SOAP Journal – 31 May 2017 (Deuteronomy 20:1-4)

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 are approaching the battle, the priest shall come near and speak to the people. He shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, you are approaching the battle against your enemies today. Do not be fainthearted. Do not be afraid, or panic, or tremble before them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.’

Deuteronomy 20:1-4

I love how straightforward this morning’s verses are. The Israelites know that they are going into a populated land and that there are battles ahead. God warns them in advance that they will see horses and chariots [and] people more numerous than [them]. This is made clear by the word that begins the passage: When.

The battle is not a hypothetical. The odds are not hypothetical. God knows full well that He is sending the Israelites into a situation where their only hope of victory is Him. And He instructs the priest to be in the battlefield and to encourage the troops with a reminder: the LORD your God is the one who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you. OR, to use the phrasing of another verse: the battle belongs to the LORD.

As a believer, I, too, will encounter horses and chariots [and] people more numerous than [me]. Not physical horses or chariots, but spiritual and emotional and mental. I have sometimes heard the emotions compared to wild horses. The comparison is apt. Sometimes unbidden thoughts come in armored transports (chariots) and I have to fight them differently than I combat other thoughts. And always I am faced with the fact that I am one against however many the enemies may be. Lustful thoughts and angry thoughts and prideful thoughts and pride itself and anger itself and discouragement, just to name a few.

In the face of overwhelming odds, I am not [to] be fainthearted … not [to] be afraid, or panic. I am to gird myself up as a man and face the battle, because the LORD [my] God is the one who goes with [me], to fight for [me] against [my] enemies, to save [me]. The battles I fight are not mine alone. I fight them with my God, Who is ready to fight for me. Am I outnumbered? God goes with me and it is now my adversaries that are outnumbered. Am I fighting alone? God goes with me into my battles, even when no one else does or can. Am I too weak to fight anymore? God will fight for me. God will save me.

Life is not always easy. It is often difficult. And the Christian life has the added difficulty of working out my salvation with fear and trembling and of standing in opposition to the lusts of the eyes and of the flesh and the boastful pride of life. I often feel outnumbered, outclassed, and wearied from the fight. But the LORD [my] God is the one who goes with [me], to fight for [me] against [my] enemies, to save [me].

Father, thank You for fighting for me. Thank You for standing with me when no one else will and when no one else can. Thank You for saving me. Please keep me mindful of to Whom the battles in my life belong and remind me to stand and see what You will do.

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