Teaching recorded at Calvary Chapel Into The Light
Deuteronomy 20, On The Verge Of Battle
1. Let God Choose Your Battles (v1-2)
2. Trust God To Fight Your Battles (v3-9)
3. Prefer Peace When Possible (v10-18)
4. Let God Set The Limits Of Battle (v19-20)
Deuteronomy 20, On The Verge Of Battle
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was involved and if the Lord wasn't involved, well then the priest was not to be part of that because the Lord was not sending them into this battle, it wasn't the Lord's battle, it was something that the people had done on their own. So the priest is involved because God is involved and when you think about this in context to the promised land, of course, uh the people were instructed by the Lord to take the land to go in and to conquer the land that God had given to them. It was God's instruction and God's design. And so God says I'm with you in those battles, he sends his priest to represent him. He is demonstrating through that that he has chosen these battles. Now after the promised land is conquered, this passage would still apply because Israel could be attacked by an enemy at any time. They were to conquer their territory and to take the land that God had given to them. But there was still going to be pockets of enemies that would be within the land that were to be dealt with over the years to come. But also there would be surrounding nations that could decide at any time to come and to bring an attack against the nation of Israel. And so in that regard as an enemy attacks, then you can think about it this way, God is allowing that attack, He's choosing that battle because he allowed for the enemy to come and to bring this attack And so it would be appropriate for the Priest in that regard to come and ah speak on behalf of God to the people and say, look, God's chosen this battle, he's chosen, he's with you. And so he is going to be involved in their battles that are to come as well, that are attacks by the enemy. But the other aspect to consider about this is after they've conquered the promised land, God also spoke about expanding their territory. Now he didn't grant Israel the idea of you know, you can just go and conquer anybody you want to, but he did promise them, if you look at Deuteronomy chapter 19 verse eight, it says now if the Lord your God enlarges your territory. And so the idea there is that God, if he chooses, may lead them into other battles, may lead them to conquer other territories, he may enlarge their territory. And so God will be choosing. Then again, it's not up to them to just go face whatever battle they want to, but at his leading his prompting, they will have opportunity to take new territory as he leads them. And so in all regards the promised land is God's instruction, the attacks that come that they didn't initiate God allowed. And then the new territory that God wants them to take, it's all the Lord's choosing, it's all God working on their behalf in bringing about these battles and leading them through them. And so there they are on the verge of battle in any of those instances. And God says, take a moment to meet with the priest to allow me into the battle plans in the preparation for the battle that is to take place and allow me to speak to you in this regard. Now, as we think about this for ourselves again, the point is, let God choose your battles. We have again, a variety of different types of battles that we might consider for ourselves personally this morning in spiritual battles, we don't really have a choice, right? We are in a spiritual battle, we are in a spiritual work, but we can stop and recognize that when we have those intense seasons of spiritual battle, that God has allowed these for a reason, God has chosen to allow us to experience this aspect of spiritual war to have this idea, you know, kind of peek into the spiritual realm. And so there is the opportunity to understand God has chosen this for us and I would apply that to internal struggles as well. Many times this would be like an outsider coming to attack. Many times we are attacked internally, it's by surprise. Of course, some things in our life, we bring upon ourselves by our behavior by what we expose ourselves to buy what we allow to continue in our lives. But there's also those times where there's an internal battle, an internal struggle and emotional struggle and mental struggle that it's not necessarily the fault of anybody, but it's just an aspect of living in a fallen world with a body that has a sinful nature. There is this battle. And you need to understand that God allows these things. He's with us. It's not a statement of his departure from us, but it's a battle that he's chosen for us. When it comes to conflicts with people, let the Lord choose your battles. I think this is an important one. Of course, there are those occasions where people outside of us through no provoking of ourselves, they come against us. But there are a lot of times where we're engaged in the battle and we need to make sure that it is the Lord who has chosen that battle for us, that sometimes there are battles that are worth fighting for and sometimes they're not. But can the priests come in and deliver God's message to you in the midst of that personal conflict that you're having is the point to consider adversity in life. Again, temptation. Again, these are things that pop up in life because of our fallen condition, our fallen world. And so as they pop up, we understand the Lord's allow this, he's permitted it, and he has a plan through it. And so he has chosen these battles for us. And then finally steps of faith. There are opportunities that God sets before us, as I've mentioned many times in the past, a step of faith is not just going and doing something and it's a step of faith because you don't know the outcome, no faith is obedience to God at his word. Whether or not, you know, the outcome is really not the point. The real issue is, has God told you, has God spoken to you? Is this a step of obedience that you are taking? It's not a step of faith unless it's a step of obedience. And so here we have these opportunities. We can engage in battles where we don't know the outcome, where we can call it a step of faith, even if the Lord hasn't spoken to us about it, But has God chosen that battle? And I would encourage to consider that this morning, the priest needs to be involved. There needs to be a connection to God in the battles that we face and he can speak to us and provide us what we need in the various types of battles that we encounter in this life? Well, there's a lot more to say on that, but I think it continues to develop and is understood further as we work our way in the next couple versus as well. So, let's move on to point number two this morning. Here's point number to trust God to fight your battles. Trust God to fight your battles. First of all, you want to make sure that the Lord is in it. And so he has chosen the battle. And if you know that God has chosen the battle, then you can trust God to fight your battles. And that's why the first point is important because if you don't know God's in it, if you don't know God wants you to fight this battle, well then there's no basis for you to trust God to fight your battle. But when you know you've brought in the priests, you've connected with the Lord, you know that you are where God has called you to be. And yet you have this battle. You have this thing that you're facing the struggle that is going on. Now you can trust in the Lord knowing that you are where he has you and you can trust him to fight on your behalf. You can trust him to work in the midst of the situation. Check out verse three, It's the message from the priest, verse three says he shall say to them hear O Israel today, you are on the verge of battle with your enemies. Do not let your heart faint, do not be afraid, do not tremble or be terrified because of them. For the Lord, your God, is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies To save you here. The Lord says through the priest, I'm with you and I'm going to fight for you. So do not be afraid. The priest speaks to the people on behalf of God and says, do not be Afraid. Now verse one gives us a little bit more context to this because it sets the stage saying, when you go to battle and you see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you. The idea here is the Children of Israel when they would go into battle in the promised land, they didn't have horses, they didn't have established military. Like many of the other nations had, their military was volunteers. All right, it's time to go to battle, you know, send out the word to all the tribes of Israel who's available to come and fight. And the people would gather together with whatever resources they had and they would go to battle with that. They didn't have a line of horsemen that were trained warriors on the horse. And the nations that they would be coming against often would have these trained military, they would have horses involved in the battle and chariots. Now, when you're a foot soldier on the battlefield in those days, a cherry, it's like facing a tank, right? It was something that would be seemingly impossible to defeat as a foot soldier. And so the horses and chariots really speak of a superior military might, superior military power. And God says, when you see this enemy that you're coming against and they've got stronger weapons, they've got stronger defenses, they've got more impressive firepower, do not fear. But he also says, when the people are more numerous than you, so you're outnumbered and your outgoing don't fear. The Lord says you're facing this battle again. We can consider the different types of battles that we face. We can consider the different types of things that were encountering in this life. The different struggles and warfare's that we're engaged in. And many times we can look at the situation and see I'm outgunned, I'm outnumbered. It looks like a certain win for the enemy. Any logical military person would look at the situation and say it's right to be afraid in this context because this enemy has greater numbers and greater forces and is almost certainly guaranteed the victory and the message that God delivers to the people in that case is do not fear again. This is the Lord's battle. This is the Lord's will. He's brought you into the midst of this battle. You can trust God to fight On your behalf verse four for the Lord, your God, is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to save you. And so the message is in spite of the battle that is going to happen against this superior enemy, it only looks like they're superior on the outside in the physical realm. But God is with you and God fights for you. Remember when the servant of Alicia Elijah or Alicia, I forget I always get those two rivers but the servant walks out and sees this huge military army out against them and freaks out and runs in and tells his master of the prophet says, hey, we're outnumbered, were surrounded and he says, don't worry about it greater is those who are with us than those who are with them and the servants looking like there's two, I can count two of us. How are we greater? The prophet said Lord opened his eyes and he saw then the forces of the Lord, the spiritual arena and the battle that was going on there and understood then that the Lord was with them and the Lord fights for them. This is something that we need to understand as well trust God to fight your battles. Remember the word of the Lord to zero bubble Zechariah chapter four verse six records it not by might nor by power, but by my spirit says the Lord of hosts. The way that God works is often contrary or counter to what we see physically or what we can think logically. The way that God often works is well beyond what we're able to imagine or strategize. And so when were faced with a seemingly impossible situation with a personal conflict, when we're faced with a seemingly impossible situation with an internal mental or emotional battle, when we're faced with a seemingly impossible situation with whatever kind of battle that we're facing, We go back to point number one make sure that this is a battle the Lord wants to be involved in. Make sure this is where God has been and if not then well that's first things first, I need to settle my heart with the Lord and be where he wants me to be and engaged in what he wants me to be engaged in. But once that's settled now I can come to this battle. That seems impossible by faith and say God, you have me here. You, you brought this battle to me. You put me in the midst of this battle. And so I'm going to trust you to fight in this battle. Even if I'm outnumbered, even if it seems like the enemy has superior forces in power, what I'm going to trust you, it's not my mind. It's not by power, but it's by your spirit. And so Lord, would you lead by your spirit and work out these situations for your glory? Well, the next couple verses here in Deuteronomy chapter 20, God says you're outnumbered, You're outgunned. But now you need to be outnumbered even a little bit more. He's going to walk through some dismissals for the army that gathers together as they call the volunteers and they all show up. All right, we're ready. Here we are for battle. God says any new homeowners in the midst, You guys should take off verse five. Then the officers shall speak to the people saying what man is there who has built a new house and has not dedicated it. Let him go and return to his house lest he die in the battle And another man dedicated God says, here's an exception. Everybody 20 and older. You know, you're enlisted now in the military except hey, if you just purchased a house or just built a house, you're a new homeowner, but you haven't had a chance to live in the house yet. Hey, you're exempt from this battle. You can just go home, enjoy the home that you've just purchased or build for a little bit. Then he dismisses the new business owners in Verse six. Also, what man is there? Who has planted a vineyard and has not eaten of it? Let him go and return to his house lest he die in the battle and another man eat of it. So you've planted a vineyard, you've planted a crop. You haven't got to partake of the fruits of your efforts yet. God says, you know what? This battle is not for you go home, enjoy the fruit of your vineyard. And uh, you know, maybe next time there's a battle, you can be part of that. But for now, no, you need to go home and part eek of the efforts that you've been investing in. Then he goes on to dismiss those who are newly engaged verse seven and what man is there, who is betrothed to a woman and has not married her, Let him go and return to his house lest he die in the battle and another man marry her. The patrol patrol goal for them was like an engagement for us. So they had made a commitment to get married. They were making plans and arranging the wedding ceremony. God says, if you're in the midst of that, your newly engaged, you're about to embark in a new family life. You're dismissed from this battle. Now keep in mind they're outnumbered, right? They're outgunned. But God saying new homeowners you haven't experienced living in your home yet. Go home and experience that new business owners, you haven't experienced the fruit of the investments that you've been making, Go home and experience that newly engaged. You're about to get married, go, go get married, Go, You know, begin your family and, and, and do those things that have been set before you in that regard. And then finally he dismisses the fearful and verse eight, the officers shall speak further to the people and say what man is there who is fearful and fainthearted, let him go and return to his house lest the heart of his brethren faint like his heart. Are you afraid? Hey, your fear might in fact others so don't participate in the battle, go home and be fearful at home. Don't, don't cause others to be afraid as you're freaked out in the midst of the battle. And so God gives all of these exceptions where you can imagine us in the physical world saying, no, no, we need everybody that we can get, you know, and even your grandpa. You know, bring your grandpa to like, no, no, no, don't worry about each limits. Don't worry about we're outnumbered, we're outgunned. Like we need all the help we can get. God says no new homeowners, new business owners, newly engaged, fearful, Why don't you just go home? Just go home and sit this one out. This would be a great test of faith for the leaders of the army, the leaders of Israel and the soldiers that stayed, they would truly have to trust God To fight their battles. We see a good example of this actually being fulfilled and lived out through Gideon in judges chapter seven, we'll get to that in a little bit as we continue to work our way through the Bible in three years. But the media nights were there against Israel. An army of 32,000 gathered together from Israel to fight against an innumerable army of the media nights and God says you got too many people and whittled them down to then 300 was the final number that faced against the media nights. And you know what? The Lord fought their battles. The Lord proved faithful to his word. Pastor David Music says to God, the size of the army wasn't important. The heart of the army was far more important. He didn't want people who might be distracted from the real battle. God could do more through a smaller army that was really committed to him than through a bigger army that was full of compromise. All of those who had these divided interests, they weren't fully invested in the battle. God says, let's remove them from the ranks because I can do a lot more with those who are fully committed to me, fully committed to this battle. Then a great number of people who are half hearted. Whereas David Music says, full of compromise, trust God to fight your battles, trust him to fight on your behalf to be involved in the situation where he has placed you and for some of us, that means going back to point number one and saying, you know what? Maybe I've involved myself in some battles that I don't belong in because God is not in them. God hasn't called me to those battles. And so perhaps I should not be engaged in those battles. But those battles that he has engaged me in, I need to trust him to recognize its not by might not by power but by the working of the Holy Spirit. And so there is the opportunity for us to trust God in the midst of the battles that we face. Now, I'm thinking about all these dismissals that happened. It's a little bit of a side note here, but I would encourage you to consider this. There are some battles that are really good that are really valuable that are really honorable that need to be fought. But it might not be your time to fight it. There's some battles that need to be fought. Their battles of the Lord. And there is God's people that are going to be involved in that battle. But that doesn't mean that it's your time to be engaged in that battle. It might be a good and Godly war. It might be a good and Godly endeavor and great step of faith. But God may have other priorities for you and notice how he sets these priorities. Hey, you need to establish your family. You need to be invested in your home life and, and, and there are seasons of your life that you need to be focused on that and not over here engaged in a battle that you need to allow the Lord to direct your priorities and as much as you might want to fight in that battle, God might say, you know what? You just need to go home and get things squared away at home. You need to establish a solid foundation in your home life later on in the future, there'll be other battles. Trust me, there's always going to be battles. There's going to be plenty of opportunity for us to be engaged in the battles of the Lord. But for right now, perhaps you need to think about and allow the Lord to say that's not your priority right now. You need to be focused instead on this aspect of your life and you can think about that in the in the new testament and the idea of deacons and elders, they were called to be tested first and their home life had to be in order right? Like maybe they are called to lead in this great capacity. But before that can happen and before they engage in that battle, there needed to be these things set in order at home and where they might be weak and vulnerable to temptation says no no let them let them be tested first. Right? And so maybe you would be fearful in battle and you'll break in battle and cause great damage. If you were engaged in that battle right now, maybe you need to go home and be established in your spiritual life and be healthy spiritually and be a giant spiritually and prepare yourself for the next battle. That you would be able to be part of what it is, that God is doing, but where God has you in the midst of the battle, when it is your time. Trust God to fight your battle. Don't measure your success. Don't give up when it looks impossible. Trust God to accomplish his work on your behalf. Well, moving on to verses 10 through 18, we get the third point to consider this morning and that is prefer peace when possible, prefer peace in the midst of all of this. Talk about warfare and battle, we need to understand also God's heart is the preference is peace when that is an option Check out versus 10 through 12, it says when you go near a city to fight against it then proclaim an offer of peace to it. And it shall be that if they accept your offer of peace and open to you that all the people who are found in it shall be placed under tribute to you and serve you now, if the city will not make peace with you, but war against you, then you shall besiege it. Now God is going to make a distinction in these verses. In fact, let's go ahead and jump down there right now quickly, verse 15. Thus you shall due to all the cities which are very far from you which are not of the cities of these nations, verse 16 but of the cities of these peoples which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance. You shall not let nothing that breathes remain alive. And so God makes a distinction for the promised land. He's already given them instruction. They're not to try to make peace there not to try to compromise and coexist with the inhabitants of the land there to drive out the inhabitants of the land completely. That instruction was given for uh that particular plot of land that God was giving to them. But again, there was going to be opportunity where God would say, I want to expand your territory and so he would send them beyond those initial borders that they would inherit. So God says in that case in those situations, when you go near a city first offer peace to it. And the offer of peace was not just let's coexist, but hey, you guys were taking over this territory, you can either be our servants or you can fight us. So when you surrender now or will you surrender after the battle is essentially the idea there. But the offer of peace that that would be given. Hey, this doesn't have to be a battle. This doesn't have to be a fight. uh Let's settle this in a different way. And of course this is important for us to consider as believers today. You know, sometimes there are those who go around and there's a little bit of enjoyment that comes from stirring up a fight. And some people, some of us perhaps kind of get a little bit excited about a battle and, and can, it can be a little bit um you know, stirring the pot can be lots of fun for some people. Right? And I think it's important for us to consider as believers that we need to be careful to be about the Lord's business and as fun as it might be to stir up some people and watch them fight or disturb someone that we can kind of argue with them and and have those kinds of debates and battles and maybe they're playful battles or maybe they start out playful, but then turn into more serious battles. You know how that happens, right? Things escalate and we were just joking around. But now we really are at war with each other. I think it's important for us to remember going back to point number one, letting God choose our battles and being careful to not engage in battles that the Lord is not leading us into that the Lord is not in where he can't send the priest and say, hey God is with you. He fights for you. So don't be afraid. And if we don't, if we don't have that message from the Lord and we don't have that connection to the Lord, then we ought not to be engaged in that battle. And so is there comes opportunities for battle. We need to understand the Lord's preference is not always to fight. The lids, preference is not always to win a battle. He says, look, when you, when you go outside of this territory again here and here, I've given you specific instruction. So follow my instruction there. But outside of that, you need to prefer peace. When you have the opportunity first, give the option for Peace, Paul tells us in Romans chapter 1218. If it is possible, as much as depends on you live peaceably with all men. Now, this introduces a few things to us. First of all, it's not always possible. It's not always up to you. Sometimes there's going to be conflict and battle the people around you through no doing of your own, but as far as it's up to you and as much as it is possible, sometimes you're going to have to fight some battles God's gonna call you into and he's going to be with you, he's gonna fight for you. But but don't default to the fight, don't default to the battle, do your best as much as you can, as much as in your realm of authority to live peaceably, to work out a way to resolve the situation without the fight without the battle. And I think for us as christians today, of course this is really important because our ultimate endeavor is to bring people to the knowledge of jesus christ. And if we're not careful, we'll enter into the battle and seek to win the battle without thinking ahead and we'll see this a little bit later in the passage as well in just a few moments, but without thinking ahead about what is our ministry opportunity to this person going to look like. Can I remind you this morning, there is no person who really is your enemy. They might count you as an enemy, but there is no person that you are to count as an enemy as paul says in Ephesians Chapter six, we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, no person is our enemy. The people are the ones that were fighting for not really fighting against. It's a spiritual battle. Even when it's a physical manifestation of that spiritual battle coming against us. And so for us, if it is possible, as much as depends on us where to live peaceably with all men. For the end results for the hope that we might be able to then have a bridge, an opportunity to bring forth the gospel. You can think about the apostle paul, right? The enemy of the christians, the enemy of the church, wrecked havoc in the church. But God wasn't calling the christians to battle against paul. In fact, God called antonia's. He'd go pray for paul. He's just had a vision from me and I told him you were coming prefer peace when it's possible for the Children of Israel. If the city would make peace, then they were to have peace. They were to come to terms and and work out an arrangement if they would not have peace. And God has instructed them to take this territory. Well then he says, well then you are to besiege it and he gives them instructions for how they are to conduct themselves in battle. In that situation, some battles are optional and we should seek peace where they are now. Some battles are not optional. and again, that's where verse 15 and All the way through 18 come in where God says, the cities of this territory, the land of Israel, that I've given to you, there's no option there you are to battle and for us, this is important to understand because sometimes we want to fight when the Lord wants us to make peace and sometimes we want to make peace when the Lord wants us to fight and we need to get back in sync again, it takes us back to point number one, bringing the priest here, what the Lord has to say about this battle, is this of the Lord, Is this what he wants? Does he want peace in the midst of the situation or does he want to bring about a victory through battle, prefer peace when possible? Important for us to ask is this battle worth fighting for? And again, you can think about this in the context of spiritual war. In the spiritual battles, of course the hosts of darkness come against us, there is no option for peace. God says get victory in the name of jesus, we are to have victory, we are to put on the full armor of God that we may be able to stand and after doing all things to be able to stand, were to engage in that battle, not sit on the sidelines, but we are to engage in that battle. That's not a time to prefer peace. And I'm just going to step away from the spiritual battle. The internal struggles, this is a little bit of an interesting one to consider because sometimes we want to be rid of internal struggles that God is not ready for us to be done with yet. And sometimes we need to make peace with God's plan and God's timeframe, I wish I was over with this. I wish I didn't have to struggle with these things in my mind or in my heart, I wish I didn't have these emotions and we want to make peace and be done with those things and God says, no, no, this is a battle that's going to go on for a little bit. You need to continue to work out these things conflicts with people that's pretty obvious. Sometimes we need to make peace of people that they're from their perspective, their enemies, but they're not really our enemy. And so we need to make peace. And there's sometimes that God wants us to fight and I'm not talking about, you know, doing some kind of physical altercation, I'm saying that there is some type of conflict that needs to take place that needs to happen. And although we don't like to rock the boat, sometimes we need to rock the boat because that is what's best for the situation. We need to prefer peace, but be willing to fight when God calls us to it again, adversity in life, temptation. These are things that we can be seeking the Lord about and deciding and understanding where does he want us in this? Does he want us to be engaged in a battle or does he want us to be at peace with his plan and allowing him to accomplish his purposes for us? Well, finally, I want to finish up here in verse 19 and 24 point number four and that is let God set the limits of battle. Let God set the limits of battle. And this isn't an exhaustive look at all the limits. But it's an interesting example that he gives for us to consider this. Morning verse 19 and 20 says when you besiege a city for a long time, while making war against it to take it, you shall not destroy its trees by wielding it. Acts against them. If you can eat of them, do not cut them down to use in the siege for the tree of the field is man's food. Only the trees which you know are not trees for food. You may destroy and cut down to build siege works against the city that makes war with you until it is subdued here. God sets some limits. He just gives a very specific example. When you are laying siege to the city, you are not to cut down all the trees around it. In the use of your battle specifically, if you see trees that are around the city that are fruit trees, you are not to cut those down. You're to make a distinction. If it is not a fruit tree. And you know, and you can verify it's not a fruit tree. Well then you can use it for that purpose. But but if it's a fruit tree, God says, you may not cut that down. There's a limit. You are to conquer the city, right? God has led you to this. He's in this battle. He wants you to do it, but he has limits boundaries, parameters for how this battle is to be fought. Pastor David music says they had to take a long term view and see that their immediate need for wood was less important than the long term good of the area. Sometimes those immediate needs that we have those urgent things cause us to step over some limits that God would have us to live within. And sometimes in the midst of a battle, we can come to a point where we're like, whatever it takes, whatever it costs, I need to accomplish victory. But God says here, you need to have a long term perspective and to think bigger than just this immediate battle. And you need to understand that after this battle, well, there's people that are going to live here and you're going to live here. And so there needs to be the protection of those resources that will be needed in the region. Sometimes you and I can engage in a battle and win while losing the opportunity to ever have fruit from that situation. The fruit trees were not to be cut down and that perhaps is something interesting for us to consider in that way that you know, sometimes there is a fruit that can be born out of conflict, there is a work of God that can be done. There is a work of the Lord that should be accomplished. But if we go about the battle in the wrong way, we destroy the fruit that God intended. And so yes, I can win that argument. I can win that debate. I can win that promotion over somebody else perhaps. Right, I can I can win that battle while never again having an opportunity to minister to the people who were involved in the battle. But if I can allow the Lord to set the limits to make sure I preserve the fruit, there is a way to battle that still gives us opportunity leader to share the gospel, to be a witness, to exhibit the love of christ two people around us. Sometimes we win a battle and we destroy the fruit of a person's life through our accusations, through our slander, through the words that we share about somebody think about it this way, I'm just gonna use roman because he's sitting back there looking vulnerable. Good man, good husband, good teacher, led by the Lord. And roger decides, I'm going to go to battle with roman and roger starts going around and talking bad about roman and convincing people of some things that were not true. Meanwhile, roman has ministered to so many people over here, realize heart has been touched by, you know, things that roman has shared louise, that roman has ministered and he's just so blessed. But now Roger comes and cuts down that fruit tree and realize life. He says, oh, did you hear about roman and destroys that fruit that would continue to develop and be produced in Ely is life from romans ministry. See sometimes were so engaged in the battle that we cut down others and and we destroy the fruit that could have been produced that could have continued to go on. We destroy the fruit of the work that God is doing through other people, the people that were fighting against and we destroy their fruit in the lives of others. It's it's a serious thing to consider. And so again, the important thing is that we need to let God set the limits of battle. That as we're engaged in conflict, no matter how frustrated we might become, no matter how difficult things might be that we don't overstep there are some battles that we must fight, but we must not fight them at all costs. We must allow the Lord to set the parameters so that we win battles without destroying all of the fruit because God fights for us and we're in the battle because that's where he has us and it's his battle so we can trust him in that. And so we don't have to pull up all restraint and and completely let loose nowhere to set limits and boundaries so that we don't damage the work of God in other people's lives that he is seeking to accomplish. Let God set the limits for battle. There's a famous saying attributed to Mark Twain, Abraham Lincoln various other people. The only safe way to destroy an enemy is to make him your friend. And thinking of battles. It's a good quote to consider war always has casualties. Battles. They always have victims. There's always going to be damaged. The safest way to destroy an enemy is to make him your friend. And so when we can pursue peace with all people, when we can prefer peace, when it's possible, it's much safer, much less damage. But if we have to fight, let's try to fight in a way where we can still make the person our friend try to fight in a way where the fruit tree is not cut down, where there's not that lost opportunity, but to fight in a way that afterwards kind of like, you know, good sportsmanship, we can shake hands and be friends. I think if you look at the life of jesus and the battles that he fought with the Pharisees of religious leaders, those who came against him, they're always enemies against him on their part, not his part, right? And he fought in a way that if they were willing, they could be friends On the verge of battle here, Deuteronomy chapter 20. We need to consider these things between all these different arenas that we've been looking at all these different types of battles that we might face. I would suggest we're always on the verge of battle, right? That's that's part of life. Were always on the verge of battle. We're always in the midst of battle coming out of battle, going into battle facing battles on various fronts that's part of our life. And so it's appropriate for us to then let God choose our battles to evaluate which of these does God want me to be engaged in and where he wants me involved, Then I need to trust him. Lord, You fight my battles. The Children of Israel would go into battle. They would still be part of the battle. They had to take those steps of faith and and you know, be engaged in the war. Meanwhile trusting God to accomplish the victory on their behalf. But when there's opportunity for peace, let's pursue that. Let's prefer that. But when we have to fight, let's let God set the limits so that the fruit is not destroyed. Let's pray Lord, We come before you this morning and as we celebrate our freedoms today and remember Lord, the work that you accomplished at the beginning of this nation, the founding of this nation. Lord, we rejoice in that we celebrate in that Lord we recognize that they came to a point those who were there at that time. Lord where they uh heard your call and were led by you to battle and they trusted in you. They were outnumbered and outgunned and all of these things that we can kind of see it fulfilled in the founding of our nation and we, we thank you for that that work that you've accomplished Lord. Now for us, as we face our own battles personally internally, Lord as a family, as a community Lord, there's a lot of fights taking place. I pray the Lord that you would help us to be very uh discerning about which of those battles you want us to engage in? What would you lead us by your spirit or that we would not trust in our might or power, but by your spirit or you would lead us and you would accomplish your purpose is would remind us of the preference of peace. What when we get kind of sucked into battle without really thinking about it, without giving you opportunity to lead us. I pray you would help us to recognize that and to pursue an opportunity of peace, a different route. But perhaps this is a battle that doesn't need to be fought. Help us to recognize that to offer peace. But when we do have to fight, when you do want us to engage in battle, help us to be submitted to you or that we would fight in the ways that you prescribe that we would battle in ways that what you would desire for us, that we could still honor you and represent you. Whether there could still be a multitude of fruit that comes even from this battle and so Lord, whether it be a step of faith they are calling us to take to go forward and help us to trust you in that Lord, whether it be some conflict in our life would help us to trust you to rest in you and to allow you to accomplish your purpose is show us Lord how you want these things to impact our day, today and tomorrow. This week, Lord May you resolve battles that we're facing. What may you bring us two terms of peace with those around us or situations that we're facing. Lord help us to allow you to lead us into the battles that you desire, that we might have victory for your name, for your glory for all eternity. We pray this in jesus name. Amen.