This letter didn't come easy for me. There are not a lot of K words that fit nicely into this theme. Believe me, I've looked. I tried to find something other than the word that I have for today's post. King...Weird K named regions of Israel...anything to not have to do this word; the word that keeps reverberating in my mind like a church bell trying to gets its last dong in, hoping to call the last sleepy eyed straggler out of bed.
This really isn't a girl word. Or a Christian word. Or a word we like to line up with the beautiful things of mercy and grace and peace and forgiveness and all those other sparkly words that fill our feeble hearts with contentment, if only in short-lived moments by moments.
But kill was a part of what David and the Mighty Men did. They killed. A lot. They trained to kill. They were good at killing. They were experts at killing. They were the Seal Team 6 of ancient Judah. They didn't need high powered scopes and night goggle vision. They got the job done without satellites and radar and heat sensitive tracking devices.
And God knew what they were doing. In fact, as we've already seen, God gave them the victory!
How does one reconcile a loving God full of mercy and clothed in redemptive powers with a God who seems to be ok with letting a world run wild with acts of violence and murder?
How come the "man after his own heart" was honored even though his life was filled with killing human beings?
How come God lets us read about a group of men whose soul purpose it seems was to kill in battle or needless revenge?
Why are there wars?
Why do people kill each other?
Why does a good and loving God allow such things?
Why, for crying out loud, doesn't the God of the Universe put a stop to all the killing?
Since Adam and Eve first choose their selfish needs over their perfect relationship with God, mankind has suffered the poison of that broken relationship. Children are the first to suffer for the parent's shenanigans, and Cain, and most certainly Abel, were the pioneers of such truth. Cain, the child of Adam and Eve, committed the first kill. Adam and Eve couldn't blame it on TV or video games or the bully at school or anyone or anything else. When you are the only four people on earth, the finger of blame doesn't point very far outside of the family home.
The potential to commit violence entered into the hearts of Adam and Eve the second they turned away from their Friend who walked with them in the cool of the day and instead listened to the serpent's enticing question, "Did God really say.....?" and has continued to be an (un)welcome guest in the heart of every human being since.
If you're like me, you like to read past the parts in the Bible where God's people are truly violent, where God seems to give the ok to slaughter and wipe out whole communities no matter the age or the sex. Violence is a reality in our world and it most certainly was a reality at the time of David and his Mighty Men. Kill or be killed if you believe what historical documentation records in the history of civilization.
Death, whether by violence or sleep or illness....kills. Permanently. Forever.
The deaths on tv and movies, as we cover our eyes or look away to avoid the blood and the gore even though we know the actor will get up after the shot and walk away, then clean himself off and go to the next studio to shoot the next scene of perhaps a comedy or drama, aren't real everlasting deaths. They have no eternal consequences. They are pretend. People are payed, sometimes very well, to pretend they have been killed or they have killed.
Fake news about fake death.
Real killing though leads to real death.
David's God, your God too if you believe, let Himself be killed. He let himself be tortured. He let himself be violated in painful and humiliating ways. Perhaps the techniques that the Mighty Men of David used on their enemies were passed on through the generations to the men who tortured and killed the King of Kings.
Violence is part of a world separated from the Kingdom of Heaven and bestowed on the King of Heaven. With his permission.
Killing is not part of God's good and perfect will, but killing was and is used for God's good and perfect will. How can those two sentence both be true?
Soon, the day will come, the killing will stop, the Mighty Men will be out of a job. Violence will not be the means for pseudo peace between humans, for the Prince of Peace will forever overthrow the prince of violence. The death the Prince of Peace suffered was the only death that was not permanent and made the way for those who believe in him to not suffer permanent death.
The violent death of the Mighty Prince of Peace led to Resurrected life. His death leads to my resurrected life both in my Spirit now and in my body when it dies. My death will not be permanent. I will enter into resurrected life where all my questions will be laid aside as I fall at the feet of the King of Kings in all his glory. Death could not master him, and because it could not master him, it will not master me.
Until then, until my body still has life for now, I struggle to accept I won't know or understand the paradox of a merciful God and his unending love for a violent world. But I will trust in the God who is a God of mercy and longs to show mercy on a world whose heart is prone to violence and death. Death is not the final answer to those who belong to the God who led David and his Mighty Men.
K is for kill.
If you are a regular reader and a reluctant student of the word because you come here, open up a new tab, see the one next to this window? Yes, that one. Open it up and type in Biblegateway.com and then type in the word death in the search bar. Look up all the places in the book of Romans where Paul used the word death. When you're done, ask yourself, if you've never asked yourself this question before,
"Do I believe what Paul said is true?"
God loves you and wants you to know that the death he experienced, he experienced for you. It wasn't because of anything good you did or might do in the future, he did it just because he loves you enough to keep you from dying permanently for all eternity.
Your death will be final. There will be no getting up and washing off the fake blood or emptying yourself of the illness that lives inside you. Are you sure you want to live the rest of your life fearing your death? Fearing how you will die for it is not a matter of you might die....
You WILL die.
Lord Jesus, for the person reading this who can't answer this last question, I pray your clear and certain answer to pour into their mind and heart. I pray that you pour out your love on them in a way that they have never experienced before. I pray that you fill them with a peace that makes no sense. I pray that you bless them with a hunger to know you, to seek you, and to ultimately follow you. Bless this person Lord, in your mighty powerful loving way and make us all men and women after your own heart.