Fear Not: The Troops

Fear Not: The Troops

Fear Not: The Troops.

“‘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 out of the land of Egypt, is with you!’ When you prepare for battle, the priest must come forward to speak to the troops. He will say to them, ‘Listen to me, all you men of Israel! Do not be afraid as you go out to fight your enemies today! Do not lose heart or panic or tremble before them. For the Lord your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and He will give you victory!” (Deuteronomy 20:1-4).

As the Israelites prepared to conquer the Promised Land, the Lord gave very specific instructions regarding the inevitable warfare. When preparing for battle, the very first thing to do is have a priest address the troops. The priest’s job is to exhort them, to encourage them, to remind them that Yahweh will fight for them. The priest assures the soldiers of Israel victory as they allow the Lord to accompany them as they wage war with their enemies. After the priest’s inspiring pep talk, the officers of the army take their turn in addressing the Israelite soldiers. Immediate exemptions are given to any soldier who just built a new house, or who has planted a vineyard, or who is newly engaged to be married. Also, always try to arrange a peace treaty before any attack of an enemy city. And, interestingly, never cut down any trees that are valuable for food. Oh, and one final instruction… If anyone is frightened or worried, go home. (20:8)  Fear is contagious, and the officers don’t want soldiers affected by fearful fighters. The cheerleading and directions of the priest and the officers ultimately proved successful. The Israelites, with God on their side, did indeed conquer and occupy the Promised Land.

An Answer to Fear: Anyone facing an overwhelming task needs to be inspired. We need to be invigorated, we need for someone to place courage within us and exhort us to charge into the great challenge. So it is wise to seek out people who can speak inspiring and truthful words to you, motivating words, that will serve to prepare you for facing difficult odds. Bask in the confidence that comes with God’s presence and intervention. God has promised to be with you, and we usually need an inspiring person to remind us of that and build us up. Holy optimism can go far in squelching fear and dread. 

Take Heart: “We sent Timothy to visit you. He is our brother and God’s co-worker in proclaiming the Good News of Christ. We sent him to strengthen you, to encourage you in your faith, and to keep you from being shaken by the troubles you were going through. But you know we are destined for such troubles. And now Timothy has returned, bringing us good news about your faith and love. So we have been greatly encouraged in the midst of our troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters.” (1 Thessalonians 3:2-3, 6-7).