Once again we are faced with the moral dilemma of what is the right thing to do. It appears that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons and killed 1400 innocent civilians, including 400 children. Our President feels that it is in the US interest to punish President Bashar Al-Assad for using these chemical weapons. What is the right thing to do? Should the US just stay out of Syria and let them work it out? Does the US have a moral obligation to try to prevent further use of chemical weapons? It does appear that the majority of the American population right now is against any involvement yet it appears that our Congress is leaning towards involvement. Who is right?
Whenever I am faced with these kinds of issues I have learned to try to look for some guidance from the Bible. This is called a ‘biblical’ world view. I believe we can find guidance for every issue we face in this Book. So here is what I find for guidance in God’s Word that I think might apply to this issue. In the Old Testament often times when the enemies of Israel came together to attack Israel, a civil war would break out and they would end up destroying themselves. These civil wars seemed to be God’s way of judging these enemies and saving Israel. One example of this is found in Judges, chapter 7, when Gideon the Israeli leader was fighting the Midianites. God turned the Midianites against each other and they were defeated. It has been clear for many years that Syria would like to destroy Israel if they could. They are definitely Israel’s enemies. I believe it is very possible that this civil war that is going on right now is no different than the many civil wars that are recorded in the Bible among the enemies of Israel. Because of this I believe that the US should not get involved. It is also concerning that the major armies that are trying to overthrow the Syrian government at this time are the Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Qaeda both of which are enemies of Israel. It does not seem right to get involved in this civil war. It would be good if the US did offer asylum to the many refugees that are trying to flee the country but it should not get involved in this internal affair.
Are there ever times the US should get involved in a country’s internal affairs? Again it is good to look to God’s Word for guidance to help us develop a “biblical” world view. Yes, I do believe that when a country is seeking to exterminate the Jewish population, even if it is their own citizens then the US should get involved. I believe it was wrong for the free world countries in the 1940 to wait so long before they got involved in the war against Germany, while Hitler was seeking to exterminate the Jews in Germany. My basis for saying this again comes from the Bible. I believe it is very clear in the Bible that the Jewish people are a special group of people that God has chosen to work through. The Bible promises that God would bless any nation that stands with the Jewish people. In Genesis 12:3 we read, “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Even though this was specifically speaking to Abraham, it is clear that this was prophetically speaking of the people who would come from Abraham and Isaac, the nation of Israel. Later in Numbers 24, it gets a little clearer. There the prophet Balaam, clearly speaking about the nation of Israel says, “Blessed is he who blesses you, and cursed is he who curses you.” It is in the best interest of any nation to stand with Israel rather than against it. This does not mean that we should condone everything the Israel government or people do, but in general this means we should seek to bless or help them. So if there were ever a situation in which Israel was being threatened, then I believe the US should get involved.
One other issue that should be considered here would be, is it ever right for the US to get involved if one country attacks another country, as opposed to a civil war. For instance when Iraq invaded Kuwait, was it right for the US to declare war against Iraq. Again it is good to look to God’s Word for guidance. In this case, the US had made a treaty with Kuwait that involved the purchase of oil from Kuwait in exchange for military protection in case it was ever attacked. I am not sure whether it was wise for the US to make this treaty but the fact remains that the US did in fact have a treaty with Kuwait that promised military protection if it was ever attacked. In the Bible it is clearly taught that a person should be a person whose word can be trusted. If we give our yes, then if a challenge comes it should still be yes. There is even a story found in the Bible in the book of Joshua chapter 9 which is a good example of a country keeping its word. Joshua the leader of Israel promised people with the Gibeonites. Even though they made the peace treaty under false pretenses, they felt obligated to keep it, since they had given their word. This is a clear message about keeping our promises. Even in Psalms 15 we read a list of character traits that God approves of. In this list, verse 4, we find this trait, “He who swears to his own hurt and does not change.” The Bible is clear on the importance of keeping our word. We should not give it lightly but if the US has a treaty with some country that provides trade to the US in exchange for military protection that the US is obligated to get involved in that country is ever invaded.
There are so many situations that are challenging in our world today. Rather than just come to our own conclusions it is always better to see if we can find some guidance in God’s Word. This is what is called a “biblical” world view and will keep us closer to God’s will than just making decisions on what we feel at the time or what we hear in the news. I believe that the stories of the Bible were recorded for our benefit, to help guide us in our current age. In Romans 15: 4, we read, “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” Also in I Corinthians 10:11 we read, “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition…”
I hope this has been of some help to you. I would strongly suggest that you make every effort to let your Congressman know your thoughts on this in the next few days before they take their vote.
Pastor Dave DiYanni
Vineyard Community Church