“…Is there a man here who has built a new house, but hasn’t dedicated it yet?
He should go back home now;
otherwise he may die fighting, and another man will dedicate it.
Is there a man here who has planted a vineyard, but hasn’t yet made use of its fruit?
He should go back home;
otherwise he may die fighting and another man will use it.
Is there a man here who is engage to a woman, but hasn’t married her yet?
He should go back home;
otherwise he may die fighting and another man will marry her.”
Deuteronomy 20:5-7 CJB
It would seem that there are things in life so meaningful that a man should not die before he has had a chance to experience them.
I was listening to a teaching recently out of the Torah Portion “Shoftim” as presented by Rabbi David Fohrman of Aleph Beta and I found it meaningful.
In this Portion, instructions are given for preparing men about to go to war who would be facing the possibility of dying in battle.
First, the priest is to speak to them instructing them not to be fainthearted or afraid but to remember and trust that Yahweh would be with them against their enemies and would give them victory.
Instructive here to notice he didn’t tell them no one would die. So the implication is that victory doesn’t mean not dying. Was the priest talking to the army of Israel as a whole or was his message for each individual participant?
I think both. The nation corporately would be victorious and so would each and every man…even those that fell in battle. How could it be said that a dead man would experience victory? Maybe they had a sense that death was not the end of experiencing, maybe through their living descendants, or maybe because their death was not the end of experiencing. But this is another thought.
Then instructions are given, not to the corporate body but for individual men at a certain point in life to be exempted from going into battle so that they could…dedicate that house they had built but not lived in, eat from the fruit of the vineyard they had planted but not yet harvested, consummated marriage to the one they were betrothed to.
Was all this patterned after divine example? Well, Rabbi Fohrman thinks so and I see the parallel.
Our Father, out of the creation of heaven and earth, built a home.
He planted a garden.
He created mankind with whom He would have a consummate relationship.
So if these three things were so important that any man in the midst of them was exempt from the battle that could keep him from experiencing them before dying, wouldn’t that be an indication that these three things are meaningful pursuits for our lives?
We are born into a world that is at war. In the womb and without, we are going into battle against forces bent… on denying home, the nourishment and beauty we are cultivating and relationship according to the original design or… on altering the design to something anti-God, anti-meaningful.
Battling victoriously means putting our trust in God, to learn and obey His ways and to do so understanding that the choices we make and the stands we take are not always going to be profitable or pleasurable in the here and now.
There are decisions. Is God really real to us? If He is, are we going to value what He values? Are we going to accept the inconveniences that will occur… make sacrifices that will need to be made in our lives in order to follow after His ways…?
We pray so Father and we trust that…
“You, our God, go before us to fight on our behalf against our enemies and give us victory.”
Guide us daily Father in the ordering of our lives to find the balance for our time and energy, our goals and commitments, our love and faithfulness that will bring glory to You and meaningfulness to our lives.
In Yeshua’s name we pray,
May God’s love be in us all.