Deuteronomy 20

Deuteronomy 20 has Moses instruction for how God’s people are to go to war in order to take the land.  “When you go out to war against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and an army larger than your own, you shall not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt”.  He begins with the reality that they are going to war.  ‘When you go out to war’ is pretty clear that there will be resistance.  Life is full of battles – some are even wars against a very real spiritual enemy that we face.  We must never forget that our enemy has three motives for us – to kill, steal and destroy.  We are in a war against evil and must remember just as Moses instructed the people, that ‘the Lord your God is with you’.  God is on our side.  He is the One who provides the power for us to be victorious.

Moses reminds them to recall the truth of God’s faithfulness.  When we face things bigger than ourselves, we have two choices.  We can either run in fear and feel overwhelmed, or we can remember the past and what God has done in our patch through His faithfulness.  Moses exhorts the people to do the latter, to remember God ‘who brought you up out of the land of Egypt’.  What has God done faithfully in your life?  How has He shown you over and over that you can trust and depend on Him?  We need to remember those things.  We need to write them down and put them on our heart.  We need to teach them to our children so they never forget.

The second thing Moses instructs is that the priests come and encourage the people.  “The priest shall come forward and speak….you are drawing near for battle against your enemies: let not your heart faint. Do not fear or panic or be in dread of them, for the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory”.  God’s servants, our priests and ministers of the gospel, are people we need to go to in order to be reminded of God’s faithfulness.  They are encouragers of the faith, and we need to depend on them to be part of our preparation for battle.

The third thing Moses tells the people is to listen as “the officers shall speak further to the people”.  So we started with remembering God and His faithfulness, secondly we are told to listen to the priest as he reminds us of God’s protection, and now we are told to listen to those God has put in command.  The officers job is to make sure those who are going to battle are focused and not distracted.  If they have life events that will prevent them from being good warriors, they are to send those men home.  These guys are to put together the army and set commanders in place to lead the people into battle.  Then there is a promise.  “And when the Lord your God gives it into your hand”.  Note the word ‘when’, not if.  God is in control.  When we go to war with Him on our side, we cannot fail.  Doing things God’s way assures success.  That is how we can be sure we are on the winning side.  We do battle with God on our side!

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