Bible Society of South Africa

War or peace? - 21 November 2023

By Ewald Schmidt

Bible text(s)

8He sets the time for love and the time for hate,

the time for war and the time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:8GNBOpen in Bible reader

“War” is such an ugly word. It tells of the depths of human depravity and of the utter devastation that hate leads to. War leads to the destruction of lives, property and dreams. From the first Gulf War, we have seen, on live television, how bombs get dropped onto people. We are seeing the destruction in Ukraine and in Gaza. We are shocked to see people getting taken away in body bags. We see the fear and desolation in the faces of people clutching their last earthly possessions in a small bag, heading towards a refugee camp. What good can come from war? When could there be a good time for it?

The Old Testament has a lot of war going on in its pages. God promised Abraham a land of his own, as part of his covenant. The surrounding nations were not always friendly and have attacked Israel a lot. When I read of a time for war, I understand that there may be times when we have to stand up to defend that which is precious to us. In extreme cases, there must come times when good people say no to dictators and evil empires.

I believe Ephesians 6:12 that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the darkness and evil in this world. There is a spiritual battle going on in this world; it started in Genesis 3 and it will continue until Jesus comes back. It is a battle between light and darkness, between good and evil. Now is a time of spiritual warfare, with weapons of prayer.

There is a time for peace. Our Lord Jesus is also called the Prince of Peace. He came to this world to bring peace. He came to restore the peace between God and man. He helps us to heal broken relationships, he brings peace with our fellow man. He also brings peace within ourselves. When we find peace, we are sent to be peacemakers. We will be known as children of God, when we obey (Matthew 5:9). It is a difficult task, but Paul also highlighted it in Romans 12:18: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Not everyone wants to live in peace with you and some people will never want peace. It is not in our ability to make everyone happy. But, within our influence and ability, reach out a hand of peace, because you follow the Prince of Peace. And, because he told you so. If all God’s children take this command seriously, there might be a very positive change in this world!

Prayer: Dona nobis pacem! Lord, give us peace in our time. Our world is burning and people are getting hurt. You are the Prince of Peace. Let your peace flow over this world. As a child of God, help me to be a peacemaker. Amen

Bible Society of South Africav.4.16.16
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