So all the men cut branches and followed Abimelek. They piled them against the stronghold and set it on fire with the people still inside. So all the people in the tower of Shechem, about a thousand men and women, also died. (Judges 9:49)
The Bible is a bloody book! That’s the accusation of some who reject it. That’s the admission of those who accept it as the inspired Word of God. The Bible is a bloody book. How else could it be? In this book, the holy God relates some of the history of the human race. Humans are a bloody people. The first child born into the world murdered his brother. Generations of murderers followed. Humans are a bloody people.
It’s not that they don’t realize murder is wrong. The command of the Creator, “You shall not murder.” is written into the conscience. The problem is that this divine order is countermanded by someone else posing as a commander. Satan not only permits murder, he encourages it—in fact, he incites it. Jesus told the people who wanted to murder him, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)
So, what are the People of God to do in the face of such facts? Should they not stand up to this falsehood? The devil advises, “Murder is only natural. Let nature take its course. You aren’t going to save the world!” He goes further. His command is, “Stand down!” In Navy-talk, the response must be, “Belay that order!” We reject his commands. We reject his authority. We serve a different Commander. The real one orders us to preserve life. The Lord of life and death calls us to defend those who would be hurt or harmed or killed by others. Sometimes the 5th Commandment demands that we take a life to save a life.
The Bible is a bloody book. Some of the bloodshed is by the Lord’s directions. Think of all those animal sacrifices. Think of Sodom and Gomorrah. Think of the Moabites and Ammonites being cleared out of the Promised Land by divine command. But most of all, think of Golgotha. That was holy blood. That bloodshed was caused by our sin, and offered to cover our sin. The saying of the bumper stickers is true: Freedom is not free. It is bought with blood. The Bible shows that freedom from sin, death, and the devil was bought with holy blood. The Bible must be a bloody book. Anything else would be a lie.
Lord of mercy and truth, we thank you for telling us the truth about ourselves, the world we live in, and the bloody way that were rescued. Keep us in your truth. Your Word is truth. Amen.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida. Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military