and Jews. Job did a great deal of reflection and debate concerning his suffering, which is appropriate. We shouldn't discourage the suffering from asking "Why me?" God wants them to ask that question. Sometimes the answer is because of their own sin they are being disciplined. Or it may be that they are innocent victims of someone else's sin, or the sinfulness of the society. Or God may have another purpose as with the blind man of John 9

And His disciples asked Him, saying, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him."
So we should ask the question, but be careful not to limit the answer.

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources