Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part XX: Discipling Others To Prepare To Stand For Righteousness In Conflicts
(Deuteronomy 20:1-20)
  1. Introduction
    1. We believers in Christ are to seek to live as peaceably as is possible with all men, Romans 12:18.
    2. However, since God directs us to contrast with darkness, conflict with opposing parties is always an inevitable part of our Christian experience, cf. John 15:18-20.
    3. Deuteronomy 20:1-20 shows the mentality God has for us when we face such conflicts for righteousness, and the way Moses taught this information to Israel directs us in discipling others in the matter as follows:
  2. Discipling Others To Prepare To Stand For Righteousness In Conflicts, Deuteronomy 20:1-20.
    1. Just before his death, Moses addressed Israel on her need to heed the Law for blessing, Deut. 1:1-5.
    2. A part of that address dealt with Israel's preparation for conflict with the godless Canaanites, Deut. 20:1-20. We view that section to discern how to disciple others on standing for righteousness in conflicts.
      1. Moses directed the people to take steps to protect the courage of their stands before conflict occurs:
        1. Moses urged Israel to recall God's help with overwhelming odds in her past as a basis for not fearing the humanly foreboding size or strength of the enemy to be faced, Deuteronomy 20:1.
        2. Moses called the people to elicit the encouragement of godly leaders before entering conflict, a matter to keep the courage of their commitment solid in preparation for conflict, Deut. 20:2-4.
        3. Moses urged Israel to weed out what cares or side interests she might have to distract her from a sharp focus on the conflict at hand, and that in preparation for the conflict, Deuteronomy 20:5-7.
        4. Moses called the people to surround themselves only with others who were also committed to trust in God for the battle; failure here could be demoralizing on the battlefield, Deuteronomy 20:8.
        5. Moses urged the people to select the best qualified men to lead the nation into conflict, for these men would set the example for those under their leadership, Deuteronomy 20:9.
      2. Moses told the people to be fair to the less evil nations they fought who were outside the land (v. 15):
        1. Moses urged the people of Israel to give the enemy a chance to surrender before the battle, 20:10; if they surrendered to Israel, the enemy was to serve them as subjects and nobody would die, 20:11.
        2. If the enemy refused to surrender, the people of Israel were to slay only the warriors opposing them and save the women, children, animals and material possessions of the enemy, Deut. 20:12-14, 15.
      3. Yet, for those very evil nations living in the land, Moses directed Israel to be committed to carrying out God's judgment by slaying all of these nations as a self-protective measure re: their spiritual welfare, 20:16-18. Israel was to recall she was answerable to God in the matter, Deut. 20:17b, 18b.
      4. Moses directed the people of Israel to exercise forethought for their actions in conflict, 20:19-20:
        1. In laying siege to a city, the people of Israel were to avoid cutting down trees that produced food for man to use as battering rams to enter the city, Deuteronomy 20:19.
        2. Rather, they were to use only trees that were not meant used for human food as battering rams and siege works in war, Deuteronomy 20:20.
        3. This required forethought on the EFFECTS of their actions in conflict, so God wanted the people of Israel to be thinking warriors as they fought in battle!
Lesson: God sometimes allows us believers to face CONFLICT with ungodly parties, cf. 2 Timothy 2:24-26. Thus, we should PREPARE for this conflict by (a) taking steps to protect the courage of our convictions BEFORE engaging in conflict (in recalling God's help in the past to handle current opposition; in seeking encouragement from godly leaders; in getting focused; in surrounding ourselves with spiritually committed fellow believers and in following the best spiritual leaders into the conflict); by (b) being fair with opponents in the conflict (c) but yet thorough in our actions while in conflict and by (d) subjecting our emotions to our minds in the battle.

Application: (1) We need not only to take such measures ourselves, but be prepared to tell other, immature believers of the REALITY of CONFLICT in the spiritual life, and (2) HOW thus to prepare for it with God's blessing (as itemized above)!