Only the trees that you know are not trees for food you may destroy and cut down, that you may build siege works against the city that makes war with you, until it falls. Deuteronomy 20:20
Nosh: Israel finds itself in a war against her enemies and needs the wood from the surrounding trees to promote their war plan. What is of importance is how God views productivity even during wartime when the outcome is a matter of life and death. He instructs Israel not to cut down productive trees that produce fruit for the promotion of war. This infers that because their fruit is life sustaining and will have great value beyond the immediate war objective, they should be exempted from use for the battle. However, trees that are not food producing and do not sustain life may be used as needed. We learn several lessons from this passage but perhaps the one with the most practical value is that God encourages us to cultivate and maintain those things that will be consistently productive throughout our lives. The rest is expendable.