On-Line Bible Lessons

Deuteronomy - Chapter 20, Lesson 1

Sorry, but time prohibits correcting the grammar in these lesson, Pastor Ovid Need


"Thou shalt not kill". This chapter deals with warfare. We have covered warfare a little in the past lessons (chp. 3, etc.), but now it would be wise to look further into what God says about warfare. We will cover some of the same ground but this will not hurt.

1. To start with, we should take note that Israel (God's people) was not to be a warlike nation as were the nations around them. A good example which shows this is found back in 17:16. What is forbidden there? ______________________________________________________________________

a. What is the comparison in Ps. 20:7?________________________________________________

b. The indication here is that a lack of horses would force God's people to do what?

c. This is much too close to avoid. A lack of worldly might and wisdom, etc., will force God's people to do the same. The end result back then and now will be the same. Why was/is this worldly strength forbidden to God's people? More than this, why does God refuse, fail to use these methods, I Cor. 1:27-2:5? _______________________________________________________

d. What is pronounced upon those who depend upon the world's ways to accomplish what God has for them to do, Isa. 31:1, Jer. 17:5? _________________________________________

(See The biblicalexamnier.org -- "Education" and "God's poverty").

As we have pointed out, horses were a sign of worldly strength. Also, they were offensive weapons. If you will notice, the nations which came against Israel came upon horses, Ex. 14; Judges 17:16; Judges 4:3, etc..

God's people were to be representatives of the God of peace upon this earth. They were rep­resentatives of God's Kingdom upon this earth, and, at times, this required warfare. The world takes pride in its ability to fight. God's people should take pride in their peaceful nature which permits God to fight for them.

There are times when warfare is required. Let's touch upon this point again. The only just, godly warfare in God's eyes is a warfare which protects God given and God honoring rights, the rights to serve God and obey His Word. This is the ONLY right we have. A war which protects special interest (money) or which is meant to expand the power of a few over many is not godly warfare. As we look back, it is easy to find that our War for Independence was fought to give men the freedom to serve God, not the freedom to do their own thing. There will be a continuing "war" to keep this freedom, and the only rightful fight we can be involved in is the fight to preserve our freedom to glorify God.

Before we go further into this, let's observe a couple of things here. Deut. 20:1-4.

2. What would be the inclination of God's people as they looked at all of the might of the heathens as they gathered around to war against God's people, v. 1?

a. Absolutely no doubt, as we look at the might of the world it will seem so much greater than what we have. What will happen if God's people "watch" the worldly might and strength of the enemy, I Sam. 13:5-7? _________________________________________________________________

3. What was the job of the priest here (not the high priest, but something like an army chaplain) Deut. 20:2-4?
a. Are we missing something today? It seems like many "priests" today feel like it is their job to expose the strength of the enemy. Now, God's people need to know there is an enemy out there. They need to know where the enemy has infiltrated. They need to know in which direction the enemy lies so they won't stumble into the enemy's camp, II Cor. 2:11; I Tim. 3:7; 6:9; II Tim. 2:26. But notice, this priest, in the face of all of the strength which the world could gather together, was not appointed to go around telling everyone how strong the enemy was. If he did this, what would this cause, v. 3 (Deut. 1:27-29)? _______________________________________________

We need to be careful that we don't get carried away and place more emphasis upon the strength of the enemy than upon the strength of our God. To do this will cause a "defeated" at­titude and this is not at all what is to be presented. The message which we have and must portray to all which we come into contact with is one of victory. If there would be any one mes­sage of scripture, and especially of the NT, it would be this message. I heard of a "Bible col­lege" which teaches that Christ failed to accomplish what He came to do. Therefore, He went back to heaven and just turned it all over to the devil. This is heresy, to say the least. The Christ of Scripture which we serve never failed in anything He set out to do. He was totally triumphant over the enemy for His people today if they will claim it. The book of Colossians is a very powerful book in this area. See the book of Col. (2:15) or how about the book of Eph. (1:20-22)?

b. What is promised in Phil. 4:13? ___________________________________________________

The "priest" responsibility here under MOSES and his responsibility today is to build up the people of God in the faith of God so they might wage an effective and victorious warfare for God, I Tim. 1:18-20; II Tim. 2.

c. What was the promise which these people of God had here in Deut. 20?

d. Here we see that one man who is "Holy even as He is Holy" is equal to how many of the enemy, Deut. 32:30; Joshua 23? _______________________________________________________________

A good example of this "priest" is found in Numb. 31:6. Notice how many Israelites were lost in this war with Midian, v. 49. Also notice, they realized who protected them from harm, v. 50.

Deut. 20:5-9 gives the exemptions from war. We have covered these in the past.

4. The offer of peace was to be made to the enemy. If the enemy accepted the terms, what was to be done to them, vv. 10-11? ___________________________________________________________

Notice the terms of surrender were to be Israel's terms and these terms were found in God's law-word. The captives would be required to obey the same laws as was Israel.

a. Also, this offer of peace could only be made to certain cities. Which cities (or nations) were the people of God forbidden to make this offer to, vv. 15-16? _________________________

b. We will find it was these forbidden cities which they ended up making leagues with. What did the people of these cities do as God's people failed to follow what is outlined here, v. 18? ________________________________________________________________________

Now, we should point out that ANYTIME a principle of God's Word is ignored or overlooked or compromised in any way this is exactly what will happen. Let us be reminded, here is the doctrine of Baalam once again. Convince God's people that it isn't really that important to obey God's principles in that area because look at how much good we are doing. "Why, the inhabitant of that city are so friendly and they want peace just as much as we do, therefore we'll let them live and dwell among us." Our enemy knows that this will lead to the destruction of God's people no matter how good or right it seems to be. The doctrine of toleration will destroy those who do the tolerating. Don't think the secular humanist don't know this. To bad God's people don't. This is a reason why the secular humanist refuse to allow "God" in their statist schools.

5. What is forbidden even in, 20:19? _____________________________________________________

a. Why? _______________________________________________

Here we see that life must go on. Also, this can show us that war is not an emotional issue. When it is an emotional issue men will seek to destroy absolutely everything. Here we see war is restricted to being against the ungodly people. War can only be waged, of course, by proper civil authority who have the "power of the sword" and then only in defense of godly principles. Therefore, there would be no emotion involved. They could not get "involved" with these who would un­dermine their faith in their God no matter how good or nice they were. War must be waged based on God's Word, not because they were mad at someone or for financial gain (Institutes, pg. 280).

Let us conclude this lesson with a reminder of something we have already touched on in a past lesson. There are many people going "up and down" in this country telling of the strength of the enemy. They are emphasizing the huge amount of chariots and horses which his crowd has. They are emphasizing how weak and helpless God's people are in the face of this great horde of evil men with ungodly, anti-Christ motives. They are telling of how this great juggernaut is about to overwhelm the Church and the people of God. This is as contrary to Deut. 20 as ANYTHING can be when this emphasis is made at the espense of emphasizing the power of the grace of God through His people.

Is it any wonder God's people are hiding away in the caves with fear and trembling? It's about time that some men of God, Priests of the Most High God, got up and preached some good hard messages out of Eph. and Col.. Our Lord is victorious. Ps. 2 is still in the Bible. It's time God's people found their backbone of victory and courage in their Lord and confronted the devil and his defeated crowd head on.