Deuteronomy 2:24-25 (JDV)
Deuteronomy 2:24 “Yahveh also said, ‘Get up, move out, and cross the Arnon Valley. See, I have handed the Amorites’ King Sihon of Heshbon and his land over to you. Begin to take possession of it; engage him in battle.
Deuteronomy 2:25 Today I will begin to put the fear and dread of you on the peoples everywhere under the sky. They will hear the report about you, tremble, and be in anguish upon seeing you.’
encountering our enemies
The mission of the Israelites was to take possession of the land that God had given to them. When they encountered the Edomites and Ammonites in the previous sections of the story, God’s instruction for them was to go through their territory without engaging them. They could be resources for the Israelites, but the Israelites were not allowed to attack them.
Now things are different. God warned the Israelites that they were not going to simply walk through the land of king Sihon. He was not going to allow it.
The Christian is responsible to love his neighbor, but in many cases, that love is not going to be reciprocal. By just being honest with our beliefs, we are going to make enemies. Christians cannot compromise who we are to make friends with God’s enemies. That is not our calling.
Our mission is not to possess a land, but to make disciples within it. The land we live in will contain three types of people: other disciples, friendly unbelievers with whom we can coexist, and enemies we must show love to, but not accept unconditionally because they actively oppose Christ and the gospel.
Lord, give us the wisdom to know how to love everyone, but also to know who our friends and enemies are.