Truth is the first casualty of war. The current war between the Russian Federation and Ukraine is not an exception. There are no exceptions. Nonetheless, people—including many Christians—are choosing sides in this war.
God and War in Ukraine
Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church—at least inside of Russia—has publicly approved the Russian Federation’s invasion. Many Christians in the west are flying the flag of Ukraine or displaying its colors in social media. Both sides are conscripting soldiers. It is likely that some of those soldiers are Christian. In addition to the usual horrors of war, we see the sad spectacle of Christians killing other Christians.
Before choosing a side, we should find out what side God favors and join that one. It is true that God is a warrior (Ex. 15:3). In the Old Testament, He often fought for Israel. However, He also fought against Israel which resulted in exile to Assyria (for the northern kingdom) and to Babylon (for the southern kingdom). Joshua’s experience is instructive. After the death of Moses, he led Israel across the Jordan River into the Promised Land near Jericho.
When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.” (Josh 5:13-14a. ESV)
God was neither on Israel nor Jericho’s side
How likely is it that He favors either Ukraine or the Russian Federation?
We might also ask which side the devil favors. If news reports have any accuracy, thousands have already died in this war. If the Russian Federation wins, thousands more will likely die; if Ukraine wins, thousands more will likely die. The devil’s objective is to “steal and kill and destroy.” (John 10:10 ESV) The devil is definitely on the side of war.
So, what are appropriate Christian responses to this and other wars? Pray. Pray “for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may live a peaceful and quiet life” (1 Tim. 2:2 ESV). Pray for the victims of war in Ukraine, in Russia and in all the places that don’t make the news. Pray for the persecuted church, the victims of the great war between the kingdom of darkness and the Kingdom of God. God’s Kingdom comes as His will is done, so ask Him how to put your feet to your prayers.