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September 12, 2017

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Reading along with us in Deuteronomy? Here’s today’s reading:

Deuteronomy 20 (ESV)

“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 Lordyour God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. And when you draw near to the battle, the priest shall come forward and speak to the peopleand shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, today 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.’ Then the officers shall speak to the people, saying, ‘Is there any man who has built a new house and has not dedicated it? Let him go back to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man dedicate it. And is there any man who has planted a vineyard and has not enjoyed its fruit? Let him go back to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man enjoy its fruit. And is there any man who has betrothed a wife and has not taken her? Let him go back to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man take her.’ And the officers shall speak further to the people, and say, ‘Is there any man who is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go back to his house, lest he make the heart of his fellows melt like his own.’ And when the officers have finished speaking to the people, then commanders shall be appointed at the head of the peopleContinue Reading

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This Post Has 5 Comments
  1. This and other passages about war are what kept me from reading the Bible any further when I was sincerely seeking God. Like many, I picked up the Bible and began to read from cover to cover, and when I got to these parts, walked away shaking my head. I didn’t realize there was far more context to what I was reading (Jesus has not come yet, for one!) than what I saw on the pages before me.

    War is a terrible, terrible thing. Is it necessary? Yes, I believe it is sometimes necessary. I’m glad to read here that the first order is to seek peace with your enemies. Peace = NO WAR. But peace is a relative term depending on which side you’re on! “Forced labor” doesn’t sound very peaceable if you’re the one being forced to serve.

    But I note that God is intent on protecting His people from the religious and spiritual influence of those who practice abominations (like offering their children as sacrifices to “gods”). And I know there are some enemies (Satan, for example) who are so darkened in their hearts, so far gone, so intent on destroying those God loves and treasures, they were beyond hope. And God knew exactly who they were.

  2. It is interesting how the priests are involved in warfare, providing encouraging words to the military and reminding them to trust in God who fights for and with them. It is also interesting to see the conditions laid out that would allow someone to not fight. This shows that there are some things more important on a personal level than the battle itself. And again the influence on others is emphasized when the fainthearted are asked to go home so they don’t bring down anyone else.

    And it is good that they would give cities not in the promised land proper a chance to surrender and avoid war/death.

  3. ‘Hear, O Israel, today 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, 4for the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.’ 5

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