War and Peace

dan odeens   10.13.2023

The very word ‘war’ should emote something in our core to know that its root is evil.   Because we were born in sin, hatred and selfishness war within each of us.  President Lyndon B. Johnson said,

“War is always the same.  It is young men dying in the fullness of their promise.  It is trying to kill a man that you do not even know well enough to hate.  Therefore, to know war is to know that there is still madness in this world.”

But it is more. It also includes ‘innocent’ people dying.   How do we reconcile that?   Proverbs 6:16-17 speaks of the 7 things that the LORD hates.  3 of them have much to do about war…“hands that kill the innocent and a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong.”

It would be inaccurate to say the Lord is always against war.  Ecclesiastes 3:8 says there is “a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.”

The prophet Jeremiah says, “The LORD of Heaven’s Armies is his name!  You are my war club, says the LORD.  With you I will shatter nations and destroy kingdoms.”  From this verse we can rest assured that the Lord is strong and mighty and ultimately His kingdom will reign, but that may not be ‘now’ because the god (small ‘g’) of this world (Satan) has blinded the eyes of those who do not see Him. (The One true God.)

James 4:1,2 asks the same questions we are struggling with.  “What is causing the quarrels and fights among you?  Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?  You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it.  You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it from them.  Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it”

I do not have the answers to some of our current questions, but I am certain to fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith, the Alpha and Omega (beginning and the end), the LORD of lords, and the KING of kings.

Most earthly wars have a political agenda.   Most have something to do with land and territory.  But the war that breaks my heart is the war that lies deep within our souls.   The hatred and selfishness within us that violates humanity itself.

Our children deserve a better world.  Our children must understand love.  In war, love is lost.  There is no greater love than this, that one lays down his life for a friend and neighbor.  Jesus summarized the greatest of the commandments in two.  He said, love God and love people…in that order.  Jesus modeled that love not by dictating it, but by demonstrating it.   He sacrificed his own life.  He laid down His life in order to breathe His life into us.

Ronald Reagan said, “There’s no argument over the choice between peace and war, but there’s only one guaranteed way you can have peace — and you can have it in the next second — surrender.  You and I must have the courage to say to our enemies, ‘There is a price we will not pay.’”

What does ‘pray for the Peace of Jerusalem” really mean?  The word is ‘shalom’ or ‘salaam’.  This kind of peace speaks to safety and the absence of war and more importantly encompasses wholeness, unity, harmony, and health.

For those that are followers of Jesus, let’s make sure our reason for supporting the idea of praying for the peace of Jerusalem is pure and not political.  If we unpack the passage of Scripture that we quote we gain clarity on how to pray more intelligently.

Psalm 122:6-9

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.” For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.” For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your prosperity.”

Here is how we can pray:

  • Pray for security from outside attackers (safety from war). V.6
  • Pray for unity and harmony among all the people groups that live in these spaces. 7
  • Pray for family and friends who live in close proximity to have the Lord’s ‘Shalom’ and peace. 8
  • Pray for religious, territorial, economic and political prosperity. 9

I cannot complete this without stating clearly what breaks my heart the most.  Children and the next generation are at stake.  Innocence is lost.  How can we breathe life and hope back into mankind?

What are we doing to ‘pray for the peace of Jerusalem?’  History will be our judge, but what is written is up to us.