“When you go near a city to fight against it, then proclaim an offer of peace to it. And it shall be that if they accept your offer of peace, and open to you, then all the people who are found in it shall be placed under tribute to you and serve you. Now if the city will not make peace with you, but makes ware against you, then you shall besiege it.” (Dt. 20:10-12)
As we have considered the First Commandment further this morning, we have seen that God calls His people to war, to fight. At the same time, we do not pursue this battle out of bloodlust or an aimless need for conflict. We take up the full armor of God which includes our feet being shod with the gospel of peace. It is the peace of God which passes all understanding which Paul says will guard our hearts and minds as we rejoice in the Lord and lift up our requests to God in prayer. While Jesus is God the Warrior come in human flesh, He says that blessed are the peacemakers. And here, every Lord’s Day we come to this table to celebrate this gospel of peace. This cup is the new covenant in the blood of Christ, the blood that cleanses from all sin, the blood that brings peace between warring nations, the blood that grants us peace with God. Here we celebrate the peace that has been accomplished in the death and resurrection of Jesus, but this celebration of peace is always simultaneously an act of war, an act of defiance. When the Israelites came upon cities during the conquest of the land, they always began by proclaiming an offer of peace. And that is what we are doing here, week after week. We, along with all other believers in Moscow, proclaim an offer of peace to Moscow and the Palouse. And the proclamation of that offered peace is simply this: Jesus Christ is King of this World. He is your Lord and your God, and there are no others. There is no other life, no other peace, no other way. Some come and rejoice with us.
So come. Let us rejoice in this peace, in this conquest.