I’ve answered these questions in different ways. Lately, I feel that the enemies of Israel knew the power of God and, if they had repented, God would have spared them. Rahab is an excellent example. She helped God’s people, her family was saved, and she wound up in the genealogy of Jesus. The wicked who were destroyed not only knew the power of God, many of them had seen it.
The reason this topic has come to mind is a quote I stumbled upon by perhaps the greatest leader our country has ever known. He had little schooling. His church attendance was meager.
Responding to accusations that he was an “infidel”, Abraham Lincoln defended himself, without denying that specific charge, by publishing a hand-bill in which he stated:
“That I am not a member of any Christian church is true; but I have never denied the truth of the Scriptures; and I have never spoken with intentional disrespect of religion in general, or of any denomination of Christians in particular…. I do not think I could myself be brought to support a man for office whom I knew to be an open enemy of, or scoffer at, religion.”
Lincoln attended one of Peter Cartwright’s (an opponent for Congress) revival meetings. At the conclusion of the service, the fiery pulpiteer called for all who intended to go to heaven to rise. Naturally, the response was heartening. Then he called for all those who wished to go to hell to stand, unsurprisingly there were not many takers. Lincoln had responded to neither option. Cartwright closed in. “Mr. Lincoln, you have not expressed an interest in going to either heaven or hell. May I enquire as to where you do plan to go?” Lincoln replied: “I did not come here with the idea of being singled out, but since you ask, I will reply with equal candor. I intend to go to Congress.”
Mr. Lincoln grew up in a very religious family and he knew his Bible very well.
Having shared these few quotes, I come to the one that I think captures Mr. Lincoln’s thoughts on war and God:
“Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet if God wills that it continues…until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword…so still it must be said that THE JUDGMENTS OF THE LORD ARE TRUE AND RIGHTEOUS ALTOGETHER (my emphasis). With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us finish the work we are in, to bind up the nations’ wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and for his orphans, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and a lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
-Abraham Lincoln -Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1865