God’s Victory – Deuteronomy 20-22

20:1 When you go to war against your enemies and see chariotry and troops who outnumber you, do not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt, is with you. 20:2 As you move forward for battle, the priest will approach and say to the soldiers, 20:3 “Listen, Israel! Today you are moving forward to do battle with your enemies. Do not be fainthearted. Do not fear and tremble or be terrified because of them, 20:4 for the Lord your God goes with you to fight on your behalf against your enemies to give you victory.” 20:5 Moreover, the officers are to say to the troops, “Who among you has built a new house and not dedicated it? He may go home, lest he die in battle and someone else dedicate it. 20:6 Or who among you has planted a vineyard and not benefited from it? He may go home, lest he die in battle and someone else benefit from it. 20:7 Or who among you has become engaged to a woman but has not married her? He may go home, lest he die in battle and someone else marry her.” 20:8 In addition, the officers are to say to the troops, “Who among you is afraid and fainthearted? He may go home so that he will not make his fellow soldier’s heart as fearful as his own.” 20:9 Then, when the officers have finished speaking, they must appoint unit commanders to lead the troops. – Deuteronomy 20:1-9

We tend to think that it is our job to fight against injustice and wrong. We tend to think that we have to be the ones to make a difference in this world. That is just simply not true. We only have to be the ones to right wrong and injustice when we are fighting on God’s side with God’s direction and guidance. There is a big difference here that is worth keeping in focus. I am not saying that it is not our God given commission to be the righters of wrong in this world. I am saying that we are only called to do it with God on our side. In Deuteronomy 20:1-9 God actually gave the condition under which some people should not fight. These conditions largely centered around two things – pressing family concerns and fear.

What does this mean? It means that some of us are going to be used by God to fight poverty. Others will be used by God to fight racism and other forms of prejudice. Still others are called to spread the Gospel through more traditional means. What is truly important is that we are following hard after God and the calling he has placed on our lives.

What does it not mean? If you think it means that you can always ignore God’s call because of your family or your fear, you are wrong. We must always put God first, but there are times when it is God’s desire for us to take care of family matters (of course, scripture also points out the inappropriate idolization of family that stops a person from ever doing God’s will.) Also, fear is never a good excuse, but as it says in the words of Deuteronomy, it is better to send a person full of fear home than to let it spread to others.

This seems to me to talk more about the season in our life and our relationship with God. When we are right with our God, then we will know those times in our lives when he just wants us to rest in him. We will also know those times when his call is so strong and urgent that we must immediately take action. We will also understand that these times of rest are temporary and are meant to prepare us for the next battle God wants us to engage in.

Right now I am going through one of these periods of rest. God has clearly told me to stop trying to make things happen and to just let him take care of everything. He has told me to go home and take care of my family and our needs. This is very hard for me. I like to be on the front lines, but that is not the place God has for me right now. Part of me is very restless, but the other part of me is glad to be in the place in life. I am glad because I know that this is time to prepare for the battles to come. It is a time to get everything in order and just ground myself in God.

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for times of rest and reflection. Thank you for times of getting everything in order. Help me to use this a time of learning, meditation on your Word and recommitment to you. You are my God and my King. I love you Lord. Amen.

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  1. Julie

    It’s hard to imagine that God is completely outside/above the concept of time, since we’re so impacted by it. I HATE WAITING!
    I guess God’s beautiful plan for you will happen whenever He decides.

  2. I hate waiting also, but this is literally the first time in my life I have been able to accept it.

  3. Julie

    I know it will be worth it!

  4. If ya think about it… one of the best things to look forward to is death (so we can party with the Maker), but I don’t know one person who’s really rushing to get there. We live in the moment, and I am certain God has a reason for this. We can grow.

    Doug, I think you’ve grown quite a lot if you can say that you’re going to wait, and let God take a turn now. Life’s not a race.




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