Judges 20:8-35 Military Strategies Click title to listen to the radio broadcast
In this passage, which we have already studied, are some interesting military strategies that we need to consider which are both practical and spiritual.
The troops need to be united – v.8, 11 – Israel fought as one man. There is a lot of emphasis placed upon building the morale of the troops for the common cause. It is very easy to have division of purpose among the troops and find that this division leads to defeat once the enemy is engaged. Likewise in a church or in a family, it is imperative that you function as “one” [1 Cor 1:10, Phil 2:2].
The troops need to be well-fed – v. 10 – This is what the military calls “logistics.” You’ve got to have good cooks and good food in war. Gene Duncan, U.S. Marine Corps (Retired) said, “Cooks and bakers used to be the unsung heroes who, under the most trying conditions, would turn out a meal fit for a king.” And in our Christian warfare, the troops have to be well fed [1 Pet 5:2, Acts 20:28]. Otherwise, they will fall to philosophies, science falsely so called and heresies.
The troops must have a clear objective – v.13-14 – Israel was going after the children of Belial in Benjamin. When the tribe of Benjamin threatened to fight to spare these perverts, Israel was not going to be deterred in their purpose. Those men had killed an innocent woman with their sexual abuse and like a dog’s appetite for blood, they were only going to become more demanding with their lust. So, Israel had to put a stop to it. The land had been defiled. When Benjamin rose up to protect them, then Benjamin was going to have to face the wrath of Israel because Israel was not backing down. Likewise, as Christians, we must have a clear objective in spiritual warfare. The devil has far too many souls and they must be rescued. The devil has infiltrated far too many churches and he must be kept away from yours.
The troops cannot retreat because of early set backs – v.21-25 – There are casualties in war and those casualties have to be calculated as part of the cost. Early losses in battle do not necessarily signal defeat in war. Paul said that we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. Demas was a casualty and there were others who did not stick with Paul but when Paul finished his command he said, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course.” Indeed, he had won his war.
The troops must be flexible enough to change strategies – v.29 – Israel employed the strategy of an ambush on the third day after their frontal attacks the first two days resulted in such huge losses. The third day they won the war. Likewise, as we fight our spiritual battles, we have to be flexible enough to realize that we cannot always fight the same way under
differing circumstances. Missionaries on different fields, for instance, must devise different means of approaching the lost. Furthermore, methods that worked well in the past may not work well today. Benjamin made a huge miscalculation by assuming that their past successes were an indication of future victory.
The troops must rely upon the Lord for victory – v.35 – looking at the military campaigns through the Bible, the generals who won were generals who relied upon the Lord. When they relied upon their own strength or their own troop count, they often went down in defeat. Israel’s victory against Benjamin was provided by the Lord. Likewise, in your spiritual warfare, the Lord must win the victory for you.