Friday, January 25, 2013
One of my favorite scenes from the classic movie, The Longest Day, about the Normandy invasion that turned the tide in WWII was two flashes from both sides of the war. When queried about the critical outcome of the battle, an allied commander confidently replied that “God is on our side”. Then the scene immediately shifts to the German Third Reich commander who responds to the same question with the same reply. Obviously, one of the two commanders is deadly wrong. Anti-abolitionists in the 1860’s used Ephesians 6:5 to defend the slavery cause using the literal word which admonished, “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling”. But I like the response of Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War who famously responded differently, “My concern is not whether God is on our side—my greatest concern is to be on God’s side”. Both history and our inherent sense of values show us that slavery was indefensible.
The answers don’t necessarily lie in a literal interpretation of many of the Biblical writings set in the context of the ancient Jewish world, but in the context of scriptural values, especially those taught to us by Jesus in the New Testament when a new covenant between God and us human beings was established. The ancient Bible wasn’t written as a definitive science book either, but modern science is revealing the brilliance of a divine creative mind in discoveries such as the new DNA codes. It is good to find our values in Biblical writings VS our contemporary cultural environment, but we should exercise God given common sense and reflective contemplation for our answers. The truth found in these living writings transcends cultures and time periods. God doesn’t choose sides as much as he strengthens and protects those who seek truth and relationship, e.g., I believe you’re wasting your breath praying for a victory for just about anything, but seeking strength, guidance and protection could be useful.