Psalm 144:1-2 What to do with War?

“Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight:
My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me.”  -Psalm 144:1-2

There is a piece of me that is offfended by the first line here;   although I know this is David’s psalm–David who is known for his courage in war and success in battle–there is a little piece of a 1970’s mindset that says peace, peace–why should I be glad to a God who teacheth hands to war?

In some ways, it brings me back to the conversation from yesterday about Pantheism. One of the many problems that I have with Pantheism is that it doesn’t adequately address and explain the continual state of conflict and war we face in this world.  People like the thought of all things having spirits and honoring all things, which is well and good upon first glance and makes for a warm fuzzy, but can we really take this worldview and apply it to the world in ways that realistically fit life?   My cat does not respect the spirit of the bird she tore to pieces, my children regularly run over each other’s feelings, and I’m certain that terrorists would wish to destroy our culture if allowed to.  No amount of discussion about “honoring life” would make sense to this bunch, so I find myself back at the first line again….

I am very thankful that the Lord teacheth hands, hands that defend me, our family, our children, hands that preserve liberty and fairness, to war.  It’s also noteworthy that David took no pleasure in his own skill, instead giving it all up to the  blessing of the Lord.

And when I fight my own enemies—within me, without me, because when you think it through the enemies are all around whether we like it or not—I am glad that He teacheth my hands to war against these lies and difficulties in ways that are skillful and effective.

Do I like war?  No.  I think people confuse the issue.  No one “likes” war, unless you have given yourself over to evil destruction.  Instead the question should be, “Is there purpose in this war….is it a necessary thing?”  and if so, thank God for the people willing to throw themselves into that path–David, or soldiers of today–for it is not an easy path to tread.

“We ought not to receive so great a boon as strength to resist evil, to defend truth, and to conquer error, without knowing who gave it to us, and rendering to him the glory of it.” -Matthew Henry