Deuteronomy 20 talks about the reality of going to war. As the Children of Israel are ready to enter the Promised Land – there is going to be resistance – and a lot of it. God warns them that there will be “an army larger than your own”. How are they to act? “You shall not be afraid of them”. Ok, why not? “The Lord your God is with you…. brought you up out of the land of Egypt”.
As they approached the battle, there were two people that were to speak to them. “The priest shall come forward and speak….do not fear or panic or be in dread of them….Lord your God….goes with you to fight for you”. This is God’s battle. Too often we want to fight the enemy in the power of our own hands rather than allowing God to do battle for us. We need to know what God is up to and join Him, not fight it on our own. God is the victor and in Him we can have the victory.
The second person to speak was the officer. He asked if there were any there who had:
- “built a new house
- planted a vineyard
- betrothed a wife
- fearful and fainthearted”
These four buckets of people were sent home to take care of these situations. The officers couldn’t afford to have someone not focused on victory. So it was far better to send them home than force them into battle when their minds were elsewhere.
The bottom line was that “God gives it into your hand”. The battle is His. He is the one that makes sure it all works out. God had these expectations though. When they entered into a city of the enemy, they were to “offer terms of peace….if it makes no peace….besiege it”. God intended for his people to take territory and enter the Promised Land, And He did not want them to mix with the enemy that “they may not teach you to do according to all their abominable practices”. God has some rules for conquest that are expressed clearly. The battle is His. All He wants is for His people to join Him and do things His way.