Awesome Hands – Part 151: “Laws Concerning Warfare”

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Awesome Hands – part 151

"Laws Concerning Warfare"

March 27, 2019


Warfare is always a nasty and horrible event that humans often endure. When Israel set out to become a nation, the Lord gave specific direction to how Israel was to handle themselves and their enemies.

For Christians today, we too are in war, but it is one which rages on until the day we are no longer in the flesh.

Our study today finds us examining how we should view the purpose of the war we have been plunged into, as well as, how we navigate this war to benefit from it here and now.


Laws Concerning Warfare


The first thing to note is that the Lord tells us not to be afraid.

Deu 20:1  When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, be not afraid of them: for the LORD thy God is with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

It is comforting to know that the Lord is with us, but when we are in the thick of battle it is often hard to focus on that point or any other point. What is a bit easier to focus on is that we are currently doing and where we currently are.

What I mean is if we are in a war and in the thick of battle, we are there because we have gotten past other obstacles which have brought us to war.

In the case of the topic today, the Lord reminds us that He has, “brought thee up out of the land of Egypt”.

When we are in doubt about what the future holds, the Lord wants us to remember where it is we have come from and what He has brought us through. He faithfully parted the red sea and allowed us to cross it, while also crushing our enemies, so He wants us to take courage in knowing He is still fighting on our side.

By being mindful of our past, we can stop worrying about what the future holds for us.

Deu 20:2  And it shall be, when ye are come nigh unto the battle, that the priest shall approach and speak unto the people,

Deu 20:3  And shall say unto them, Hear, O Israel, ye approach this day unto battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them;

Deu 20:4  For the LORD your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.

First, we have the priests letting us know who it is we are being led by. We are also told to not let our hearts faint, do not fear, do not tremble and do not be terrified of “them”. We are told these things because the Lord knows we will do them, but we are reassured that everything happening is so that the Lord can fight for us to SAVE US.

Of course, it is the new man in us that is being saved because there is no hope for this flesh.

One of the important points mentioned above that the KJV does a terrible job of translating is “do not tremble”.



Total KJV Occurrences: 9

haste, 5

1Sa_23:26, 2Sa_4:4, 2Ki_7:15, Psa_31:22, Psa_116:11

hasted, 2

Psa_48:5, Psa_104:7

hasteth, 1


tremble, 1


There is only one time that this word is translated as “tremble”, and that is found in this verse. The other times it is translated, it is translated as “haste”. “Do not be hasty,” is a much better translation, and when we are dealing with issues that pertain to war, it is definitely not a time to be hasty.

Not being hasty is a good plan for all things in life, and when we know that we are constantly in a spiritual war, it is imperative that we do not rush to any particular conclusion before it’s time.

Deu 20:5  And the officers shall speak unto the people, saying, What man is there that hath built a new house, and hath not dedicated it? let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man dedicate it.

Deu 20:6  And what man is he that hath planted a vineyard, and hath not yet eaten of it? let him also go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man eat of it.

Deu 20:7  And what man is there that hath betrothed a wife, and hath not taken her? let him go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man take her.

These situations allowed exemptions to a man going to war. The officers were not officers as we think of them in our military branches today (by title), but these were the keepers of the books, so to speak, on the genealogical tables and who was appointed or exempted to go to war.

The only item mentioned above that doesn’t appear to be self-evident to me is the dedication of a house. Most likely there was some sort of festival or feast which accompanied getting a new home. A man that had purchased a home, but had not yet taken possession of it, was exempted to take ownership of this home.

Because these items were mentioned together, we know there is some commonality amongst them. One point that is mentioned about betrothing a wife is that this exemption was for 1 year only.

Deu 24:5  When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business: but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken.

Additionally, if a man is fainthearted, he was told to stay home. The Lord just told the Israelites NOT to fear, but if there are men who did fear, they were NOT to be in the host of the army.

Deu 20:8  And the officers shall speak further unto the people, and they shall say, What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren's heart faint (H4549) as well as his heart.

There are many reasons why you do not want someone to be in a war who is discouraging others. This same spirit infected the 12 spy’s who spied after crossing the Jordan, who then infected the people with their faintheartedness, and we know what happened with the whole camp of Israel after that.

Jos 7:5  And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the people melted (H4549), and became as water.

Deu 1:26  Notwithstanding ye would not go up, but rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God:

Deu 1:27  And ye murmured in your tents, and said, Because the LORD hated us, he hath brought us forth out of the land of Egypt, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us.

Deu 1:28  Whither shall we go up? our brethren have discouraged (H4549) our heart, saying, The people is greater and taller than we; the cities are great and walled up to heaven; and moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakims there.

It is very important that we do not surround ourselves with people who constantly discourage us. If there are people around us like this, then we should attempt to separate ourselves from their company. However, if it is not possible to do this, then it is equally important to also have those around us who are ready to go to war with us.

In other words, we must not let negative thoughts dominate our though processes so much so that we are not willing to fight the good fight of faith. That is why those nations closest to us must be utterly destroyed and not compromised with.

Now, we see a third group of leaders who are appointed to lead the people in war.

Deu 20:9  And it shall be, when the officers have made an end of speaking unto the people, that they shall make captains of the armies to lead the people.

These are the same “captains of the armies” who were to lead the “bands or companies” mentioned in Numbers 31 and a few other places.

Num 31:14  And Moses was wroth with the officers of the host, with the captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, which came from the battle.

As with any topic we study in the Word of God, there are many caveats to any given topic. One such caveat is how we approach and deal with a “city” which we intend to fight but also extend an olive branch of peace towards.

Deu 20:10  When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it.

Deu 20:11  And it shall be, if it make thee answer of peace, and open unto thee, then it shall be, that all the people that is found therein shall be tributaries unto thee, and they shall serve thee.

There are many practical examples of why peace is preferred to war. Many of those examples are obvious. However, if after war, we have devastation, then the there is always a rebuilding that needs to take place. That is not even taking into account the human lives lost during this war.

So, if we are going to war with a city which we will conquer eventually, and that city recognizes this fate, then we are to take them in as tributaries to us. In other words, they will pay taxes and serve us.

However, there are those that would not want to make peace so we are to kill every male there.

Deu 20:12  And if it will make no peace with thee, but will make war against thee, then thou shalt besiege it:

Deu 20:13  And when the LORD thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword:

Deu 20:14  But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the LORD thy God hath given thee.

These were the conditions for dealing with those nations whom were not given to us for an inheritance. These are nations which would not have been in the general area of Israel or surrounding Israel.

For these nations, we are permitted to partake of the spoils of war and to allow the women, children and cattle to stay alive as a reward from the Lord.

As for the nations of our inheritance, we are to deal with those nations quite differently.

Deu 20:15  Thus shalt thou do unto all the cities which are very far off from thee, which are not of the cities of these nations.

Deu 20:16  But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth:

Deu 20:17  But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee:

Deu 20:18  That they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods; so should ye sin against the LORD your God.

Our verse today which brought us to this study is found in verse 20:13.

“The LORD thy God hath delivered it into thine hands,” is a very powerful statement. All that we have covered in this chapter tells us that the Lord is with us, fights for us to save us, and will deliver our enemies into our hands.

What is not so easily discernable is that the Lord tells us that there are always various situations which cause us to handle things differently depending on the details of the situation we are facing.

It may appear that I will be going to war with a nation, but after having some back and forth, it may be that a particular nation does NOT want to go to war with me. In this case, this nation then becomes a source of strength and nourishment for me.

Practically speaking, we are not talking about physical nations. We are talking about spiritual nations within ourselves and others.

For example, maybe I am discussing my beliefs on the trinity with someone.  During this discussion, I can tell they don’t agree with me on my beliefs, but they are willing to hear my beliefs on it anyways. They may declare that they do not believe in what I am saying, but they are interested in continuing the conversation about other topics.

This would be a situation where someone is simply not understanding or may be completely in disagreement with me, but the Lord has not fully closed the door in the conversation. It may just be that this particular topic cannot be breached until other workings happen within the heavens of the nation of the person I am speaking with. This allows me plant spiritual seeds which the Lord will water later.

If, however, they vehemently despise the truth that I do not believe in the trinity and will not speak with me further as a result, then I know that this enemy cannot be extended an olive branch of peace with me. They are to be conquered within me.

This is now a war which has been made clear to be a war of the old versus the new man, NOW, and must be dealt with accordingly i.e. I make no concessions to deal with this nation in any way, but it simply must be dealt with as an enemy.

Psa 18:34  He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.

Psa 144:1  A Psalm of David. Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight:

Psalms 18:34 and 144:1 tells us that it is the Lord who teaches our hands to war and our fingers to fight. So, when it is appropriate, the Lord wants us to FIGHT the good fight, no only within ourselves but within OTHERS as well.

Light goes forth from darkness, so when we are speaking to others in the warfare of words, we are calling forth light out of their blinding darkness from within themselves.

1Ti 6:12  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

2Ti 4:7  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

Ephesians 6 tells is how to fight ad protect ourselves.

Eph 6:10  Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

Eph 6:11  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Eph 6:12  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Eph 6:13  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Eph 6:14  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

Eph 6:15  And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

Eph 6:16  Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

Eph 6:17  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

Eph 6:18  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

If we take the above verses and break them apart, we can have a system in place in our hearts and minds that helps us know how to deal with any situation the Lord places us in.

Our flesh is coming to an end at some point, but the spiritual new man in us all will prevail and continue on. So, keep the faith and know the Lord is with you. Faint not.

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