God wants a different war (Joshua 5,13-6,20-end; Joshua 7; / Wednesday after fourth Sunday after Easter, Book of Common Prayer)
There is so much to learn from the God of Life. Actually, we must relearn, time and again, the most important things. This striking passage from the Book of Joshua is about such an essential. Why does God punish his victorious soldiers who took possession the treasures of the defeated enemy? Why did God order the army beforehand that 'all the silver, and gold, and the vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the Lord: they shall come into the treasury of the Lord. Surely, as a history, we can (re)learn something vital from this command.
To put it simply, God wants 'a different war'. And this is the Lesson of lessons he wants to teach us. That is why the 'war-prey' must go 'into the treasury of the Lord'. Even if bloodshed happens, which, sadly, cannot be excluded from human business, this wound must be mourned. God simply does not want us to be overwhelmed, and then governed, by the desire to grow into unstoppable aggressors. Who are after the 'prey'. Instead, the shed blood, the nameless enemy, should be mourned.
That is why the victors should resign from their blood-earned acquisitions. This 'silver and gold' is to be absorbed into sacred history. Being melted into God's intention to free us from further human greed, 'God's sacred war' aims at breaking down the negative patterns of violence. Had this mourning been successfully applied now we could speak of something else in place of colonisation, or the extinction of the ingenious tribes of the Americas. There might have been a First World War, but not World War II.
Achan's confession, if it comes in time, is the archetype of these positive turns. 'And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done: when I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it. ' Without this recognition, our world ends up, as it is now, sadly, in its own parallel 'negative' history. God wants 'to fight a different war'. God wants us 'to fight a different war' in order to end up in a different place from where we are now.
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..