first seek peace
Deuteronomy 20:10-14 (JDV)
Deuteronomy 20:10 “When you approach a city to fight against it, make an offer of peace.
Deuteronomy 20:11 If it answers your offer of peace and opens its gates to you, all the people found in it will become forced laborers for you and serve you.
Deuteronomy 20:12 However, if it does not make peace with you but wages war against you, lay siege to it.
Deuteronomy 20:13 When Yahveh your God hands it over to you, strike down all its males with the sword.
Deuteronomy 20:14 But you may take the women, dependents, animals, and whatever else is in the city — all its spoil — as plunder. You may enjoy the spoil of your enemies that Yahveh your God has given you.
first seek peace
The Israelite army was to invite peace of its surrounding cities, but to be prepared for war if those cities refused their offer. The next verses will make it clear that the invitation to peace only applied to those cities outside the perimeter of the land that was being given to Israel by God. The cities inside the perimeter were devoted to destruction already.
All kinds of comparisons come to mind, but at least one possibility for applying this text today has to do with how Christians should treat our benevolent neighbor religions. We should seek peace with everyone, even those who follow other faiths. How else will we gain an audience with those of other faiths?
But, if people of other faiths seek to destroy us, what then? Our covenant with Christ does not allow for our seeking personal revenge (Matthew 5:39), but the lines are a little grayer about the role of our governments (Romans 13:1-7). It is the role of government to protect its people, and that includes their religious freedom.
Matthew 5:39 But I tell you, do not retaliate when evil happens. Instead, when someone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other cheek as well.
Romans 13:1 Each soul is subject to the higher authorities. Because there is no authority except by God’s appointment, and the authorities that exist have been put in place by God.
Romans 13:2 So the opponent of such authority opposes the direction of God, and those who resist will invite judgment
Romans 13:3 (because rulers cause no fear for good achievements but for bad). Do you want not to fear authority? Do good and you will receive its approval,
Romans 13:4 because it is God’s servant for your good. But if you are doing wrong, fear, because it does not bear the sword in vain. It is God’s servant to administer retribution on the wrongdoer.
Romans 13:5 For this reason it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of the punishment the authorities can mete out, but also because of your conscience.
Romans 13:6 For this reason you also pay taxes, because the authorities are God’s servants devoted to governing.
Romans 13:7 Pay everyone what you owe them: taxes to the ones you owe taxes, revenue to the ones you owe revenue, respect t
Lord, show us how to live at peace in multicultural and multi-faith nations.