While the Hebrew nation camped in the plains of Moab, Moses gave them God’s plan to overcome the powerful nations they would encounter.
His first order of battle was to not be afraid of their daunting adversaries.
Don’t Be Afraid
You may not have gone to war, but you have probably had an occasion to be afraid. Here are some issues you may have encountered.
— Surgery or a major health concern
— Conflict with a family member, friend, or co-worker
— Coming before legal authorities
— Having to deliver bad news to someone
— Fear for children or grandchildren
God’s message to the Israelites can be applied to the battles we face in life.
— Deuteronomy 20.1-4 – When you go out to war against your enemies, and see horses and chariots, 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 from the land of Egypt.
Before you engage in battle, the priest shall come forward and speak to the troops,
And shall say to them: “Hear, O Israel! Today you are drawing near to do battle against your enemies. Do not lose heart, or be afraid, or panic, or be in dread of them;
For it is the Lord your God who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to give you victory.”
How can we face the adversities of life with confidence? There are two reasons to not fear with God on our side.
(1) Remember God’s past faithfulness – The nation had the memory of how God delivered them from the Egyptian superpower.
As we recall how God has helped us with other problems, our anxiety about a new problem should be lessened.
(2) God is with you – God frequently revealed his presence to the Hebrew nation. Their upcoming battles would once again display his presence.
When we hear people talk about God’s faithfulness, it is often during times of stress, pain, and difficulty.
The battles of life drive us into the arms of our heavenly Father. He doesn’t disappoint us, but comes to our aid.
When I talk to people about prayer, I tell them that a daily prayer life keeps us in a close relationship with God.
I say, “Everyone has trouble. When trouble comes, you don’t want to have a distant relationship with God. You want to be on friendship terms with him. That’s why you pray every day.”
A Strange Way to Win a Battle
The next verses in this chapter puzzle Rudy Ross and me. We discuss them in today’s YouTube video on the Bob Spradling channel.
Imagine you are going to battle against a very strong enemy and the official starts the preparations by sending people home.
— Deuteronomy 20.5-8 – “Has anyone built a new house but not dedicated it? He should go back to his house, or he might die in the battle and another dedicate it.
“Has anyone planted a vineyard but not yet enjoyed its fruit? He should go back to his house, or he might die in the battle and another be first to enjoy its fruit.
“Has anyone become engaged to a woman but not yet married her? He should go back to his house, or he might die in the battle and another marry her.
“Is anyone afraid or disheartened? He should go back to his house, or he might cause the heart of his comrades to melt like his own.”
One explanation about why God sent so many people home was to convince future generations of his power to win the battles we face.
Gideon was given similar instructions as he led an army against the Midianites. Notice the reason God gave for why he limited the size of the army.
— Judges 7.2-3 – The Lord said to Gideon, “The troops with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand. Israel would only take the credit away from me, saying, ‘My own hand has delivered me.’
“Now therefore proclaim this in the hearing of the troops, ‘Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home.’” Thus Gideon sifted them out; twenty-two thousand returned, and ten thousand remained.
After 22,000 soldiers left, the army was still too large. God gave the soldiers another test and eliminated all but 300.
— Judges 7.7 – Then the Lord said to Gideon, “With the three hundred that lapped I will deliver you, and give the Midianites into your hand. Let all the others go to their homes.”
The rest of the story of the battle with the Midianites can be read in Judges 7, but the outcome was as expected. The army of 300 won the battle, because “it is the Lord your God who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to give you victory” (Deuteronomy 20.4).
Henry Blackaby’s book, “Experiencing God,” points out that God frequently presents people with situations that stretch their faith.
When we exercise our faith and align our lives with God, we open the door for God to act. His victory over troubles is one of the primary ways that humans experience God.
Blackaby reminds his readers that a friendship relationship with God is essential to the experience of his victorious power.
God is not like a car’s spare tire. He is not to be kept out of sight until we need him. He loves us and desires to live in a loving relationship with us.
As we live with him and win the battles of life with him, we experience God in a very real fashion.
About This Blog
Rudy Ross and I produce a daily video on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel. Please take a few minutes and view the video. Rudy has insights into the Bible that you will appreciate.
Please email your prayer request to firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.