Going to War
When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and a army greater than yours, DO NOT BE AFRAID of them, because the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, will be with you. 2When you are about to go into battle, the priest shall come forward and address the army. 3He shall say: "Hear O Israel, today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not be terrified or give way to panic before them. 4 For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.
5The officers shall say to the army: "Has anyone built a new house and not dedicated it? Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else may dedicate it. 6Has anyone planted a vineyard and not begun to enjoy it? Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone enjoy it. 7Has anyone become pledged to a woman and not married her? Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else marry her. 8Then the officers shall add, "Is any man afraid or fainthearted? Let him go home so that his brothers will not become dishearted too." 9When the officers have finished speaking to the army, they shall appoint commanders over it.
10 When they march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. 11If they accept and open thier gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you. 12 If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city. 13 When the Lord your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. 14As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselve. And you may use the plunder the Lord your God gives you from your enemies. 15This is how you are to treat all the cities that you are at a distance from you and do not belong to the nations nearby. 16However, in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritace, do not leave alive anthing that breaths. 17Completely destroy them-the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites-as the Lord your God has commanded you. 18 Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshipping thier gods, and you will sin against the Lord your God.
19When you lay siege to a city for a long time, fighting against it to capture it, do not destroy its trees by putting an ax to them, because you can eat their fruit. Do not cut them down. Are the trees of the field people, that you should besiege them? 20 However, you may cut down trees that you know are not fruit trees and use them to build siege works until the city at war with you falls.
From: Dan Evans at DATUWALIMISSION [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, August 25, 2008 11:44 PM
Subject: Considering our options
I slept for several hours. It’s 2:30 PM and we are discussing our options for tonight and future days/nights. The army and police are no where to be seen. They are probably giving nominal protection to the more densely populated areas, such as the main bodies of the two nearest towns (Maitum and Kiamba). Citizens are left to their own demise, which means run or hide. The problem for us, is that many eyes are upon us and our whereabouts known wherever we go. When threatened, the vast majority of the good people would probably divulge our whereabouts. But, telling the good from the bad can be difficult. Anywhere we might go in this community to seek refuge, is problematic.
We are told that the threat (and intelligence information) points to me as one of the rebel’s targets. I am to be used as a shield or for ransom. We are being encouraged to leave the area indefinitely, but finding an alternative is challenging. Tensions are high everywhere, even in General Santos City where one of the MILF commanders was captured yesterday. Davao City is a possibility, but for us to find lodging there, for possibly a week or more, is not likely. And, we would be traveling through more conflict areas on that 4-5 hour drive.
I am also concerned for the spiritual impact our escape might have on people here, who look up to us for our faith and leadership. My personal choice would be to park Aura and Jennifer in a safe place and remain here. But, Aurea will not stand for that. It is a battle that’s been raging inside me for days. Compounding the issue, is that my brother-in-law Arturo, who is the barangay (village) captain and an armed, retired Army Captain and National Police officer, left the village today to attend a "seminar," at the capitol. It may be a briefing meeting, but he won’t be here tonight, or possibly several more this week. He is the leader here when it comes to dispensing critical information to citizens, and heading up their patrols and self-defense program. He and his men guarded our compound and watched for rebel patrols all last night while we were cowering in Municipal Hall. Tonight, there will be little protection for villagers, and no factual information to apprise them of the dangers.
I must make a decision before dark (about 3 hours from now) and get my family to a safer place. Our compound is on the forest path and river route the rebels are taking in their run from the military. But, as I indicated, I am torn. I fought intense feelings of guilt all last night in our hiding place, for abandoning the villagers who live around us, people who live in little huts and houses, and who could be punished if the rebels can’t find me. These people don’t have an evacuation plan, transportation, or alternatives. But, we don’t have the firepower to resist a heavily armed group.
Please continue to pray for the safety of everyone here, but also for wisdom and discernment for myself. People are tugging on me in every direction: go here, go there, do this, do that — none of which seems very responsible when I take into consideration why God sent us here, or how God has promised to provide for our every need. I don’t want our departure in the midst of a storm to destroy our message of faith, trust and provision among the people here. And, should any of them suffer at the hands of the rebels, I could not live with myself for abandoning them. But, I also cannot callously sacrifice my family, or subject them to life in my absence because I did something foolish. It is a terrible personal battle.
Thank you for praying. Please continue.
Yet if you devote your heart to him and stretch out your hand to him, 14If you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent, 15then you will lift up your face without shame; you will stand firm and without fear. 16 You will surley forget your trouble, recalling it on as waters gone by. 17Life will be brighter than noonday, and darkness will become like morning. 18You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety. 19 You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid, and many will court your favor. 20 But the eyes of the wicked will fail, and escape will elude them; their hope will become a dying gasp."
2Chronicles30:6……………………. "People of Israel, return to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, that He may return to you who are left, who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria. 7 Do not be like your fathers and brothers, who were unfaithful to the Lord, the God of their fathers, so that he made them an object of horror, as you see. 8Do not be stiffed necked, as your fathers were; submit to the Lord. Come to the sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever. Serve the Lord your God, so that his fierce anger will turn away from you. 9 If you return to the Lord, then your brothers and your children will be shown compassion by their captors and will come back to this land, for the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn His Face from you if you return to Him."