Summary: In Deuteronomy 20 Moses tells the Israelite people how God wants them to conquer the promised land. He provides the principles of war. Paul tells us in Ephesians 6 that we fight a war today. Are the principles similar?
In Deuteronomy 20 Moses tells the Israelite people how God wants them to conquer the promised land. He provides the principles of War.
In short they are:
1. Don’t be afraid (vs. 1)
2. Be courageous and dependent on God (vs. 2-4)
3. Offer peace (to those outside the promised land) (vs. 10-15)
4. Search and Destroy everything in the promised land (16-18)
5. Don’t destroy trees bearing nuts or plants bearing fruit (19-20)
Paul tells us that today we fight a war too. Ephesians 6:10-12
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms
We’ll take a short look at each one
1. Don’t be afraid
This phrase appears over a 100 times in the Bible.
Read Deuteronomy 20:1
“When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you.”
Fear can make people do very desperate things. When the terrorists struck the twin tower buildings on September 11, 2001; trapped and frightened people leapt from windows above where the planes had hit. Fear is a powerful motivator and is related to a number of negative human emotions like; worry, anxiety, terror, panic, persecution complex, and even outright paranoia. I believe fear is the number one reason many Christians don’t share their faith. Fear of persecution, fear of intolerance, fear of losing a relationship, fear of losing a debate or an argument.
A story is told of a family awakened by their smoke detector in the middle of the night to discover that their house was on fire. The father ran into the upstairs bedroom of his children and carried his 18 month old baby in his arms while dragging his 4 year old son by the hand.
They were halfway down the stairs when the little boy remembered that he had left his teddy bear in the bedroom, so he broke free from his father’s hand and ran back to the bedroom to retrieve it. In the confusion, the father didn’t notice that his son wasn’t with him until he got outside. By now the little boy was trapped by the flames and smoke in his second story bedroom. Smoke swirled around him and he coughed and cried out from the upstairs window, “Daddy, Daddy! Help me!”
His father yelled from below, “Jump out of the window, Andy! I’ll catch you!”
In the darkness and smoke, the little boy yelled back, “But, Daddy! I can’t see you!”
Daddy shouted back, “That’s OK, son. I can see you! Jump!”
In the darkness and confusion of your life, sometimes it’s very difficult to see God, but, God sees you. And if there is any element of fear in your life for any reason this morning God seeks to remove it.
Psalm 23:4 - Even when I walk through the darkest valley,[a] I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.
Isaiah 41:10 – Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand
Romans 8:38 – And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.
2 Timothy 1:7 – For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
1 John 4:18 - Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.
2. Be courageous and dependent on God
When you are about to go into battle, the priest shall come forward and address the army. He shall say: "Hear, O Israel, today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be faint hearted or afraid; do not be terrified or give way to panic before them. For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.
One of the serious problems of human nature is our natural tendency to be distrusting and suspicious. Barbara Misztal, in her book, Trust in Modern Societies: The Search for the Bases of Social Order, she mentions three things that trust does in the life of a person. It makes social life predictable, because you tend to hang around people you trust; it creates a sense of community, because you the more you trust the more you share, with those you trust, and trust makes it easier for people to work together, because you eliminate the possibility of backstabbing. Even though Misztal’s book is a work of a secular nature she brings up three very Spiritual truths. We need to trust in God. Because the more we trust Him, the more we’ll hang out with Him. The more we trust God the more we’ll share in His work, and the more we trust God, the easier it will be to work with Him AND His Church to accomplish the Kingdom purpose He expects of us. It’s logical then, to suggest that the less we trust God the less we spend time with Him, the less we share with Him, and the less we do with His Church.