Text: Deuteronomy 20:1-9
Key Verse: “And the officers shall speak further unto the people, and they shall say, What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren’s heart faint as well as his heart” (Deuteronomy 20:8).
On Saturday the 28th day of May 2005, the British Guardian newspaper reported an almost unbelievable story. According to reports, two Japanese men, who were both in their 80s, had said they were soldiers of the Second World War, and had been hiding on the Island of Mindanao, which is 600 miles from Manila, in the Philippines.
They had deserted their division who were fiercely devastated by the United States’ forces. They had since remained in the jungle and mountains possibly unaware that the war had ended 60 years earlier. They also feared being court-martialled for possible desertion if they showed their faces again. Desertion is a serious crime in the military, usually punishable by death. In today’s reading, the Law of Moses prescribed an escape route for would-be deserters.
The officers were to ask soldiers who were afraid to go back from the battle so as not to influence others in the war. Also, during the battle with the Midianites in Judges chapter 7 verse 3, God instructed Gideon, Israel’s army general, to “…proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early…”. The greatest army division is as strong as its weakest link. A fearful soldier is the weakest link to the entire infantry.
All fears are contagious. Like virus, they can weaken the fabric of human courage and make valiant people flee from presumed danger. What causes fear in believers? Sin, an exaggeration that glorifies the enemy rather than God, lack of faith in what God has promised and taking counsel from ungodly sources can be some major reasons why Christians fear.
But as God would not tolerate all other fears in the Old Testament army, so will He not condone it in the New Testament where we now have a better covenant established upon better promises. It is dangerous to look away from the Saviour. Keep your eyes and gaze on Him and He will surely help you to overcome all the battles of life.
Thought for the day: It is wisdom to answer with faith when fear knocks.
Bible Reading in one Year: Judges 11-13
DCLM Daily Manna was written by Pastor William Folorunso Kumuyi; is the founder and General Superintendent of the Deeper Life Bible Church situated at KM 42 on the busy Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Nigeria.