God of violence and death?

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god-at-his-computer

Scripture: 2 Samuel 8:1 Some time afterward, David attacked the Philistines and subdued them; David took Metheg-ammah out of the hand of the Philistines. He also defeated the Moabites and, making them lie down on the ground, measured them off with a cord; he measured two lengths of cord for those who were to be put to death, and one length for those who were to be spared. And the Moabites became servants to David and brought tribute. David also struck down King Hadadezer son of Rehob of Zobah, as he went to restore his monument at the river Euphrates…When the Arameans of Damascus came to help King Hadadezer of Zobah, David killed twenty-two thousand men of the Arameans. Then David put garrisons among the Arameans of Damascus; and the Arameans became servants to David and brought tribute. The Lord gave victory to David wherever he went.

Observation: Many years before David came along, Joshua and successive Jewish leaders began the occupation of the Promised Land. Here David finishes the job. As the passage says, “the Lord gave victory to David wherever he went”. Yet as I read this passage I can’t help but think how brutal this campaign was. It was the textbook definition of “genocide”.

Application: This is a disturbing passage when you consider the violence and death it portrays.In the OT, God is not God for all people, but for the Jewish people. God takes sides. How does a passage as brutal as this one square with our modern theology that says “God is love”? Where is the inclusiveness of the New Testament found in this Old Testament book? I don’t know.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, again you confuse me. We often say that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Yet this passage, and many others like it, seem to challenge this idea. Give us grace to better understand who you really are, whether we like the answers or not. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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