Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence.
This week we are taking about the Sixth Commandment: “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13). Today I want to make an important observation related to this commandment: God hates any kind of violence.
Reading through the Old Testament law, we find prohibition after prohibition against physically striking another person. Why is that? Because human beings have value to God. God is the One who creates life. He values life and therefore He hates any kind of violence. People ask me, “Pastor, what do you say to a woman who is living in an abusive marriage where her husband is subjecting her and her children to violence?” There is this screwed-up thinking out there that says a woman is supposed to stay in that situation. She is just supposed to pray about it and take her beatings with dignity. That is absurd, and that is a violation of the Word of God! Human life is valuable to God.
God is utterly opposed to violence. I want to show you something you may not have seen before. In Genesis 6 we see God’s judgment of the world by sending the Flood. Notice the stated reason that God judged the world. Did He do it because of sexual immorality? That was certainly rampant. Did He do it because of idolatry? That was rampant too. But neither of those is the reason God gave for destroying the world the first time. Look at what Genesis 6:11 says: “Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence.” And then in verse 13, God says to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth.” The reason God destroyed the world the first time was because of violence. God hates violence.
We live in an increasingly violent society. According to recent FBI statistics, there is a violent crime every twenty-seven seconds, an aggravated assault every forty-four seconds, and a murder every thirty-seven minutes. Murder is one of the leading causes of death for young men and women in America today. Domestic violence is the top cause of emergency-room visits by women. During the Vietnam War more women were murdered at home than men were slain on the battlefield. That is the kind of world in which we live. God hates violence, and He will judge violence.
You know, something is interesting to me. Many Christian parents are opposed to pornography, which they ought to be, and they don’t allow their children to see PG-13 movies because they’re adamant against any hint of immorality, which they should be. But these same Christian parents will allow their children to watch television shows and movies and play video games filled with murder after murder, and they think nothing about it. “Oh, that’s just violence,” they say. “It’s not sex.” Do you think that doesn’t have an effect on people? By the time a child grows up in America, he or she will have viewed tens of thousands of murders and acts of violence on television and in the movies, not to mention playing out murders in violent video games hour upon hour. People say, “What children see on movies and on television, what they play on video games, that doesn’t affect them. That doesn’t cause them to act out.” The next time anybody says that to you, ask them this question: If what we see doesn’t affect us, why do advertisers spend billions of dollars every year producing television commercials in order to get us to do a certain action? They wouldn’t be spending those billions of dollars if they didn’t have proof that what we see affects how we behave.
We live in a violent society. What we see does affect our actions. That’s the problem with watching violence. It desensitizes us to the value of human life. God hates all kinds of violence.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Murder He Wrote,” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.