To Destroy And To Save
“Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant” (I Samuel 15:3).
“Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:16).
They are some of the hardest, most difficult sayings in scripture, the Old Testament commands for Israel to destroy entire people groups, even children. Yet, the same God who ordered the destruction of infants is the same God in the New Testament to encouraged the protection of children, even elevating them as examples of the kingdom of God. What is going on here?
There are heavy theological reasons to explain why these passages exist. But there isn’t enough time in a devotion like this to explain it. Instead, we look to God as sovereign. The God with the authority to destroy is the same God with the authority to save. And we should be thankful that he, in his mercy, has chosen to save us. “To to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). There is a difference between a military command to destroy and a command of personal behavior to preserve life. We don’t live in the age of destruction. It is commanded to us that we are to save.
Do you trust God with your future? Do you trust God with the future of humanity? If so, then ask yourself this question: do I trust God with the past? Do I really need God to answer every difficulty I have with scripture or can I trust him with the decisions he has made that eventually led to this point in history where I can trust God with my present and my future?
God is sovereign. That means that he has the right to do with his creation whatever it is that pleases him. And it pleases him to save us. And though that may not be the answer you are looking for to satisfy these difficulties in scripture, for now, let that be enough.
“To all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).
Let God’s love for you move you in how you treat the child and the infant. Advocate to save the unborn and to honor the aged. Look for opportunities to save rather than to ridicule or destroy.