When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. – Deut. 20:10 NIV
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Moses was rounding up the period of his stewardship as the leader of Israel and decided to present the summary of the laws which Jehovah had given him over time to the people. Jehovah being the perfect god that He is, had guidelines that covered every area of life of the people, anticipated and not anticipated. He had clear guidelines to ensure that the people were not just successful but their success was achieved in a manner that would conform to His design for the success. They should not just have success but must have “good” success for their success to keep them in good stead with Him – Josh. 1:8 kjv.
Since most symbols of success in life are not fresh as they will already be in the possession of another, there will always be the need to have to work to take that symbol of success, be it wealth, position, authority, power or any other, from the one with whom it currently resides. Having some of these symbols of life success may be a divine plan for the one who desires it, just as it could also be a simple desire that does not have the approval of the Most High. The one who needs to fight and is in the former situation will always have the support and approval of Jehovah if the time for such aspiration to be fulfilled is right, but there can never be a divinely appropriate time for divine support to be received to activate desires that belong to the latter situation. Due to the value of what is now in contention and the non-willingness of the one who currently possess it to release it, there will always be some form of tussle which can range from minor skirmishes to full scale war, and that may apply even among countries. That explains why anyone who has ambition to fulfil a desire, divine or not, will always have opposition that many wish to classify as enemies. Truth be told, you are also an enemy of that person that you have classed as an enemy because it is either you are the one trying to have that good and divine desire fulfilled by taking off the person that currently has it, or you are the one that is about to be deprived of that symbol of success in life, which is currently in your possession and which you are not willing to release.
The Christian is however expected to have only oppositions who are against the plan of Jehovah for their lives and not those who oppose their selfish desires and aspirations, since they are expected to operate in the Will of God. That is why the Christian will not be expected to have such opposition amongst the brethren, as all in that group will be expected to have aspirations along the line of the Will of Jehovah, for their individual lives and resolution of such skirmishes, where they exist, will be simply to sincerely seek the Will of Jehovah for that situation with all expected to align with the decision of Jehovah once received. No wonder, the disciple James identified the cause of disagreements amongst Christians as the pursuit of selfish desires and ambitions – Jms. 4:1-3. Such cannot be the fault of the devil but simply the decision of the Christian to be insincere in what he/she claims to be.
So when Jehovah was addressing the issues on how the believer should confront the activities of the enemy, he obviously did not include a situation where the opposition would be someone who claims to believe in Him. To believe in Jehovah is to trust Him and accept all His judgements as true and just, and be willing to live by them. Anyone who will not seek the view of Jehovah on any desire or aspiration, or worse still, unwilling to accept it as true and just cannot be said to be a true believer. Such will be best described as being a “wolf in sheep skin”.
In the directive of Jehovah given to Moses about how the Israelites then, or the believer today, should approach enemies, he made it clear that the enemy cannot be someone nearby – Deut. 20:15. It will not be expected that the Christian would allow anyone who is not a true believer to come close enough to be called a neighbour, but just as the Prophet Micah revealed, this same transgression of the instructions of Jehovah and disrespect for His Will has made household members enemies of one another – Micah 7:6.
Jehovah through His instructions to Moses must have made it clear that He will not be involved in such wars and so his guidelines would only be applicable to wars against oppositions who are far away from Jehovah and are not willing to abide with His known intentions and plans for men. These instructions which are designed to ensure that the believer achieves good success will be discussed in more details in the second part of this Devotional.
May God guide all our desires and aspirations so that we can avoid constituting opposition to one another, in the cause of achieving destiny goals in Jesus name. Amen.