The role of the army is to provide national security, to protect a nation from its external and internal enemies. It is an organ of the state whose sole purpose is to guarantee a country’s survival militarily, at any cost.
sundayword BY PROSPER TINGINI
Both human lives and material things are at stake. In times of war, all eyes are focused on the performance of the army. Humans make themselves a core part of the military machinery to destroy the enemy and be prepared to be killed in defence of the nation and its citizens.
People join the army for two main reasons. Some people join the army out of patriotism and passion, out of the genuine need to be part of the defence mechanism of a state. Such people grow up with an in-built need to sacrifice their own lives for others, just like in the same mould as Jesus Christ sacrificed his own life for humanity. National security and people’s safety far outweigh the value of their own lives. It is from this group of people that real war heroes and freedom fighters are found.
There is another group of people who enlist into the army just to earn a living. While it is a profession, some people join because there are no other opportunities available to them at that particular time in their lives. It is an option rather than a passion. There is no passion and patriotism attached to the decision to enlist. They are only driven by the benefits they get. Most of the errant behaviours found in the army emanate from this group of soldiers. Not only will their conducts be found to be cowardly and at times treacherous, but they also exhibit elements of indiscipline in their characters.
The army has its own rules and regulations which every soldier must adhere to. All human army personnel are derived from the ordinary citizens, hence they equally abide by the laws of the state like everybody else. As such, members of the army should also be expected to abide by the laws, as enshrined in any religious laws of the state. A state which values divine matters and believes in the existence of God should promote the same ideals within its own army ranks. An army which seeks divine intervention through God, as an additional arsenal or weapon, is most likely to have an added advantage. Divine powers are recorded to have influenced the outcome of many battles over thousands of years. The David and Goliath story is one case in point among many others. The Lord our God will provide both protection and strength to those who seek His assistance, including the army. He therefore sets out rules and guidelines to be followed by both the army and its members for Him to abide in their midst during times of war.
In Deuteronomy 23 verse 9, the Lord directs the army, “When you go forth against your enemies and are in camp, then you shall keep yourself from every evil thing.” There are numerous evil things that can come into play during war times. He directs the army and its soldiers to refrain from all acts deemed evil.
He proceeds to mention a few things that might cause Him to depart from their midst. In Deuteronomy 23 verse 10, He goes on to say, “If there is among you any man who is not clean by reason of what chances to him by night, then he shall go outside the camp, he shall not come within the camp; but when evening comes on, he shall bathe himself in water, and when the sun is down, he may come within the camp”. It is a common occurrence that some undisciplined members of the military might want to slip away from the camp under the cover of darkness for various reasons; for example, to seek the intimate company of the opposite sex (fornication) or commit other acts of moral indiscipline. God directs that such members should cleanse themselves of their sins before re-entering the camp by simply washing their bodies. Failure to do so can result in the army camp being defiled by contamination through acts of sin.
The Lord proceeds to give some other examples that might cause Him to look away from the camp. In verses 12-14, He continues to speak, “You should have a place outside the camp and you shall go out to it (to relieve oneself); and you shall have a stick with your weapons; and when you sit down outside, you shall dig a hole with it, and turn back and cover up your excrement. Because the Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp, to save you and to give up your enemies before you, therefore your camp must be holy, that He may not see anything indecent among you, and turn away from you”. It is common to see some battle-guns, like the famous AK47, with sharp sword-like knives attached to their front ends. It is most likely that the original designers wanted to provide an additional tool for digging up ground, for among other purposes, covering up excrement in the open fields of war. These types of weapons cater for the elimination of the problem mentioned by the Lord. Human excrement has a pungent smell and it is also repugnant to the eye, in the same manner it also does to the Lord our God. He therefore orders all excrement around the camps to be covered up. He is enforcing the element of cleanliness within the army.
War entails killing. It results in the handling of dead human bodies or corpses, therefore it puts an “uncleanness” on to the soldiers through their contact with the dead bodies. According to the Lord, all dead bodies are “unclean” by reason of the loss of the life in them. “Unclean” persons also contaminate the things they touch, including the spoils of war. The Lord requires that all spoils of war should be purified to cleanse them of any “uncleanness”. In the fourth book of Moses, Numbers, chapter, 31 verse 21-24, the Lord directed the victorious armies, “This is the statute of the law which the Lord has commanded Moses; only the gold, the silver, the bronze, the iron, the tin, and the lead, everything that can stand the fire, you shall pass through the fire and it shall be ‘clean’.
Nevertheless, it shall also be purified with the water of impurity; and whatever cannot stand the fire, you shall pass through the water. You must wash your clothes on the seventh day, and you shall be clean; and afterwards you shall come into the camp”.
The water of impurity is the mixture of the ashes of a red heifer and water as directed by the Lord in Numbers 19, verse 1-10. Its purpose is to cleanse people of both sin and “uncleanness”. The soldiers should refrain from mingling with the general public or re-enter the community before being cleansed of any uncleanness. They should first cleanse themselves of their “uncleanness” by washing their clothes on the seventh day after battle, or they could be sprinkled with the water for impurity.
Prosper Tingini is a religious writer. He compiled a book titled, God’s Constitution For Mankind: The laws and commandments. His contact details are: 0771 260 195 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org