Ziva has been talking a lot lately about killing. She frequently makes comments about Daddy killing the bad guys at work, she talks about police and soldiers killing people, and occasionally she voices fear that someone will kill her. It has concerned me that my 3 year old is thinking about killing, and I wondered where in the world she's been getting such ideas, until a light bulb went off and it occurred to me--the only place Ziva hears about killing is in the Bible.
And it's had me thinking. These stories we read her, in any other context, I would probably shelter her from. But since they are in Scripture, we don't. We read them and talk about them, and even at this early age, try to teach her truth, even though it's hard. A lot of what Jesus taught was hard to hear, harder to live. Still is. But we can't gloss over it or leave it out because of that. It's there for a reason, and it's an important part of the puzzle, a very real aspect of the life of faith.
I think all those war stories, all the killing of the Old Testament, are visible, in-the-flesh reminders that the life of faith ultimately is a battle. No longer do we see God's people fighting against God's enemies, fighting for their home--at least not in the form of Jews fighting against Philistines, fighting for a piece of property. Today, Goliath comes in the form of "spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm" (Eph. 6), all the more dangerous because unseen; the home we're fighting for is one we've not yet seen. And the not seeing makes it so hard for us to remember there's a war going on all around us. Perhaps the war scenes of the Old Testament are trying to remind us....this is happening right here, right now, all the time. Killing is still an important part of following God, but now it's putting to death self, killing the sinful nature, destroying anything that tries to turn my heart away from God toward something less, something empty. Now that's a concept that a 3 year old can't grasp...most adults still have a hard time with it too. So we continue to read the stories of battle and death and pray that what Ziva--what we all--take away from it is the knowledge that good must be fought for, in the world and in our own hearts. And victory is ours if we remain in Him.