Campfire Scripture: Uncommon scriptures, simple truth… For pondering over a warm campfire.
This story is a good one to point to if you want to contrast a war for which God himself personally commanded, with the Crusades. The crusaders are marginalised today by even Christians (especially by Christians) because of their supposed wanton violence.
Even if there were any serious truth to this, it pales in comparison to this biblical narrative. God sent the Israelites to crush the Midianites. By crush, I mean crush.
The army was harshly reprimanded by Moses because they spared all the women and children. This was a huge mistake because it was the women first and foremost who had seduced the Israelite men into apostasy and Baal worship. So Moses ordered the men to kill all the women, and all the male children, and spare only the virgin girls.
That sounds pretty serious.
Yet even that is nothing compared to the abhorrent practices of the surrounding nations, including the Midianites. It was standard practise for any Baal worshippers to roast their infants alive in large cow shaped ovens made of gold.
Secondly, it demonstrates the importance and the seriousness God took for keeping Israel spiritually pure. The Midianites like the Canaanites, and many others were horrendously wicked, sinful nations. God’s plan to keep Israel pure was not just for zealousness, it was for reasons of ethics too. God was punishing the offending nation, saving Israel from apostasy; the kind of apostasy that led to vile wickedness and sinfulness, baby murdering, the works.
We use the word sin, and as Christians we know sin is bad, but for some reason when sin is used as a justification for stories like this one, all of a sudden it’s no longer an adequate justification. Never mind the fact that it is sin that literally keeps us separate from God. God was protecting Israel from sin. God was punishing Midian, for its sin.
How much the better is it that Christ has paid the price for all of our sins? It’s no longer our responsibility to go cleansing nations of this wickedness, because Christ has done the cleansing for us.
It is simply our job to preach Christ, and let Him sort them out… Save them, I, I mean save them.
All Campfire Scripture passages are taken from the New American Standard Bible, unless otherwise stated.
John MacArthur, 2006, The MacArthur Study Bible, New American Standard Bible (1995 edition).