每日诗歌: 以馬內利樂境 (http://www.mbcsfv.org/chinese/library/hymncampanions/086.html)
Deuteronomy 20 [Read]
Deuteronomy 21 [Read]
Deuteronomy 22 [Read]
Mark 14:26-50 [Read]
Israelites are about to enter the Promised Land and to face many battles. Through the instructions God gave them through Moses, we may learn a few things.
First, the Israelites will not face the battle alone and neither will they overcome by their own might. The LORD God will be with them (20:1, 4), and he will fight the enemy for them (20:4). The people of God should not be afraid or be terrified (20:3), for the LORD will save his own. Many years later King David said “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God” (Ps 20:7). In the NT era, Apostle Paul reminded young Timothy in his last words “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline” (2Ti 1:7). “Afraid” is not part of Christian’s vocabulary, for we believe he who created heaven and earth is with us. He shall fight the battles for us.
Second, God does not want his soldiers to be absentminded. For those who are thinking about their new houses, their new vineyard, and their engaged wives, God does not want them for the battles (20:5-7). This is God’s grace, for he wants them to enjoy God’s blessings first before going the battles for God. This is also God’s wisdom, for fear and worry can spread to others (20:8). This shows us that God often gives blessings before the battles come. However, once we are in the battles, we cannot and must not retreat.
Furthermore, God’s grace often goes before his power. “When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace” (20:10), so that they may have the chance to surrender before the army of the LORD. If they are for peace, all the people of the city shall survive (20:11). Even for those who resist God’s plan and will, God’s people should still try to win them over through peace. Such kindness pleases God.
Finally, God does not allow his people to have mercy for sin. For those nations who desecrate the land through idolatry, Israelites shall destroy them completely (20:17). “Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the LORD your God”(20:18). God’s people can easily be tempted, and the best way is to flee from all temptations (Mt 6:13).
Today’s hymn was inspired by an uncompromising saint – Samuel Rutherford. Although his life was difficult and filled with persecution, and his family passed away one by one, his faithfulness and love for Christ never changed, neither was his love towards God’s people. It will greatly benefit us to read biography of Christians like this, so that we may have the same hope he had as we face spiritual battles. “And glory, glory dwell in Emmanuel’s land”.
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