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If you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and desire her and would take her for your wife, then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head and trim her nails. (Deuteronomy 21:11-12)

I realize we’ve dealt with some interesting verses before, but this one presents an interesting scenario when it comes to gleaning something from it that could inspire us to live in a Godly way. The subject matter is war and taking a captive from among a conquered foe, a defenseless woman no less. Still, it must be reaffirmed that God has a reason for things and that nothing in Scripture is superfluous. So what is it we can learn from such a scenario?

First, let us acknowledge that it is difficult for us to relate to the times in which this was spoken and that very few of us have been in combat situations such as this. Now that this is established, let us consider that God is well aware of man’s carnal nature and our tendencies to take things too far. In other words, in every situation we face in life, He has already established boundaries specific to that situation.

Jewish commentary suggests that this particular command was made in response to the “evil inclination.” In other words the text insinuates that, in the heat of battle, something of a carnal nature is likely to happen and, thus, God provides a course of action that does not result in sin. To be frank, God acknowledges mans’ lusts but specifies how to bring those very strong emotions under control. It is similar to the instructions pertaining to divorce: Messiah said, though it is not preferred, divorce is permitted because of the “hardness of your heart.” Therefore, there are those things that God allows even though He doesn’t order us or even encourage us to do them. I’d go so far as to say, very often, God gives us what we want to teach us what we want is not what we need.

All of my life I have heard of the perfect Will of God and the permissible Will of God. One is preferred and the other is the one most often realized, assuming one is trying somewhat to please God. Yes, God will allow us to do or not do without it resulting in sin, however, shouldn’t we prefer God’s perfect plan for our lives and avoid the possibility of trouble that could have been avoided? If you continue to read the restrictions placed upon the Israeli warrior where the captive woman was concerned, it becomes clear God was requiring a cooling off period so that the soldier’s desire could be brought under control. In short, if he truly wanted her, he was to respect her and take her as a lawful wife. If he was unwilling to do that, his true, carnal intention was revealed.

So you see, there is something important to learn from this very odd verse: God will, at times, give us what we want in order to teach us what we want is not what we need. What we want, though allowed in certain situations, will often result in a chain reaction of more what’s allowed but not preferred” that eventually results in hardship and pain. His plan, however, is one of that does not harm us but prospers us; His plan gives you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). That is the plan for me.

Blessings and Shalom,  




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