Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Day 20/Chapter 20

This chapter was very interesting. I’ve never witnessed any great wars like World War I, II, Vietnam, but, I have been around long enough to see Desert Storm (90’s), the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. It seems war is just as much a part of our realities as it was then (maybe it’s not quite as regular). Again, the Israelites are conquering a land God promised them. The only way for them to truly take this land is to engage in war. War is the language of the time for the Israelites and God has chosen them as His firstborn. Of course God isn’t for war, but it was the way of the culture. That is important to keep in mind while reading the entire Old Testament.

Chapter 20 observations
- Chapter 20 is appropriately titled “Going to War” in the NIV headings. This chapter deals exclusively with how the Israelites are to act in war.
- Verses 1-9 could be called “Preparing for war,” vv.10-18 could be “Rules of engagement,” and vv.19-20 “Save the trees,”
- The Israelites are to not fear when they go to war. God is fighting their fights (v.4). Apparently they are going to be going up against some fierce enemies and they are not to be intimidated.
- Before they fight they are to hear the words of the priest. He will encourage them to stand strong and not be afraid.
- Apparently the official will give specific individuals opportunities to not go to war (vv.5-8).
- God would rather have used peaceful methods if possible (v.10).
- Again, God wants the Israelites to completely destroy anything that might lead them to worship other gods.
- We even see a little creation care in the last section of this chapter (vv.19-20).

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