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Do you ever wonder?

Karen Stevens

I was reading Deuteronomy 20 this morning for my H.E.A.R. journal and the Israelite’s are getting step by step instructions on how to go to war in this chapter.

Did you ever wonder why God chose the Israelites to fight and kill people when His 10 Commandments says, “Do not kill”?  Do you every wonder if there are two meanings to “do not kill”?  There has to be, because they received the 10 commandments in Exodus, and Deuteronomy comes after Exodus in the Bible.

God, to this day offers us heaven or hell.  He offers us life or death.  We can choose.

Even though we now have Jesus to cover our sins, we still have the choice of death or life.  We can choose to do things Gods way, and have life after death, or we can choose to go our own way and choose death and hell.

Also, have you ever wondered why these cities were the Israelite’s enemies?  The Israelites had never been in that country before (they were too busy being slaves to the Egyptians).  So why were they enemies?  Everything I read, only shows they were enemies, because they were God’s enemies.

They were God’s enemies because they were detestable people.  That is what the Bible states.  They worshipped idols, burn their children, practiced witchcraft, etc.  God said kill them all because they would teach the Israelites to follow all the detestable things.

God knows that we are not strong enough to live beside sin everyday without stepping into it.  So even though we should not kill in today’s standards, we can stay away from people that practice the things that God hates.  We should distance ourselves as far from those people as possible.

That is really hard to do when everyone has sin in their life, but we must try.  If we can social distance during the COVID-19, we can social distance for God.

I’m still curious why God would write the sixth commandment as “Thou shalt not kill”.  Well, He didn’t.  He wrote “Thou shalt not murder.”

Both Hebrew and English have two words for taking a life — one is “kill” (harag, in Hebrew) and the other is “murder” (ratzach in Hebrew).  When King James translated the Bible, “murder” and “kill” were synonymous.

Fun fact:  The Ten Commandments are portrayed on two tablets. The five commandments on the second tablet all concern our treatment of fellow human beings.  The first one on that list is “Do not murder.” Why?  Because murder is the worst act a person can commit. The other four commandments — prohibiting stealing, adultery, giving false testimony, and coveting, are all serious offenses, but murder being the more serious.

I have a lot of Christian friends that disagree with me about sins having various degrees of seriousness.  Why would God set up Judges to pass sentencing if there are not various degrees of sin?  And yes, God is the one who set up “Judges” under Moses.

We could save a lot of time by pronouncing someone innocent or guilty, and giving those that are guilty all the same punishment.  All guilty parties have Community Service and spend one month in jail.  Done!  Bam!  Oh, you committed murder?  No problem, Community Service and one month in jail.  Done!  Oh, you littered?  No problem, Community Service and one month in jail.  Done!  Bam!

It sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?  Why would we think it would be any different for our sins?

I have served on may Jury trials, and figuring out the punishment or the rewards, takes just as long as trying to figure out if they are guilty or innocent.

It’s good to wonder and ponder on things.  It makes us see things much more clearly; so keep wondering.

Karen Y. Stevens is Executive Director for Meals on Wheels