Take No Prisoners

By James Randall Robison Published on July 7, 2024

“Kill them all!”

That was the command given by God through Moses as the Israelites stood on the doorstep of their Promised Land.

“When the Lord your God brings you into the land that you are entering to take possession of it, and clears away many nations … and when the Lord your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them, then you must devote them to complete destruction. You shall make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them.” (Deuteronomy 7:1-3, ESV)

Brutal.

The concern with some enemies was that they would never become friendly or even submissive to the one true God. In fact, they would eventually turn His people away from Him, leading them to destruction. So God ordered the Israelites to wipe them out. Show no mercy. In a sense, turn them over to God instead of risking their evil influence.

The Key to Victory

Enemies stood between God’s deliverance from Egypt and the place of blessing. For the Israelites, the key to victory did not lie in their ability, their numbers, their intelligence, their courage, or any other resource within themselves. They were outnumbered and outsized. The only way to win was through obedience. If they would simply obey God’s commandments, they would never need to fear their enemies “for the Lord your God is in your midst, a great and awesome God” (v21).

Today, as we live under the authority of a new and better covenant in Christ, our “promised land” is not made of grass and hills or bordered by mountains and rivers. The Israelites were to establish a physical kingdom, but the holy nation raised up with Christ is “not of this world.” It is spiritual. There is no need for a temple and priest because we embody the place where God meets mankind and Christ stands as the eternal High Priest.

We Must Fight

Just as the Israelites were delivered from slavery to the Egyptians, we have been delivered from slavery to sin. Yet we still must fight. Spiritual enemies stand between our place of deliverance and the place of blessing.

“For though we walk in the flesh,” Paul wrote to believers in the ancient town of Corinth, “we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete” (2 Corinthians 10:3-6).

Destroy Beliefs, Not People

The worldly tendency is to attack people — even those within the church. But our enemies are not other tribes. They are strongholds like addiction, lust, and fear. We don’t slaughter those who do not hold our beliefs. We destroy the beliefs that hold us back from God’s promises, like greed, deception, and pride. We show them no mercy. They must be utterly destroyed so they cannot destroy us. And like the Israelites, we cannot rely on our own abilities. Our victory comes through obedience. When we step out on the spiritual battlefield and fight the way God commands, we will win.

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It’s important to realize that this fight is not a one-time occurrence, it is a daily discipline. “You may not make an end of them at once,” God told the Israelites (Deuteronomy 7:22), but He promised them that “no one shall be able to stand against you” (v 24).

Blessing Awaits

Christ established His new, invisible kingdom here on Earth. It is available for us, but we have to fight to live in it. Those enemies that stand in the way must be vigorously attacked with the sword of the Spirit until they are defeated. Envy must be eradicated. Wrath must be wiped out. Arrogance must be annihilated. They may be giants today, but they will eventually fall. On the other side, blessing awaits.

“For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.” (Deuteronomy 8:7-10)

The Old Covenant kingdom paints a picture of the New Covenant possibility. We can live in a place where our emotional and spiritual needs are met, we find security and comfort, and our soul is fully satisfied. So stand up and fight. Destroy every enemy. Take no prisoners. In Christ, the victory is yours.

 

James Randall Robison is a writer, producer, and host for the television program LIFE Today.

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