Select Wisdom Brand

In His Hands

Deuteronomy 20:5-6a
“Then the officers shall speak to the people, saying, ‘Is there any man who has built a new house and has not dedicated it? Let him go back to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man dedicate it. And is there any man who has planted a vineyard and has not enjoyed its fruit? Let him go back to his house, …”

The first principle I derive from Moses’ exemption to certain men from battle is that God doesn’t want distracted warriors on the battlefield; He wants men who are fully committed to the cause.

In verse 7, Moses adds to this list men who’ve just gotten married as well as fearful men, literally telling the newly wedded husbands to go spend time with their wives and the fearful-hearted men to stay home. But that begs a question: doesn’t this allowance leave room for men to make up excuses willy nilly? Doesn’t it sort of open the door for possible draft-dodging down the line? I can imagine men lining up before Moses with all sorts of exemptions. One says, “Um, I just bought a few mules to till my field and I haven’t finished building the barn,” and I imagine Moses interrupting, “Go till your fields and be blessed!” Another steps forward, “Uh, um, my wife just gave birth to our seventh child and she needs help babysitting the other kids for a while,” to which I imagine Moses replying, “Go enjoy your child and be blessed!” Regardless, the principle here is that while battles are worthy causes, they aren’t the only worthy causes for these pilgrims. And even valiant soldiers need to sit it out sometimes.

Still, imagine if most of the fighting men decided to stay home for one reason or another, and by the time of battle, only Moses, Joshua, and Caleb were left to fight. Imagine if the extenuating circumstances prescribed by Deuteronomy 20 actually touched all the thousands of fighting men individually. Wouldn’t that put Israel in an enormous bind? Wouldn’t that leave the commonwealth at grave risk? No! Haven’t we learned yet? God can win battles just as easily with three men as He can with three hundred thousand!

Today, friend, whether you’re storming enemy lines or taking care of little ones at home, remember where your victory comes from.