Deuteronomy 20

 Moses is preparing the nation of Israel to enter the Promised Land. The Promised Land is not heaven, it is a battle ground. In these battles the armies they would face were stronger, better prepared, and more numerous. This could be very overwhelming so the priest was to encourage the people. In verses 5-7 we see that not everyone was required to go to battle. In reality some were not ready for battle. So, as the priest was encouraging the people to go into the battle, the officers were letting some people go. From the context we can see that those who were let go were young and inexperienced. The hope was that they would fight in the future.

 There was, however one group that was sent back home for a different reason, the faint hearted. The concern was that they would spread their fear to the other troops discouraging them.

 One of the difficult places for a battle was the cities. The cities were strongholds in those days. The cities had walls and watch towers that made them well defended. Often the battles would take a long time with little progress until finally there would be a breakthrough and victory. Until that time the battle would rage with little progress.

 Our walk with Christ is much the same. We face spiritual battles that sometimes rage on for a long time. Spiritual battles spill over to physical battles and the young and inexperienced believer may attempt to fight them in the physical realm while ignoring the spiritual realm. Fighting a spiritual battle in the physical realm will result in fear, discouragement, and defeat.

 In previous studies we have been talking about addictions. I believe addictions are the result of a spiritual battle. Years ago the first church I pastored met in a drug-alcohol treatment center. The man who ran the program told me that with addictions the spiritual is the first thing to go and in recovery the last thing to come back.

 I have been on both sides of addictions. As one with loved ones battling addictions it is easy to get excited when they come out of rehab, get a job, start a new relationship, or even get their driver’s license back, but it is heart wrenching to watch those victories fade into the old pattern of dysfunction time and time again. This is evidence that the spiritual battle is being fought only in the physical realm.


If there is going to be victory, the battle must be fought in the spiritual realm. As Christians we have one who will guide and empower us in the spiritual battle, the Holy Spirit. We must be surrendered to the Holy Spirit, listen to Him, and follow His lead. The Apostle Paul tells us that the evidence of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life is, “… Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control….”  Galatians 22&23 NASB

I wish that when we receive Jesus as our Savior that we would be instantly changed and exhibit all of these characteristics of the Holy Spirit in our life. I believe that the reality is when we become believers we are given the Holy Spirit and have access to these qualities but we must learn to receive and practice these with the help of the Holy Spirit. We must learn to walk with the Holy Spirit as the disciples walked with Jesus.

 When Jesus called these men to be His disciples they went with Him but were not instantly changed into “saints.” As Jesus was with His disciples He taught them and then let them go through storms, trials, and different situations to put into practice what they had been taught.  The greatest and most important lesson they needed to learn was to have faith in Him. The same is true for us and this is where victory begins. Yes, we need to study our Bible and learn God’s ways, and yes, there are good things to learn in rehab, but all this will be of little value if we don’t trust God enough to put these into practice when the battle comes. When the battle comes again, and it will, trust is a must! There will be a test and a trial.

 Jesus said that without the foundation of our lives being built on Him and His Word we are building on instability. When the storms of life come we will come crashing down in defeat. Matthew 7:24-27

 For victory we must build our lives on the firm foundation of Christ Jesus.

 There is victory in Jesus!

Pastor Dave

 Here are some more verses for study.

Jesus the foundation. John 1:1-5&14

To learn more about the Holy Spirit read John 14-16.

For fighting spiritual battles, 2Cornithians 10:3-5; Ephesians 6:10-20; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; Philippians 3:4-21