Jump Starts Daily

Jump Start #3390

Jump Start # 3390

Deuteronomy 20:8 “Then the officers shall speak further to the people, and they shall say, ‘Who is the man that is afraid and fainthearted? Let him depart and return to his house, so that he might not make his brothers’ hearts melt like his heart.”

  In this section of Scriptures, instructions are given about going to war. Israel was to drive out the nations from the promise land. There were some exemptions that allowed some to return home rather than fighting. Having built a new house was one. Planted a vineyard without reaping the fruit was another. Being engaged and not married was yet another.

  Then comes our verse. Yet, another exemption. Here it is about fear. God would rather the fearful one to go home than to discourage those around him. And, this tells us a lot about fear and discouragement, or fainthearted. It tends to spread. We see this in the home. Get one child scared and before long the others are scared. Fear and discouragement tend to spread.

  So, the solution was simple. The scared ones are to go home. It seems that there would be some embarrassment attached to this. When everyone knew the armies were away fighting, and yet here you are back home, questions would be asked. Did you build a new house? Have you planted a vineyard? Are you engaged? When all of those were answered in the negative, there remained one more question. Why are you afraid?

  Now, some thoughts for us:

  First, leaders need to recognize that fear and discouragement spread rapidly through a group of people. This happens because people talk. They complain. They air their fears. This is true in a home, a business and a congregation. Get the rumor started in a plant that there are going to be layoffs and before the end of the shift everyone is wondering if they will have a job.

  Sending the fearful home may have worked in the battles of Israel. It doesn’t work much today. One can’t stay home from worship because they are afraid. In fact, they need to be around the courageous and the faithful to overcome their fears.

  Leaders need to recognize when the levels of fear and discouragement are elevated. One on one conversations will help. Strong lessons about trusting in the Lord will help. Remembering past victories with the Lord helps. Doing nothing, allows the ship to sink. Taking action in a positive fashion can turn things around and be very helpful.

  Second, for those of Israel who went home scared, they had to admit it. That’s something most of us never do. We hate to admit failures, short comings and discouragements. We keep a good upper lip and press on. We wear masks which hide our true feelings. We don’t get help because we don’t seek it.

  Third, Israel understood, even with fellow soldiers heading home, they could win the battles that they faced. It wasn’t their strength or military knowledge that would win these fights. It was the Lord that won the  wars for Israel. And, so it is today. The number on the attendance board doesn’t reflect the power, faith and strength that is in the Lord. Our victories come from the Lord.

  Go home if you are scared. I wonder how many held up their hands. I wonder how many felt bad knowing their fellow soldiers were out in the fields, fighting great battles, while the scared were tucked in their beds at night.

  Fear not—is an expression used over 300 times in our Bibles. The Lord said it often to the disciples. We need to be reminded of that. The scared head home. The scared give up. The scared are defeated. It’s the courageous that has the faith to move onward with the Lord.

  Go home if you are scared. Wonder if I would have stayed or gone home? How about you?