Richard Ritenbaugh, reflecting on Israel's version of the valiant 300 under the leadership of Gideon, states that God did not promise Israel deliverance at the time of their idolatry and disobedience because they knew better. God first encounters Gideon cowering in a winepress, ironically calling him a "mighty man of valor," prophetically forecasting Gideon's role as a savior of Israel, rescuing them from the Midianites. Gideon incrementally moved from a position of weakness and fear to a position of strength and valor as he started to trust increasingly in God. Gideon's army had to be whittled down from 32,000 to 300 by a series of tests designed to weed out the fearful, leaving a 450 to 1 ratio in favor of the Midianites, ensuring that God would get the credit for the victory. Gideon's 300 men seemed like a million men to the Midianites, throwing them into utter confusion, fighting one another in the darkness. Gideon's army did not have to fight.
John Ritenbaugh, reflecting on Daniel's prayer, observes that there are no hollow threats with God. Confusion, disorder and scattering (the current state of the greater church of God) are the automatic (God-engineered) results of sinning against His law. Under the current scattering, we must acquiesce to the responsibility that God has called us to, and not presumptuously attempt to do something we were not appointed to do. Success in spiritual things does not consist in growing large and powerful, but humbly living by faith, overcoming, being faithful, and yielding to God's shaping power, establishing a dynamic relationship with Him. Unity will only occur when we are yielded to God's leadership. If we were scattered because of sin, we will be unified because of righteousness.
John Ritenbaugh reiterates that mankind does not have (nor ever had) the prerogative to determine standards of righteousness, including whether war is justified. God clearly demonstrated that He was willing to fight Israel's battles for them. Neither ancient Israel nor modern Israel has been authorized to wage war. God's purpose (as well as His promises to our patriarchs) will stand regardless of whether Israel presumptuously chooses to go to war or not. Many biblical examples illustrate that when the leader put his faith in God and submitted himself to God's rule, God supernaturally protected His people. As Jesus lived as a human, He modeled for us a life of restraint and non-violence. Ambassadors of a foreign power do not become involved in another nations politics or wars. When the Kingdom of God becomes a kingdom of this earth, Jesus Christ (along with His resurrected saints) will permanently put an end to all rebellion and conflict.
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