“You shall not murder.

It could not be clearer could it? Yet these last few months, an evil tyrant who claims to believe in God (seems to believe, in fact, that God is on his side), endorsed by at least some members of his state church, has been authorising the mass murder of thousands upon thousands of innocent victims. (Yes, I do think also of the many in the Russian army he has consigned to premature death with his bloodthirsty orders).

God has vetoed killing, but, tragically, history is full of it.

‘The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.’

Genesis 9:6 makes clear that the creation of humankind in God’s image makes murder a sin and crime, and it provides justification for the death penalty.

Tom Hale writes: ‘The word “murder” means to “kill deliberately”; it does not apply to accidental killing. It may or may not apply to killing because of loss of self-control; such cases are difficult to judge. The term “murder” does not apply to the killing of animals. It does not apply to killing a person in self-defence or to executions carried out by legitimate state authorities.’ ‘Applied Old Testament Commentary’, p.243.

What should be of interest and concern to us is that Jesus taught that murder is not only an external act but an internal attitude (Matt.5:21,22; 1 John 3:13). That is disturbing because I know I can become very angry with certain people – even with some fellow-Christians.

Many preachers in by-gone ages emphasised the importance of preaching the Law in preparation for the Gospel. It catches us in its powerful searchlight, and we know we have no excuses. It convicts of sin and shows us our need of a Saviour. I therefore say again, ‘Where would any one of us be apart from the grace and mercy of God?’ We are all law-breakers.

PRAYER: “Scatter the nations who delight in war” (Ps.66:30b). I can pray this with zeal; I know you can too.