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  • Writer's pictureRick LoPresti

Neither good nor bad

Switzerland’s military staffing needs are met similarly to those in Israel. Most males are conscripted into the army at 18 and are required to keep their weapons at home. In effect, the male population is made up of trained and armed soldiers. Yet despite this military preparedness, Switzerland has maintained a policy of armed neutrality since the 16th century and has not fought an international war since 1815. This is especially interesting considering its location right between Germany and Italy.

It seems that it would be nice to be able to avoid going to war. Most people prefer peace to conflict. General William Tecumseh Sherman, a leader of the Union army in the Civil War, is credited with the saying, “War is hell”. Although it is not eternal, war is certainly not something to take lightly. Unfortunately, in the spiritual realm avoiding conflict is not possible. Satan initiated conflict with God in heaven and was cast out to the earth with the fallen angels (Lk 10:18, 2Pet 2:4, Jude 6, Rev 12). Since Adam and Eve sinned in the garden (Gen 3), there has been spiritual conflict for man with the devil, his angels, sin, and the value system of this world which is based on sin (1Jn 2:15-17). We are also now living in the fulfillment of Isaiah 5:20, which says, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” There are two sides to this war, and we must choose one. We do this generally in the large sense, and we do it specifically each day. There is no spiritual Switzerland. We cannot remain neutral. We cannot dodge making this choice. Failure to choose is also a choice.

Jesus said, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad (Mt 12:30).” He also said, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth (Rev 3:15-16).” There are only two sides in this war. There is no fence sitting. Despite the current effort to blur lines and deny the binary nature of things, there is good and bad (Lev 27:10-14, Num 13:19, 2Sam 14:17, 1Ki 3:9, Jer 24:2, Mt 13:48, Mt 22:10, 2Cor 5:10). There were people in the Bible who pretended to embrace neutrality, but this is impossible. Laban tried it in his relationship with his son-in-law Jacob (Gen 24:50, Gen 31:24 & 29). The soothsayer Balaam tried it with Israel (Num 24:13). Absalom tried it with his half-brother Amnon (2Sam 13:22). In all three cases, they proved to not be neutral. Laban deceived Jacob and changed his wages ten times (Gen 29:23-25, Gen 31:7 & 41). Balaam tried hard to pronounce a curse on Israel, and when God stopped him, he had the Israelites curse themselves through idolatry and the accompanying immorality (Num 22-25, Num 31:16, Rev 2:14). Absalom had Amnon killed (2Sam 13:28-29). The phrase “neither good nor bad” describes the attempts of all three men to give the appearance of neutrality, but it was just a cover up for what their intentions really were. What was in their hearts eventually came out in their actions toward those they spoke neither good nor bad of.

God said through the prophet Isaiah that although Israel professed to honor Him with their words, He knew their hearts were far from Him (Is 29:13). When Jesus did miracles in Jerusalem, many claimed to believe in Him, but He knew their hearts were not really converted (Jn 2:23-25). We need more than a claim to not be allied with the enemy, and we need more than a superficial claim to be allied with God. We need Him to truly change our hearts (Eze 36:26, Heb 8:10, Heb 10:16). Only then can we be on the winning side of this war.

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