READ: Deuteronomy 20-21
BACKGROUND: Please feel free to ask questions. There is a lot in these two chapters and there are important, logical, and loving reasons for all of that though it’s sometimes hard to wrap our minds around while separated by thousands of years, language, and culture.
THINK: Oliver Cromwell was the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 1653-1658, ruling during an incredibly difficult and tumultuous period. During some of the most turbulent days of his government, Cromwell sent one of his officials to Sweden to represent his interests. The official and his servant stopped overnight at an inn while on the way, but he couldn’t sleep. He was so overcome with stress and concern that he tossed and turned. Until his servant spoke up.
The servant asked, “Sir, do you not think that God governed the world well before you came into it?” The deeply devout official replied, “Undoubtedly.” The servant continued, “And sir, do you not think that he will govern it quite as well when you are gone out of it?” “Certainly!” growled the official, annoyed at having been asked such an obvious question. Then the servant finished the conversation by saying, “Then sir, excuse me, but do you not think you may trust him to govern it quite as well as long as you live?” At that, the official found himself comforted, turned over, and went to sleep.
The beauty of this passage is how powerfully it illustrates God’s power and sovereignty. For Israel, the secret to success in taking possession of the Promised Land didn’t lie in their military might, their bravery, or their brilliant strategy. It was a matter of faith. God clearly told them that the most important thing they could do was simply trust that he was in control and was fighting for them.
And I think that message is a critical one for us to understand and embrace in our own lives today. We aren’t fighting in a literal war in the way the nation of Israel was. But if this was true for them in the time of physical war, it’s true for us in the midst of the spiritual warfare we engage every day. We fight spiritual battles against brokenness, frustration, and evil in this sinful world. Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms – Ephesians 6:12.
If the obstacles that you are facing seem scary or overwhelming today, do not fear. And do not despair. And do not worry. God is sovereign and he is up to the challenge of overcoming the brokenness in your life and accomplishing his purposes in and through you.
PRAY: Think about every challenge that you are facing right now, and commit all of them to God. Thank him for the peace that comes from knowing that he is in control.