Deuteronomy 20

He Will Give You the Victory.

“He will say, ‘Listen to me, all you men of Israel! Do not be afraid as you go out to fight today! Do not lose heart or panic. For the LORD your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and he will give you victory!’” – Deuteronomy 20:3-4 NLT

One of the realities facing the people of Israel was war. For them to enjoy all the blessings inherent in the Promised Land, they were going to have to do battle with the inhabitants of the land. This was not going to be a cake walk. It was not going to be easy. God was not just going to hand over the land with no effort expended by the people. Sure, He had given them the land. But they were going to have to fight for it in order to occupy it. So war was going to be a regular part of their life for the foreseeable future.

And the same is true for us as believers. We have been assured of a victory by Christ because of His death on the cross. We have been promised a life filled with joy, peace, contentment, and the daily, indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. But we live in a land where the enemy hates us and is out to destroy us. We are under daily attack by that enemy. He is out to defeat us in any way that we can. Jesus promised us that He came to give us life more abundantly (John 10:10), but that does not mean we are going to have an easy go of it. He also promised trials and tribulations in this life. “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NLT).

In Deuteronomy 20, Moses reminds the people that they are getting ready to do battle. When they begin the process of possessing the land, it was going to involve war. And this was not a nation with a standing army. They were not trained to do battle. They had been farmers and shepherds in Egypt. They had been common laborers. But now they were going to have to prepare to do battle with nations much more numerous than them and with a lot more military experience. But Moses tells them, “When you go out to fight your enemies and you face horses and chariots and an army greater than your own, do not be afraid. The LORD your God, who brought you safely out of Egypt, is with you!” (Deuteronomy 20:1 NLT).

Do not be afraid! Instead, they were to remember that God was with them and to rely on His help with confidence regardless of the enemy’s strength. As believers, we are called to trust God in the midst of the conflicts of this life. We are to recall God’s past faithfulness and gain courage from His promises that He will be with us.

It is interesting that the priest had a role to play in preparing the people for battle. He even accompanied the army into battle. But before they engaged the enemy the priest was to remind the people by telling them, “Attention, Israel. In a few minutes you’re going to do battle with your enemies. Don’t waver in resolve. Don’t fear. Don’t hesitate. Don’t panic. GOD, your God, is right there with you, fighting with you against your enemies, fighting to win. (Deuteronomy 20:3-4 MSG). The priest represented the Tabernacle of God, the place where the very presence of God dwelt. As a servant of God, the priest was to consecrate the people and represent the Tabernacle and God’s name in the midst of the battle. The presence of the priest was a visual reminder of the presence of God. The priest didn’t just give a pep talk and then send the people out to do battle. No, he went with them.

We must remind ourselves constantly that we are at war. We are engaged in an epic struggle between two kingdoms. And just because we know how the story ends and who the ultimate victor is, does not mean that the war is any less real. In a real sense, every one of us, as followers of Christ, are priests. We are His representatives. As such, we should remind one another daily that we are in battle, but that we can face and foe with faith and not fear because our God is with us. We don’t need to fear, panic, or worry. Our God goes into battle with us. He fights alongside us. And we fight alongside one another.

Father, we are at war. The enemy is real and he is out to destroy us. But You have promised to fight with us and for us. You have given us the weapons of our warfare. You have equipped us with everything we need to live in this world victoriously and confidently. May we learn to remind each other daily that You are with us. There is no reason to fear. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men