War is planned.
I was thinking about all the wars and rumors of wars in the news the other day. Then as I listened to Christmas carols and thought about the Bethlehem story, the Lord began talking to me.
Men speak peace but they plan war.
Don’t pray for world peace. The angels at Bethlehem didn’t declare peace on earth – they declared peace on earth to men of good will – i.e., men of God’s choosing.
Peace happens in pockets. As one individual at a time is offered terms of peace, he himself must accept those terms, must declare peace between himself and God. As the evidence and benefits of the obtained peace become obvious to others, they may seek peace with God also. On God’s terms, of course, not theirs.
The problem isn’t that God declared war on mankind. Mankind’s beautiful false friend planned war the moment Adam was created. Satan planned it, declared it, and conscripted humans into his ranks to wage it. But he cannot win; God is too skilled a warrior to lose this battle.
Winning the war isn’t the enemy’s only goal, however. It’s his ultimate goal, perhaps, but in the interim corrupting humanity will do, one man at a time. Weaken his faith, strengthen his doubt, neutralize his fighting ability and there’s one less warrior to worry about.
Oh yes, war is planned. It’s a major occupation of the tempter to plan it and plant it in the minds of susceptible human beings.
Whether in little skirmishes or horrific battles, men attempt to gain something by other than honorable means. What is it they want? Control. Power and authority. Godship of themselves and others.
A primary temptation from the beginning of time, this is the first of the ten commandments. Have no other gods before me, the Lord said. Being your own god, making your own rules, ruling your own life and that of other people is so attractive! That’s why war will exist for at least a thousand more years.
Daniel learned about warfare from the angel Gabriel, and he wrote about battles between nations that would happen far into the future from his own time.
He also learned about battles raging even then, fierce enough to delay delivery of a message from an angel (Daniel 10:12-13). The book of Daniel offers fascinating insights into what goes on around us unseen to the human eye, yet affecting us both personally and politically.
So, rather than praying the usual generic, seasonal prayer for world peace, let’s pray for peace between God and individuals; that kind is actually possible.