“The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.”
The Bible teaches that God is love (1 John 4:8). He is the One Who demonstrated His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). Though we have not seen Him with our eyes, we believe in Him, and we “rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8). Because we live in a fallen world, however, there are certain things in the created order that even a loving God hates. For instance, because God loves children (Matthew 18:1-6), He hates things like child abuse and abortion (Exodus 21:22-23; Deuteronomy 12:31). Because God loves righteousness and truth (Psalm 33:5), He hates lying and unrighteousness (Proverbs 6:16, 19; Romans 1:18). Because God loved (and loves) His covenant people Israel (Deuteronomy 7:6-8), He made war with Pharaoh and his armies (Exodus 14). Today’s passage is part of a celebratory song that Moses and the children of Israel sang after their deliverance from their Egyptian oppressors. Our redemptive histories are similar to theirs. We were once in bondage to sin and guilt, but Christ our deliverer has defeated our hated and feared enemies and has set us free (John 8:36). We have songs to sing in our hearts too (Colossians 3:16). Though God in Christ has made Himself maximally lovely, the unregenerate have nevertheless willfully chosen to become God’s enemies (Colossians 1:21). God would have them to know that the age of grace will not go on forever; the day of judgment is coming. God “hath appointed a day,” declared Paul, “in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead” (Acts 17:31). Looking ahead to the Lord’s glorious return, the apostle John declared of Jesus that “in justice doth He judge and make war” (Revelation 19:11). The events that will precede, accompany, and follow the Lord’s return are all spelled out in fantastic detail in the Scriptures. “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing,” wrote Amos, “but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7). Whereas generals and military tacticians strive to keep their plans concealed from their enemies, God declares openly what He intends to do; His enemies know well in advance what His maneuvers will be. Our God is so great that none can stop Him from accomplishing His purposes. He will put down all opposition to His wise rule (Revelation 19:11-21). He will cast from His kingdom all things that offend and He shall reign supreme over a restored earth (Acts 3:21). As kings and priests and we shall reign with Him (Revelation 5:9-10). Praise our great God for His awesome power, amazing grace, and magnificent promises!