We are in a war where radical Muslims claim God is on their side. In America we pray for God to bless our troops and believe God is on our side. Does God choose sides and if so, whose side is He on?
We gain insight into the answer to your question about God choosing sides in war in Joshua 5:13-14. Joshua is preparing to lead Israel in battle against Jericho. Joshua sees “a man” standing with sword drawn and he asks him, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” This “man” turns out to be an angel, or most probably, a pre-incarnate appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
God had commanded the Israelites to go in and conquer the land to punish the inhabitants of it for their continued wicked ways. He had promised the Israelites that He would give them victory. If anybody could ever say, “God is on our side”, these would be the people who could make that claim. Yet, the “man” gives a very curious answer, “Neither”.
Neither? He wasn’t for them or for their enemies? He goes on to explain, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” In other words, He was saying, “I am on God’s side. The real question is, ‘Are you on God’s side or on the side of His enemies?’” God is always on His own side, accomplishing His purposes. It is man who must choose which side He will be on, the side of right or the side of wrong?
Is there a “right” side in war? Certainly there is, God’s side. It is God who established what is right and what is wrong. God is always on the side of good. That means He is opposed to those who are proud, perpetrate injustice or do not show mercy (Micah 6:8). He is opposed to those who shed innocent blood and devise wicked plans (Proverbs 6:17). He supports liberty for mankind (Isaiah 61:1; 2 Corinthians 3:17; Leviticus 25:10). The Bible lists many things He is opposed to and many things He is in favor of. The nation that goes to war to accomplish a godly purpose has chosen to be on God’s side.
We need to recognize too that God has often provoked nations to go to war to accomplish His purpose. Israel invaded the Promised Land to accomplish God’s punishment upon those nations that had repeatedly rejected Him. (They had heard the message. Melchizedek is an example of one prophet God had sent among the gentile nations in that area.) Throughout the book of Judges, and elsewhere, God provoked the nations surrounding Israel to attack them to chastise them for their rebellion. Ultimately Israel and Judah were conquered by the Assyrians and the Babylonians as part of God’s plan to purge Israel of her idolatry. We have solid Biblical reasons to believe God still provokes nations to go to war to accomplish His will.
Is God on the side of the Muslims? Is God on the side of the Jews? Is God on America’s side? God is on His side and actively accomplishing His purpose here on earth. Therefore, it is up to man to choose which side he will fight on. Will he side with God in bringing about the good God plans for mankind or will he fight against God for his own selfish ends?