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Ralph's Daily Devotional - Tuesday, July 24

Exodus 20:13 deals with murder.  It's essential to understand that the word murder here refers to the unjust and premeditated taking of a human life.  It does not refer to killing of animals as some  extreme vegetarians believe.  It's also not speaking here of fetal death, covered in Exodus 21:18-27.  Many condemn outright any and all abortion as murder, which for me is very harsh and unjustified.

There are times when an abortion may be tragic but necessary such as in cases of rape, incest, health and mental illness.  To me these are me are solid and acceptable grounds for abortions.  There may be other reasons less so.  I struggle with how to be both compassionate to the mother as well as to the fetus.

Capitol punishment, when done for correct reasons, is not murder but killing.  Exodus 20:12-17 lists four offences worthy of the death penalty.  I personally believe some crimes to be so heinous as to warrant the death penalty today, such as extreme terrorism.  Long-term incarceration was practically unknown in ancient times.  Peter did not have an issue with capitol punishment in his epistles, referring to it as "the sword."

Military service commands that people protect their country by taking up arms.  Most realize that God at times commanded Israel to enter into war with the pagan nations of Canaan, beginning with Joshua and through the time of David and beyond.  One must seek to know when a war is justified and when it is not, and when it is not they should protest and remain neutral.  God allowed for people for conscience's sake to have the right to refrain from killing.  Still there are other ways to help in times of just war. 

Lastly, not only are military and police justified in the Bible, but there may be times you must protect against those wishing to destroy you and others; times when the police are not there to help.  In such difficult cases, I believe there are times you may be forced, with great reluctance, to kill. 

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