In the Bible, the Lord goes ahead of the army of Israel, defeating enemies more powerful than they are and winning the victory for them.  While our battles are different, we face fights every day, often against opponents more powerful than we are.  Our fight might be an illness, or an addiction, or some personal history from our past.  Whatever it may be, some of our problems are bigger than we are.  If so, we can learn something from the speech that the priests made to the army of Israel before they were sent into battle.

The soldiers were told to remember what God had done for them in the past, delivering them from slavery in Egypt to freedom in their own land.  Sometimes, in a moment of stress, all we can see is the problem immediately before us.  We need to remember the times God has helped us in the past.

The priests told the army to not panic.  Panic is the result of adrenaline, the fight or flight instinct.  Better to think before acting.  Don’t panic.

The priests told the army to not dread.  One can perseverate on a perceived danger and magnify the obstacle.  You can exhaust yourself thinking about the battle before the battle even starts.  Don’t dread.

The priests told the army to not be surprised.  It is astonishing how many Christians don’t appreciate that this is a fallen world.  They expect that if they live right, everyone will applaud them.  Opponents are going to oppose you.  That’s what they do.  Don’t be surprised.

The priests told the army to not lose heart.  This is the most important instruction.  You don’t lose when you get knocked down.  That’s just a setback.  You lose when you won’t get back up.  The greatest battle is the battle within.  Don’t lose heart.

In our sermon this Sunday, we are going to look at the beginning of chapter 20 of the Book of Deuteronomy, and think about what God was telling the army of ancient Israel, and what he is telling us.