I don’t understand war or why all the violence is necessary or why men have to be subjected to the perils of war – the killing, the burning, the desecration. Apparently, though, God deems it necessary. We like to cheer on the Israelites and celebrate their victories, but I couldn’t help but think of the citizens of Ai in this chapter. This town of 12,000 people had little chance of winning a war against the Israelite army, even without God on their side. Just a portion of God’s troops numbered 30,000 men (v. 3); the ambush contained 5,000 (v. 12), and Joshua stayed back with who knows how many more. Just because the Israelite army was bigger and stronger, though, doesn’t mean it didn’t contain real live people with human emotions. Someone had to light the torch where all those women and children lived. Others had to swing swords and gut the husbands and fathers of those women and children. Those are real actions with real consequences, and if you know a veteran of war today, you know that those actions don’t just happen and then fade out of the memory banks. God, thankfully, gives these men the strength and courage and bravery to do what they must and to deal with it later, but I sure do have a lot of questions for Him about why this all has to happen down here. For today though, what I can do is try to keep our present-day soldiers and the citizens affected by war in my thoughts and prayers.
Writing prompt: war, what is it good for?
What’s your take on war? I’ve been taught growing up that war is necessary and also that it’s Biblical. We can see from these pages that there is truth in that statement, but sometimes we still need to know the reasons why. Write about your thoughts on why war is necessary or why you think it isn’t today.