Kings and Armies

Day 203

Prayer for the day

You are my crag and my stronghold; for the sake of your Name, lead me and guide me.

Scripture for the day

Psalm 33-34, Acts 24

It’s an interesting take on militarism. The Psalmist says that “no king is saved by the size of his army” and goes on to enumerate the numerous other things that do not save. We live in a day and age where militarism is heralded as the peacemaker, the panacea for what we fear. The Psalmist, however, has a different take.

Rather than trusting in the military might of the king, or in his horses, or in his warriors, the Psalmist is determined to trust only in the God who is truly able to save. In this way, the Psalmist escapes the myth of redemptive violence, the belief that through war will come peace, and instead focuses on what will truly bring peace and salvation: trust in the Almighty God of the universe: YHWH

It’s interesting to note that when Paul encounters Felix, he doesn’t seem to be afraid of the might of Rome. Instead, he speaks boldly about “the Way,” the name for Christians before “Christian” was used. He speaks to Felix about his faith, about the differences and similarities between the Way and Judaism, claiming that some believe it to be a sect while Paul sees it as a natural extension of Judaism.

Regardless of the theological discussion, Paul obviously trusts that his God is mightier than this Felix and all the soldiers he may command. Yes, Felix can imprison Paul to impress the Jewish religious leaders, and yes, Felix can ultimately order him killed (though he does not). Paul knows that Felix can do these things. But he trusts that the power of his God is mightier than the power of a Roman bureaucrat.

Regardless of who we encounter, and regardless of how those people believe peace and salvation can be accomplished, the examples of Paul and the Psalmist lead us to believe that peace and salvation will only come through YHWH God, and trusting in him. May our beliefs be in line.

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