The Contagion of Faintheartedness

Deuteronomy 20:8, "...What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren's heart faint as well as his heart."

The context of the verse concerns those men among the children of Israel who were being called to go to war. Earlier in the chapter it speaks of situations that would exempt a man from going to battle. Now, however, it speaks of the condition of our heart. Anyone who was fearful and fainthearted was to return to his house, "lest his brethren's heart faint as well as his heart."

This person did not have the courage to face his enemies, to whom the terrors of war, and especially of death, are dreadful. A fearful and fainthearted man is one that cannot stand in battle array, or behold a drawn sword, his fear is too great. The command for him to return to his house was given in consideration of not only himself, but the others whom he would be going with into battle. His condition might have a negative impact upon the other warriors. Gill writes in his commentary on the Bible, "Let him go and return to his house, lest his brethren's heart faint as well as his heart; lest, by his pale looks and trembling joints, his fainting fits and swoons, he discourage the rest in the same company with him, and by his example make them unfit for war also."

My question for you is this: Are you prepared as a soldier of Jesus Christ to go into the harvest field and labor for Him? If we are fearful or fainthearted we will be a negative influence upon others. Fear doesn't come from the Lord, it comes from Satan. In this same chapter, verse 1 says, "When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, be not afraid of them: for the LORD thy God is with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." Then verse 3(b) and 4 states, "...let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them; For the LORD your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you."

Luke 18:1 speaks to the source of our strength, "And he (Jesus) spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint." Let's make sure to spend time in prayer to strengthen our hearts in the Lord.  It is the first step in becoming a good soldier!

Your Friend and HIS,
Pastor Abbott


1.  How have you influenced others in the past?  Has your influence been positive or negative?

2. What makes you fearful?

3. What has caused you to be faint of heart?

4. How has your faintheartedness influenced others?

5.  Are you willing to be a witness in God's harvest field?  When is the last time you shared the gospel with someone who was lost?