Deuteronomy 20:8 NKJV “The officers shall speak further to the people, and say, ‘What man is there who is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go and return to his house, lest the heart of his brethren faint like his heart.’
Here in Chapter 20 we see a number of principles given to the Children of Israel pertaining to governing warfare. Remember, these people just recently came out of over 400 years of slavery. War protocol wasn’t their strong suit of expertise. So God, thru Moses wrote instructions for encouraging the troops before battle, how to deal with major life changes of troops, pursuing peace when possible, etc… Among these instructions we see verse 8. The officers will also say to the men, “Is there any man here who has lost his nerve and is afraid? If so, he is to go home. Otherwise, he will destroy the morale of the others.” (Good News Bible)
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “Fear is an airborne virus.” God knows it and knows exactly how contagious and destructive it can be. I like the way the Message Bible reads. It says, ‘The officers will then continue, “And is there a man here who is wavering in resolve and afraid? Let him go home right now so that he doesn’t infect his fellows with his timidity and cowardly spirit.”’ That really says it like it is. Fear is infectious by nature. Its symptoms are timidity, loss of nerve, poor morale, faint heartedness, and a cowardly spirit. If you’re heading into battle you really don’t want an outbreak of fear in your ranks. It could prove to be deadly. Therefore God had the captains inspect their troops for it and send all those in fear home. When you are heading into battle you can’t hang with people consumed with fear.
We all know people that live in a constant state of worry and fear. They are precious people in the sight of God and we are to love them, but spending too much time with them will result in you contracting the deadly FEAR virus. Talking to fearful people about the battles you are facing or the situations you are in only serves to invite negative and fear laced commentary into the situation and instead of hearing words that produce faith and end in life and victory you will hear words of fear leading to destruction (Romans 10:17). God knew that when His people were headed for a battle they couldn’t hang with people filled with fear, that’s why He issued the command. If you want to Fear Not, you can’t hang with people living in fear.