By Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell (Guest Blogger)
Scripture Readings: Deuteronomy 20-22
Key Scripture Verses: Deuteronomy 20:1-3-5 (NIV, Life Application Bible)
“He shall say: ‘Hear, Israel: Today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not panic or be terrified by them. For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.’”
These scripture verses refer to the laws and instructions that Moses was teaching the Israelites to adhere to as they were planning on taking the land of Canaan. This section is about going to war and what the priest would say as they would prepare for battle.
The Israelites were to understand that God prepared them for battle and they were to trust him to protect them. He promised to be there for his chosen people as they conquered the peoples of Canaan to take over The Promised Land. They were to trust him and follow his will.
Moses was relaying to them that God would be with them wherever they went. He would deliver their enemies to them, allowing the Israelites victory, because God was behind them on this mission. It was God’s desire for them to have the land and to establish themselves there.
If God decides to do something, he does it for his own purposes—in this case, he allowed the Israelites to destroy the people of Canaan in order to keep the Israelites pure and to keep them from the influences of idol worship and sin. This is the reason they would have to “destroy anything that breathes.” “Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the Lord your God.” God was creating an environment for them to be able to worship him and to prosper. He wanted to bless them and keep them safe and in his care—to be successful, they needed to continue to worship him in faith and not be influenced by corruption and worship of false gods. God had to rid the land of the prior evil.
Sometimes when we have difficult things to face, it is hard to trust in God. Fear can get the best of us and keep us from doing God’s will, but if we know that he is on our side and that we are doing his will, we can be sure that he will be there to help us through anything that we must face.
For the Christian, we can trust that even if death results, he is with us and we will be with him forevermore. So, regardless of the outcome, we can be assured that God is with us.
Knowing that God loves us and does what is best on our behalf if we are following his will should reassure us and allow us to act with confidence that he is in charge.
There is no real security in physical strength and power, money and possessions—these are false securities. The only real security is in Jesus Christ. When we are no longer slaves to sin but follow Jesus, we have real freedom. Nothing can separate us from his love. In Romans 8:38-39 Paul says, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. God loves us and wants what is best for us. God is on our side—“if God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). That makes me feel more secure! How about you?