God, War and the Old Testament
God Has a Secondary Will
God has a perfect will, but there is a secondary will. It is a will that comes to deal with the apprentice who thinks he’s smarter than his master. God’s perfect will was that there was no divorce. God’s secondary will was that they could divorce because of the hardness of their heart.
2 Samuel 12:7 And Nathan said to David, Thou [art] the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul;
12:8 And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if [that had been] too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.
Here is a perfect illustration of God giving to the king of Israel plurality of wives. I have given you, into your bosom, your master’s wives. God has given? This is a puzzle to many people. The language is plain and simple. He gave to king David wives. Not only did he give him wives, but he gave to the Israelites a king which was not really his desire but he gave it to them.
Give Us a King
1 Samuel 8:4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah,
8:5 And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.
8:6 But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD.
8:7 And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.
In other words God says, listen to what they have to say, hearken.
1 Samuel 8:8 According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee.
8:9 Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and show them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.
What does God say? Do as they ask, give them a king. He is instructing here.
1 Samuel 8:19 Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us;
8:20 That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.
8:21 And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of the LORD.
8:22 And the LORD said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king. And Samuel said unto the men of Israel, Go ye every man unto his city.
What does God instruct Samuel? They want a king, listen to what they want. Give them a king.
I Gave a King in My Anger
Hosea 13:9 O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me [is] thine help.
13:11 I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took [him] away in my wrath.
It was what you wanted and I gave it to you. What does that mean? You have destroyed yourself but in me is your help. It is interesting that they wanted a king and King David was one of those kings that he gave multiple wives to. Although that was in his anger and permissive will, yet Jesus came to reign in the throne of David. Interesting. You will destroy yourself in what you want yet in me is your help. A fascinating mind turn. I’m letting you have what you want and if you don’t give up on me I will still help you. This is the mind of the master tradesmen in this apprenticeship.
Was War God’s Will?
The children of Israel also wanted their king to go before them and fight their wars as there were wars taking place between the nations. Was war God’s will for his people? What was God’s real will for them?
Exodus 23:20 Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.
23:21 Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name [is] in him.
23:22 But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries.
23:23 For mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off.
What would God be if they would listen to him? He would be an enemy to their enemies. This was his plan for them.
Exodus 23:27 I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee.
23:28 And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee.
God’s plan for them was they wouldn’t have to crook a finger to get the enemies out of their life. God would be their enemy and he would deal with them and send the fear upon them and they would run away. They wouldn’t fight the Israelites they would turn their backs on them. What was one of the aspects? To send hornets to drive them out. He would work through nature. That was God’s plan yet they wanted a king to go before them. God’s will was not that but he gave them a king. There is a good example of how God would do it when they trusted in him. What his original plan was could have been always for them if they had heeded him but he had to give them other aspects. One of the kings was submissive to God and in consequence God could demonstrate what his original plan really was.
2 Chronicles 20:17 Ye shall not [need] to fight in this [battle]: set yourselves, stand ye [still], and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD [will be] with you.
There was the triumph of the enemy that as they went they sang and when they arrived at the battle field the enemy was already slaughtered. That was God’s plan all the way through but as we know that didn’t happen. Because they wanted a king and they had the wars, God had to actually instruct them to go and slay other nations. He used their own desires to orchestrate the destruction of other nations. He instructed them, he sent them. Another example is Jericho where they marched around the city and the walls fell down. Another was Gideon with 300 men. They came down from the surrounding hills and the Midianites went fleeing. If the apprentices don’t want to do it exactly as their Master’s tradesmen wants, this master tradesmen who is sanctifying us, alters his own perfect will to coincide with the will of the apprentice. If I want something badly enough, God in his sanctifying work will say okay.
From the study, God’s Perfect and Permissive Will:
God and War in the Old Testament;
The Adventist and War;