I’m learning from Deuteronomy chapter 20 this morning about “doing battle”.
Do Not Fear What Lies Ahead
“When you go out to battle against your enemies and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, is with you. When you approach the battle, the priest shall come forward and speak to the people, and shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel: you are advancing today to battle against your enemies. Do not lack courage. Do not be afraid, or panic, or tremble [in terror] before them, for the Lord your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.’
Deuteronomy 20:1-4 AMP
Address Selfish Distractions
The officers shall also speak to the soldiers, saying, ‘What man is there who has built a new house and has not yet dedicated it? Let him go and return to his house, otherwise he might die in the battle and another man would dedicate it. What man has planted a vineyard and has not put it to use [harvesting its fruit]? Let him go and return to his house, otherwise he might die in the battle and another man would begin to use its fruit. And who is the man who is engaged (legally promised) to a woman and has not married her? Let him go and return to his house, otherwise he might die in the battle and another man would marry her.’
Deuteronomy 20:5-7 AMP
Battle Alongside Others Committed to Victory
Then the officers shall speak further to the soldiers and say, ‘Who is the man who is afraid and lacks courage? Let him go and return to his house, so that he does not cause his brothers’ courage to fail like his own.’
Deuteronomy 20:8 AMP
Commanders are Warriors Beside Us Not Aristocracy Far From the Action
And it shall be when the officers have finished speaking to the soldiers, they shall appoint commanders of armies over them.
Deuteronomy 20:9 AMP
Allow Enemies A Peaceful Surrender
“When you advance to a city to fight against it, you shall [first] offer it terms of peace. If that city accepts your terms of peace and opens its gates to you, then all the people who are found in it shall become your forced labor and shall serve you. However, if it does not make peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall lay siege to it.
Deuteronomy 20:10-12 AMP
Strike Down Everything that Stands Against Victory, or That Will Rise Back Up Against You, But Limit Collateral Damage
When the Lord your God gives it into your hand, you shall strike down all the men in it with the edge of the sword. Only the women and the children and the animals and everything that is in the city, all its spoil, you shall take as plunder for yourself; and you shall use the spoil of your enemies which the Lord your God has given you. That is what you shall do to all the cities that are very far away from you, which are not among the cities of these nations nearby [which you are to dispossess]. Only in the cities of these peoples that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, you shall not leave alive anything that breathes. But you shall utterly destroy them, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite, just as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that they will not teach you to act in accordance with all the detestable practices which they have done [in worship and service] for their gods, and in this way cause you to sin against the Lord your God. “When you besiege a city for a long time, making war against it in order to capture it, you shall not destroy its [fruit-bearing] trees by swinging an axe against them; for you may eat from them, and you shall not cut them down. For is the tree of the field a man, that it should be besieged (destroyed) by you? Only the trees which you know are not fruit trees shall you destroy and cut down, so that you may build siegeworks against the city that is making war with you until it falls.
Deuteronomy 20:13-20 AMP
So we end up with a repeatable pattern that is to be used consistently for battle:
- Do Not Fear What Lies Ahead
- Address Selfish Distractions
- Battle Alongside Others Committed to Victory
- Commanders are Warriors Beside Us Not Aristocracy Far From the Action
- Allow Enemies A Peaceful Surrender
- Strike Down Everything that Stands Against Victory, or That Will Rise Back Up Against You, But Limit Collateral Damage
All of this is to be discussed, considered, and set firmly in our minds BEFORE BATTLE.
This is so that DURING BATTLE we are to FOCUS ON PRESSING FORWARD AND NOT LOOKING BACK.