Divide and conquer

Deuteronomy 7:22 reads, “And the LORD your GOD will drive out those nations before you little by little; you will be unable to destroy them at once…”

This is referring to the children of Israel coming to the Promised Land and taking possession of it. Basically, it details the book of Joshua. The process used was very interesting and appears as though it was planned by a brilliant military strategist. The land was conquered in stages, just as GOD had said, little by little. The children crossed the River Jordan and took the central portion first. They then conquered the southern portion. Finally, the northern part was conquered.

This plan has been used as a military strategy throughout history. It is called divide and conquer. It makes perfect sense because if Joshua had started at the southern end to conquer the land, then the further he progressed the more concentrated the remaining forces would have become. The central and northern forces would have joined together and been a much stronger foe.

Toward the end of the book of Joshua, we find that the LORD had given Israel all the land which HE swore to give unto their fathers (Genesis 15:18). HE delivered all their enemies into their hand, all HIS promises had come to pass (Joshua 21:43-45). There was (and is) no land promise awaiting the Jewish people in the future, it was given to them then. Joshua 23:15-16 attaches conditions to their keeping the land and notes the possibility of their perishing off the good land and losing the Promised Land if they failed to keep the conditions. Sadly, in time, this is exactly what happened.

But for today’s thought, let’s consider the idea of “divide and conquer.” As stated earlier, this is still used as a military strategy even today. However, it also has meaning in other areas of life. Let’s consider a few. To begin, even a child knows something about dividing and conquering. We have all witnessed a child ask one parent for something and then go to the second parent when he doesn’t receive the desired answer. What has he done? He has attempted to divide. The wise parents will be supportive of each other and stand united.

In the church, it is applied when a person interested in change seeks to divide elderships, or elders and ministers, or members against members. We see the strategy at work in our country as many issues seek to divide us morally, politically, and otherwise.

Jesus taught us in Luke 11:17 that a house divided against itself cannot stand. Let us realize that strength comes in unity. And whether we are parents presenting a united front for our children or an eldership standing united on the truth, let us remember that united we stand and divided we fall.

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