Saturday, June 29, 2013

Etiquette, Success, and Deutoronomy

The Bible is full life lessons.  Even if you aren't Christian, it is always a good idea to read it at least once in order to glean its lessons and to experience the richness of its literature.

One such important lesson is illustrated in the second chapter of Deuteronomy.  The wanderers consider waging war with various peoples as they encounter them in their travels, but instead they are advised by God to keep the peace.  Instead of pillaging, plundering, and helping themselves to the spoils which are not meant for them, God instructs them to pay for their food and water fairly, to behave graciously and not to harass or bother anyone across whom they come during this journey.

Not only is this prudent behavior in order to keep positive relationships with one's neighbors, but it is also important to remember that it's important to choose one's battles wisely.  If you are positive that you cannot win or make a positive impact in any way, then war is pointless as it wastes so many resources.

Deuteronomy 2

New International Version (NIV)
Wanderings in the Wilderness

2 Then we turned back and set out toward the wilderness along the route to the Red Sea,[a] as the Lord had directed me. For a long time we made our way around the hill country of Seir.

2 Then the Lord said to me, 3 “You have made your way around this hill country long enough; now turn north. 4 Give the people these orders: ‘You are about to pass through the territory of your relatives the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir. They will be afraid of you, but be very careful. 5 Do not provoke them to war, for I will not give you any of their land, not even enough to put your foot on. I have given Esau the hill country of Seir as his own. 6 You are to pay them in silver for the food you eat and the water you drink.’”

7 The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything.

8 So we went on past our relatives the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir. We turned from the Arabah road, which comes up from Elath and Ezion Geber, and traveled along the desert road of Moab.

9 Then the Lord said to me, “Do not harass the Moabites or provoke them to war, for I will not give you any part of their land. I have given Ar to the descendants of Lot as a possession.”

10 (The Emites used to live there—a people strong and numerous, and as tall as the Anakites. 11 Like the Anakites, they too were considered Rephaites, but the Moabites called them Emites. 12 Horites used to live in Seir, but the descendants of Esau drove them out. They destroyed the Horites from before them and settled in their place, just as Israel did in the land the Lord gave them as their possession.)

13 And the Lord said, “Now get up and cross the Zered Valley.” So we crossed the valley.

14 Thirty-eight years passed from the time we left Kadesh Barnea until we crossed the Zered Valley. By then, that entire generation of fighting men had perished from the camp, as the Lord had sworn to them. 15 The Lord’s hand was against them until he had completely eliminated them from the camp.

16 Now when the last of these fighting men among the people had died, 17 the Lord said to me, 18 “Today you are to pass by the region of Moab at Ar. 19 When you come to the Ammonites, do not harass them or provoke them to war, for I will not give you possession of any land belonging to the Ammonites. I have given it as a possession to the descendants of Lot.”

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