Questions in the Battle Field Deuteronomy 1: 1-8, 19-40
The debate rages on. The recent killings of our KDF soldiers in Somalia by the Al shabaab have brought the thorny question back to the fore front. Should Kenya withdraw our KDF troops from Somalia? Was chasing the enemy and fighting him to destroy him in his territory a good idea for Kenya? The enemy and territory is unfamiliar, the strategy is in question and the authority is unsure.
We continue with our series Warfare and today we look at the Battle field. In a great way, as we set off on our vision Emerge, to reach every household within 5km radius with the gospel is truly a matter of warfare. As we mentioned last week, the enemy has never taken the advancement of God’s agenda lying down. He will always put up a fight. Is our scope clear, Is our strategy in place and is our authority sure? These are the questions we ask in the battle field?
Turn with me to a similar account in God’s word in Deuteronomy 1, to see how the children of Israel encountered a similar situation and what lessons we can learn from God’s word.
Read Deut 1:1-18, 19-40)
This account in Deuteronomy is a summary of events that are well detailed in Numbers chapter 13 and 14. Moses and the Israelites are camped East of Jordan in the land of Amon, before they cross the Jordan, 40 years after they had left Egypt.
Moses is addressing a new generation, He recounts the story of the Israelites back to Horeb or Mt. Sinai. At this address, the old generation had perished during the 40 years of wandering in the desert (paran/Perazin). Compared to 11 days it takes from Horeb to Kardesh Barnea, but it took 40 years from Kardesh to East of Jordan in Moab where they now had camped.
Moses is speaking to a new generation of the children of Israel. God wiped out the older generation, all those who had seen the wonders and signs he did in Egypt. This was because despite God proving himself again and again to them, They had rebelled against the Lord in Kardesh Barnea by grumbling, complaining again and again against the Lord’s reputation.
It was on this Journey from Sinai to Kardesh Barnea that the Lord had demonstrated his power to them, giving them quail and manna to eat, guiding them at night by flame and at day by cloud of smoke as they carried the ark of the covenant.
At Kardesh Barnea, the Lord asked them to send out spies who went up the land for 40 days to spy the promised land. Please don’t miss the gist of the story. The spies actually went into the promised land and spent 40 days. At this spy visit, they saw the Promised Land and confirmed it was a good land and brought back a report but because of their unbelief, 40 years later is when they are now to enter.
While the spies brought discouraging reports of the Land, Caleb trusted in God but the other spies led the people to fear and doubt. The battle field was lost. So God banished them and made them turn south back to the desert before they would again attempt going into the Promised Land.
Allow me to raise 3 questions from this text that are important in the battle field
How well do we understand the scope?
In verse 6-8 God gave them a clear order to match on and a very clear picture of the territory promised to them. In this description is a clear detail of the geography or the land scape including the hills, mountains and foothills, in the coast, far to the river Euphrates? By all means this was a good land, green and fertile- a land flowing with milk and honey. The fruits they brought back were rare in this dessert area of the middle-east.
Not only so, there is also a description of the occupants, the Amorites. The “land of the Amorites” included Syria and Palestine. The Amorites were known as fierce warriors during their prime. Moses referred to Og, the king of the Amorites, as a very tall man whose bed was approximately 13.5 feet long (Deuteronomy 3:11). Despite their strong numbers and military might, the Amorites were destroyed due to their worship of false gods. Israel’s conquest of their land was part of God’s judgment on the pagan Amorite culture. The Amorites are last mentioned in Amos 2:10. It is assumed they either died out or were absorbed into the culture of Israel.
As we continue to fast and pray, in this time of warfare- it is important for us to consider the scope of what God is calling us to. How well do we understand the 5Km radius portion that God has called us to? How well do we understand the people and the geography? What special features stand out? What histories do we need to know? This is then what informs our prayers and faith in going about conquering the land.
Did you know for example, Syokimau is named after the great Prophetess and healer Syokimau of the Akamba Community. Syokimau Prophesied the coming of the white people to Kenya and also prophesied the construction of the Mombasa to Kisumu railway line. In her prophecy she said she could see people of a different color carrying fire inside waters which was later to be understood as white people in vessels carrying matchboxes and guns. She prophesied seeing a long snake that whose head was in the Indian Ocean and the tail was in Lake Victoria.How does this inform our prayer life? When you walk around this community what stands out
Oh that the Lord would show us “ it is a good land that the Lord has given you”
But the Second thing is What is the strategy?
In verse 22, The Lord commanded them to send out spies into the land to bring the good report. Numbers 13 gives more details on the command and the spies. Num18- 25 gives clear instructions on this spy mission. Please note however the scouts were sent out to determine not whether they should go and fight or not, but where they should enter. The report was mixed, it was a good land, but they saw cities with tall walls and people mightier and stronger. The danger then was the fear and discouragement they brought back
Have you considered that we are on a spy mission for God’s Kingdom. God has strategically placed us within this community for his Kingdom Agenda. God has placed you within your neighborhood as a watchman over that land on behalf of the Kingdom. The question is how well do you engage in your role as a spy?
Now spies know they are not of the land, but they mingle and interact with a mission in mind. They ask the right questions, they are strategic in their networks and are clear in their reporting? Part of Intercession is engaging, standing in the gap. How well are we spying out for opportunities for the Kingdom?
How are we engaging as spies within this community? Our neighborhoods, how are we participating in the welfare, community groups? How well do we report in prayer.
But we must be careful to engage in Faith and not bring back a report of fear. Some of us God has placed you strategically within networks and people, but we shrink in our fears and focus on the greatness and might of men not of the God who sent us. We know the land is good, but we fear rocking the boat, taking the step and sometimes loose ourselves all together among them.
The result was clear, the courageous and bold spies are rewarded the shy and fearful ones are reproofed.
But Lastly: Who is the Sending Authority?
Who is the real Land Lord? The Lord punished them for their rebellion. Their rebellion was not merely because they were weak and afraid, but their rebellion reflected greatly on God’s reputation. After God had proven himself again and again, their rebellion to go up questioned God’s authority and ability to fulfill his promise to them.
God was determined to fulfill his promise to Abraham and his descendants and this show of rebellion discounted God’s revelation of himself to the patriarchs and to them as well.
One of the weapons the enemy uses as mentioned last week is doubt. It starts at first with innocent fear but it builds up to Doubt and finally to the lie that “God hates us and has brought us out here to destroy us”, so God now becomes the enemy. It is possible that Al shabab can make KDF to doubt whether or not Kenya has their best interest at heart sending them out to the battle field.
First it starts with the usual fear, then builds up to doubting our authority. Who is the Lord of the land and who enables us? Doubting his intentions for us, Doubting his character.
It’s normal for us to be afraid, but to stay in fear is dangerous ground for the enemy. We must be careful especially when it touches on God’s reputation.
The result is that because of the report, there was bad word and grumbling going about the camp. We must guard against those discussions that destroy the faith of people in the vision and also in the leadership. Be careful that your sentiments about this vision do not become a deterrent to others. We believe that the Church is about God’s Agenda and God’s Agenda is about his reputation and His reputation is about himself and His LIFE.
In Acts 17: 24-28. The Lord our God is the Lord of the Land, He determines boundaries and He ordains territories. To yield to fear and refuse to engage in the battle field is to yield to the enemy and disapprove that God is not the Land Lord