August 11, 2022
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Many Civil War scholars would consider the Battle of Gettysburg as the turning point - or certainly one of the turning points - of that bloody war. And Civil War buffs have discussed for decades what factors actually decided the outcome of the battle that may have decided the outcome of the war. One key factor happened before the real battle actually began those three days in July of 1863. Soldiers from both North and South were on the move as General Lee's troops launched an invasion of Union territory. Union General Buford unintentionally encountered some of the advance Confederate forces. Well, he sized up the terrain around Gettysburg, and he decided that the ground called Cemetery Ridge would be the decisive high ground when the forces of Blue and Gray finally came to blows. And he determined to keep the advanced southern troops from having that ground, and he succeeded. In so doing, he secured for the North, ground that would indeed help decide the outcome of the Battle of Gettysburg.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Choosing Your Battles."
Throughout military history, victories have been won because someone knew which battle was worth fighting and which battleground was best to fight on. It might be an important part of whether or not you'll win in some of the battles you're fighting right now as a parent, or at work, in keeping people together, maybe in your church.
King David! There's a veteran warrior, and he understood that it was important to be sure that you're fighting the right battles. In 2 Samuel 5, beginning with verse 18, our word for today from the Word of God, the Bible says: "Now the Philistines had come and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim; so David inquired of the Lord, 'Shall I go and attack the Philistines?'... The Lord answered him, 'Go, for I will surely hand the Philistines over to you.' So David went...and he defeated them."
Later, the Philistines invaded again. "So David inquired of the Lord, and He answered, 'Do not go straight up...'" Now, notice here, David did not undertake a battle until he had checked with God to see if this was a battle he should fight. That's a powerful model for you and me.
Some of us as parents or leaders, we tend to make everything a battle. We just can't keep our mouth shut, we can't let anything pass. And even if you're fighting good battles, if you're always fighting, people become immune to you. And when you've got a really important issue to fight for, they'll just say, "Here he goes again." That's not good. Some of us parents, we so want our kids to do the right thing that we're like all over them all the time. And they eventually just turn us off. Same with any of us who are always fighting.
So don't make every issue a battleground. Don't make everything a battle. Fight for the real issues, not over every incident. Don't try to settle issues based on an incident that's got everybody all inflamed right now. Deal with it at a time when there's not an incident. Save your ammunition for the battles that really matter.
Above all, always check with God to see if this is His battle; one that He thinks is worth fighting and that you're the one to fight it. So that you can say with David against Goliath, "The battle is the Lord's." Choosing your battles, choosing your battlegrounds, and sometimes holding your fire. Those are keys to winning the battles that decide the war.