Jump Start # 3129
Ecclesiastes 3:8 “A time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace.”
Our verse today comes from Solomon’s “seasons of life.” There is a time for everything, he says. And, what follows is a series of couplets and opposites. Many of them we really enjoy, such as hugs, birth and love. And, many of the opposites, we dread, such as hate, war and death.
Our focus today is on the ending of today’s verse, “a time for war and a time for peace.” As I write this, the war in Ukraine is entering yet another month. I think most people thought the war would be ended by this time. The events do not headline the nightly news anymore.
There needs to be some thought put into “a time for war.” Solomon is writing generically. He doesn’t identify if the war is between nations, families, ethnic groups or simply two co-workers who can’t get along. There is a time for war and there is a time for peace. When is there a time for war? When is it appropriate to launch into battle? And, Solomon doesn’t identify what kind of war he has in mind. Physical war with soldiers? A war with words? A husband and wife who are having an argument? A mad teen who slams the door to her bedroom? Political skirmishes between candidates? Religious wars that we often call persecution?
There is a time for war. Here’s some things to help us:
First not every battle is my battle, nor should I fight in ever battle. People tend to be involved in far too many things that are not any of their business. Two co-workers who cannot get along, explodes into the entire office taking sides and people who once liked each other and got along well, now don’t. This is true in families. This is true within the church. We preachers can stick our noses in the business of other congregations and get ourselves involved in things are not our battles. Staying out is hard. But one of the best things is to let the people involved work their differences out.
Second, when you are involved, do all that you can to make peace and avoid a war with others. That’s the spirit of the New Testament. Blessed are the peacemakers, Jesus said. The Romans were told, “if possible, as far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” Among the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians is peace. Listed in Peter’s characteristics of virtues are love and self control. Some like to irritate. Some like to stir things up. Some just know how to push the right buttons and they do that all day long. It’s like riding with your little brother in the back seat of the car. A touch becomes a poke, which becomes a pinch, which turns into a slap, which turns into a hit. About that time, dad has stopped the car and both get a spanking. Make peace when you can.
Third, lines must be drawn where God has established them. There are wars that need to be fought. There are battles that must take place. Standing for the integrity of Scriptures and God’s pattern for things is one such battle. There are those who want to twist Scriptures, introduce new concepts, change the way of God and reinvent what the Lord has introduced. Doctrinally, morally, culturally—there are battles taking place. To sit on the sidelines because one doesn’t like confrontations or the mess of wars is to allow the enemy to take over.
Near where I live, Corydon, Indiana, there was a battle that took place during the Civil War. It was the only battle fought in Indiana. Morgan’s Raiders came up from Kentucky into Indiana. A they approach little towns, they demanded horses, supplies and money. If they didn’t get that, they would fight and destroy the town. Every town quietly and cowardly surrendered, except my Corydon. They put up a fight. Cannons were fired. Muskets were shot. Several on both sides died. In the end, the defenders of Corydon surrendered. But the delay it caused, allowed Union troops to pursue and later capture most of Morgan’s Raiders.
Just like Morgan’s Raiders, Satan is trying to move in and take over. To surrender without a fight is to lack faith, courage and conviction. A person needs to fight for their marriage and not let the devil destroy it. Shepherds need to fight for the truth that is to be fed to the flock. Many a pied piper has fooled people with slick messages, fancy books and stealth like motives. There is a time for war.
We sing, “Solders of Christ arise.” Will we? Will we be ready? Will we engage the enemy for what is right? I fear sometimes that we fight, but we are fighting in the wrong wars. And what we ought to be fighting, we are not. Standing on the principles or sitting on the sidelines?
There is a time for war and a time for peace. Knowing what time it is, makes all the difference.