Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sprinkle - Fight (3) Laws of War

The laws for war are set out in Deuteronomy 20: 1– 14, 19– 20. Preston Sprinkle explains the main points of this passage.

  • First, God— not military might— determines the victory (v. 4).
  • Second, Israel’s army is made up of volunteers at the time of battle. In other words, there isn’t to be a professional standing army. 10 If anyone has recently built a house, planted a vineyard, betrothed a wife, or is simply “fearful and fainthearted,” he doesn’t have to go to war (vv. 5– 9).
  • Third, if the Israelites do go to war, they are to first offer peace to the city (vv. 10– 11) before they fight against it.
  • Fourth, only if the city rejects peace is Israel sanctioned to go to war (v. 12).
  • Fifth, noncombatants are not to be killed during war (vv. 13– 15).
  • Lastly, even fruit trees aren’t to be destroyed (vv. 19– 20).
Talk about limited objectives!... For now it’s important to underscore the point: Israel’s “army” is deliberately weak so that God will be shown to be unquestionably strong. The intentional weakness of Israel’s army is put on bold display in Deuteronomy 17. God is Israel’s King. However , God will allow Israel to have a human king under certain conditions, and Deuteronomy 17 spells out those conditions—one of which is stripping the king of all military might. Namely, the king is not allowed to build a professional army (“ he must not acquire many horses for himself”) nor can he make military alliances with other nations (Deut. 17: 16– 17). God will shed the king of all military strength so that his faith will be in God, not in military power (Fight, chapter 3).

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