Today’s Reading: Deuteronomy 17-20
Today’s Reflection: Deuteronomy 20:1-4
1) “When you go out to war against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and an army larger than your own, you shall not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. 2) And when you draw near to the battle, the priest shall come forward and speak to the people 3) and shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, today you are drawing near for battle against your enemies: let not your heart faint. Do not fear or panic or be in dread of them, 4) for the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.’
The land that God had promised to Abraham’s descendents was a land of milk and honey, a land of immense natural resources and wealth. But it wasn’t a place the children of Israel would merely walk into without opposition. It was already occupied by powerful peoples, defended by fierce warriors, and filled with walled and fortified cities. To the eye, Canaan didn’t seem much like a ‘Promised Land’, did it?
But then, the Promised Land was never intended to be a gift. It was an opportunity.
By partnering with God, by trusting Him completely to fight their battles, occupying Canaan was an opportunity for Israel to fulfill the greatness God had made them for. Israel was meant to be a beacon to the world. The nation’s wealth and security was meant to be a reflection of God’s strength and faithfulness. The compassion they were to show to the poor and to strangers passing through the land was meant to be a demonstration of God’s grace and mercy. And ultimately, through the lineage of Israel, the saviour of the world would come.
The mission, challenge and blessings of Israel and the Promised Land also present an example for us today. What may at times appear to us to be an impossible challenge is often God giving us the chance to join with Him in accomplishing the impossible. What mission has God called you to? What obstacles stand in your way? And what step of faith do you need to take to bring God’s promises for your life to pass?
Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.