Deuteronomy 20 & Psalm 107

Deuteronomy 20

    “When you go out to war against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and an army larger than your own, you shall not be afraid of them, for the LORD your God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. And when you draw near to the battle, the priest shall come forward and speak to the people and shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, today you are drawing near for battle against your enemies: let not your heart faint. Do not fear or panic or be in dread of them, for the LORD your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.’ Then the officers shall speak to the people, saying, ‘Is there any man who has built a new house and has not dedicated it? Let him go back to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man dedicate it. And is there any man who has planted a vineyard and has not enjoyed its fruit? Let him go back to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man enjoy its fruit. And is there any man who has betrothed a wife and has not taken her? Let him go back to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man take her.’ And the officers shall speak further to the people, and say, ‘Is there any man who is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go back to his house, lest he make the heart of his fellows melt like his own.’ And when the officers have finished speaking to the people, then commanders shall be appointed at the head of the people.

    “When you draw near to a city to fight against it, offer terms of peace to it. And if it responds to you peaceably and it opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall do forced labor for you and shall serve you. But if it makes no peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it. And when the LORD your God gives it into your hand, you shall put all its males to the sword, but the women and the little ones, the livestock, and everything else in the city, all its spoil, you shall take as plunder for yourselves. And you shall enjoy the spoil of your enemies, which the LORD your God has given you. Thus you shall do to all the cities that are very far from you, which are not cities of the nations here. But in the cities of these peoples that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes, but you shall devote them to complete destruction, the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, as the LORD your God has commanded, that they may not teach you to do according to all their abominable practices that they have done for their gods, and so you sin against the LORD your God.

    “When you besiege a city for a long time, making war against it in order to take it, you shall not destroy its trees by wielding an axe against them. You may eat from them, but you shall not cut them down. Are the trees in the field human, that they should be besieged by you? Only the trees that you know are not trees for food you may destroy and cut down, that you may build siegeworks against the city that makes war with you, until it falls.

(Deuteronomy 20 ESV)


Psalm 107

    Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
        for his steadfast love endures forever!
    Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
        whom he has redeemed from trouble
    and gathered in from the lands,
        from the east and from the west,
        from the north and from the south.
    
    Some wandered in desert wastes,
        finding no way to a city to dwell in;
    hungry and thirsty,
        their soul fainted within them.
    Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
        and he delivered them from their distress.
    He led them by a straight way
        till they reached a city to dwell in.
    Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,
        for his wondrous works to the children of man!
    For he satisfies the longing soul,
        and the hungry soul he fills with good things.
    
    Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,
        prisoners in affliction and in irons,
    for they had rebelled against the words of God,
        and spurned the counsel of the Most High.
    So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor;
        they fell down, with none to help.
    Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
        and he delivered them from their distress.
    He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
        and burst their bonds apart.
    Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,
        for his wondrous works to the children of man!
    For he shatters the doors of bronze
        and cuts in two the bars of iron.
    
    Some were fools through their sinful ways,
        and because of their iniquities suffered affliction;
    they loathed any kind of food,
        and they drew near to the gates of death.
    Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
        and he delivered them from their distress.
    He sent out his word and healed them,
        and delivered them from their destruction.
    Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,
        for his wondrous works to the children of man!
    And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving,
        and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!
    
    Some went down to the sea in ships,
        doing business on the great waters;
    they saw the deeds of the LORD,
        his wondrous works in the deep.
    For he commanded and raised the stormy wind,
        which lifted up the waves of the sea.
    They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths;
        their courage melted away in their evil plight;
    they reeled and staggered like drunken men
        and were at their wits' end.
    Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
        and he delivered them from their distress.
    He made the storm be still,
        and the waves of the sea were hushed.
    Then they were glad that the waters were quiet,
        and he brought them to their desired haven.
    Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,
        for his wondrous works to the children of man!
    Let them extol him in the congregation of the people,
        and praise him in the assembly of the elders.
    
    He turns rivers into a desert,
        springs of water into thirsty ground,
    a fruitful land into a salty waste,
        because of the evil of its inhabitants.
    He turns a desert into pools of water,
        a parched land into springs of water.
    And there he lets the hungry dwell,
        and they establish a city to live in;
    they sow fields and plant vineyards
        and get a fruitful yield.
    By his blessing they multiply greatly,
        and he does not let their livestock diminish.
    
    When they are diminished and brought low
        through oppression, evil, and sorrow,
    he pours contempt on princes
        and makes them wander in trackless wastes;
    but he raises up the needy out of affliction
        and makes their families like flocks.
    The upright see it and are glad,
        and all wickedness shuts its mouth.
    
    Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things;
        let them consider the steadfast love of the LORD.

(Psalm 107 ESV)


Something to Consider

Psalm 107: The goodness and mercy of God ought to be acknowledged and praised by those whom He has redeemed. This Psalm calls God’s people to express their gratitude for the unique way in which God faithfully delivers us from our distress. No matter what our unfaithfulness may get us into, our God stands ready to rescue those who cry out to Him for help. 

How often do we feel as if we’re wandering through life ready to faint at any moment from the fears, troubles and temptations of this world? May our hunger and thirst in life become a hunger and thirst for the cure of the righteousness from God that satisfies our soul no matter our circumstances. 

How often do we feel as if we’ve been imprisoned by a cycle of sin in which there seems to be no hope of breaking free? May our despair turn into a desire for the grace and mercy of God found in the atoning and accomplished work of Christ that breaks the bars of bondage and sets the captives free. 

How often do we feel as if we’re victims of our own foolishness who constantly suffer the consequences of mindless mistakes in life and our relationships? May our mental mishaps lead us to seek the miraculous healing of God’s Word which equips us with wisdom that illuminates our life and instructs us on living.   

May our wisdom increase as we meditate upon the wondrous ways of God and His unwavering faithfulness to deliver His people from our distress and despair. Let us consider His steadfast love and return that love with hearts of great gratitude for His everlasting goodness and amazing grace.