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When Israel was about to enter the Promised Land, they knew that they were going to have to fight against their enemies. When they were numbered in the census, the men were numbered “by their armies,” Num 1:3. In this passage, they were told how to cull their forces and how to negotiate peace with cities that were “very far off,” Deut 20:15. And the cities within their inheritance they were told to “utterly destroy,” Deut 20:16-17.
To keep Israel from being terrified by their enemies and the size and strength of their armies, Moses assured them that the Lord would be with them and fight for them against their enemies, Deut 20:1-4. He said, “let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them; For the Lord your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.”
As Christians, we definitely have enemies in this world. Their aim is to stop the work of God in us. We must, like Paul told Timothy, “fight the good fight of faith,” 1 Tim 6:12. You must be encouraged to do three things in your battle against your enemies. You must:
Faint not – Deut 20:3 – “let not your hearts faint.” Look at verse 8. What Rahab said to the spies in Jos 2:8-11 describes what happens when you faint in terror. She said, “our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you.” Whenever I have been fainthearted in the face of an adversary, I have felt that feeling of melting. It’s like all the energy and all the spirit that’s in you just drains out. Solomon wrote, “If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small,” Prov 24:10. This is true. But in our case, the Lord is with us. So, we can rely upon his strength; not our own. Phil 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheth me.” So, don’t faint. If you faint, you won’t rely on the Lord’s strength to fight.
Fear not – Deut 20:3 – “fear not.” When you are afraid to fight, you’ve already lost. You’re in a stalemate like the children of Israel against the Philistines when they were facing Goliath. When the Lord goes with you into battle, you cannot lose. “We are more than conquerors through him that loved us,” Rom 8:37. When you feel fear in the face of your enemies, you need to deal with your fear. When the Lord goes with you into battle, he always wins! If you fear, you won’t have the courage to fight.
Fret not – Ps 37:1-15 – “Fret not thyself because of evildoers.” Fretting causes you to suffer emotional wear and tear. When you fret over something, you worry; it’ll trouble you constantly. That’s what your enemies want you to do. But you must remember that “evildoers shall be cut off… yet a little while and the wicked shall not be.” Instead of fretting you need to magnify the Lord. He’s the one who is with you. And all the spiritual benefits of his presence go with you into battle. He gives you a sound mind, the whole armor of God, peace, power, etc. Have you ever considered that the Lord has never added to the armor he gave us from the beginning. Armies always improve their weapons over time. The Lord doesn’t have to. He led us into battle with the best armor in the universe. No one will ever have better. Quit worrying.
Conclusion: You and I must continue the good fight of faith. And the three things that we must continually battle in our own lives are faintheartedness, fear and fretting. You can’t go into battle with these. That’s why the Lord reminds us to faint not, fear not, and fret not. The Lord must give us strength to combat fainting, courage to combat fearing, and peace to combat fretting.