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Good Morning.

And he said to them, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Let every man put his sword on his side, and go in and out from entrance to entrance throughout the camp, and let every man kill his brother, every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.’ (Exodus 32:27)

It is very difficult for us to comprehend something so vile that it would require God’s people to take such action. Frankly, it is this kind of narrative that causes some to regard the God of Israel, at least as He is revealed in the Old Testament, as harsh, cruel and judgmental. But as His people, we know better; He is good, merciful and long suffering — so how do we reconcile this with situations such as we read here? We have to look at the bigger picture.

Imagine someone who receives a diagnosis that says they have a cancerous tumor that is very aggressive and deadly. They are given two options: cut it out and live, or leave it to spread and most certainly die. The response should be obvious — it is necessary to remove the deadly invader so that the rest of the body has a chance to heal and live a long life. When Moses gave this order, I would argue he was not focused on punishing the guilty per se but on saving the rest of the body that had not yet been infected. We must remember that the man who gave the order to destroy the rebels is the same man who interceded for his people before the Almighty just prior to this.

The point I am emphasizing is that our Father in Heaven is not harsh, cruel and judgmental — He is holy. Furthermore, He is concerned about the Body at large and will, when there is no other option, purge from the body those who would undermine the spiritual health and sanctity of His people. In that vein of thought, we too must be diligent to stand guard against those who would undermine God’s purposes within our families and our assemblies. The fact is that sometimes cancerous cells have to be removed for the sake of the entire body. Obviously that is not to say we should take up the sword as the tribe of Levi did, but we should certainly take up the Sword of the Spirit and wield it with justice and truth. We must protect that which the Lord has entrusted to us because, just as He loved His church, we must as well — and sometimes that is a hard thing to do.

Blessings and Shalom,  




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