Thought for the Month

"...neither shall they learn war any more" Isa.2:4

The guns fell quiet and firing ceased on all fronts on 11 November 1918. Pears Cyclopaedia records ‘great jubilation’ that World War 1 had come to a close. According to Simon Jenkins there were 700,000 British military deaths which was 1 in 12 of all mobilised males and a quarter of the officers. It is reckoned that there were 10 million deaths on all sides. The war contributed to the spread of the influenza pandemic which accounted for the deaths of about 75 million worldwide. The financial cost was high and also the national debt ballooned from £40m to £360m. H.G. Wells called it "The war that will end war". This was not to be so.

After the Armistice the League of Nations was formed on 10 January 1920 with the object of promoting international peace and security. At its height 53 nations were part of the organisation. Such was the desire for peace among the British populace that there was the ‘peace ballot’ in 1935 ‘in support of the weak‑kneed League of Nations and a prohibition on world arms manufacture in which 11 million voted. It all came to nothing and World War 2 began nearly 80 years ago.

The United Nations was the successor to the League of Nations.75 years ago in October 1943 the foundations of the charter for a world peace organisation were strengthened in Moscow "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice...has brought untold sorrow to mankind" in order to "practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours". The four that began this were China, Great Britain, Russia and the U.S.A.

War has not yet ceased and there has been conflict in various parts of the world ever since. Even now there are bitter civil wars in Syria and the Yemen. In Syria there have been 39 reported attacks of chemical weapons according to ‘I’ on 13 September this year. Since then a suicide bomb in eastern Afghanistan has now resulted in a death toll of 68 people. Huge war games began in Russia recently.

War appears to be something to live with although many are weary with the constant bad news. Nevertheless the scriptures tell us of a time when war will be no more, when peace and righteousness will reign. Isaiah 2 is one of a number of chapters in the Bible that tell us about the future. Verse 4 tells us about swords and spears being converted into agricultural tools implying times of peace and productivity. Isaiah 32 speaks of a time when a king shall reign in righteousness. "The effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust for ever. My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting‑places." (Isa.32:17‑18 ESV)

Zechariah uses much of the language of war such as chariots but follows this with "the counsel of peace" that will come afterwards. The wonderful counsellor and Prince of Peace will be fully active as a peacemaker between God and all people in due time and of this peace there shall be no end (Isa.9:7).