From Deuteronomy 3-4
The LORD has won many battles for the people of Israel. They have to fight still more as they are about to enter the promised land. Moses encourages Joshua by asking him to remember what the LORD has done for them in the past. In the gospel Jesus commands his followers to go out into the world and make disciples. Having seen and heard all Jesus had done would have been a great encouragement.
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
The opening chapters of Deuteronomy relate the story of Israel’s travels from Mount Horeb to the promised land Canaan. In today’s passage we pick up from several of the victories Israel had over the nations surrounding the promised land.
3 “Then we turned and went up the way to Bashan. And Og the king of Bashan came out against us, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei.
2 But the LORD said to me, ‘Do not fear him, for I have given him and all his people and his land into your hand. And you shall do to him as you did to Sihon the king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon.’
3 So the LORD our God gave into our hand Og also, the king of Bashan, and all his people, and we struck him down until he had no survivor left. 4 And we took all his cities at that time—there was not a city that we did not take from them—sixty cities, the whole region of Argob, the kingdom of Og in Bashan.
5 All these were cities fortified with high walls, gates, and bars, besides very many unwalled villages. 6 And we devoted them to destruction, as we did to Sihon the king of Heshbon, devoting to destruction every city, men, women, and children.
7 But all the livestock and the spoil of the cities we took as our plunder. 8 So we took the land at that time out of the hand of the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, from the Valley of the Arnon to Mount Hermon 9 (the Sidonians call Hermon Sirion, while the Amorites call it Senir), 10 all the cities of the tableland and all Gilead and all Bashan, as far as Salecah and Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan. 11 (For only Og the king of Bashan was left of the remnant of the Rephaim. Behold, his bed was a bed of iron. Is it not in Rabbah of the Ammonites? Nine cubits was its length, and four cubits its breadth, according to the common cubit.) (Dt 3.1-11)
The surrounding nations may be powerful but the LORD is even mightier. He assures Moses and commands him not to fear the opposing kings.
The LORD has done amazing things, with him there is nothing to fear.
Israel only has to step out in faith and she will be victorious. She does and devotes the inhabitants to destruction. Giving them over to the LORD. The text relates some gruesome events. They kill all the people and take their possessions.
Og has a bed made of iron. Perhaps he thought it would be good for his back. Perhaps he thought sleeping on it would make people think he was tough. The bed is a display of their craftsmanship and technology.
12 “When we took possession of this land at that time, I gave to the Reubenites and the Gadites the territory beginning at Aroer, which is on the edge of the Valley of the Arnon, and half the hill country of Gilead with its cities.
13 The rest of Gilead, and all Bashan, the kingdom of Og, that is, all the region of Argob, I gave to the half-tribe of Manasseh. (All that portion of Bashan is called the land of Rephaim.
14 Jair the Manassite took all the region of Argob, that is, Bashan, as far as the border of the Geshurites and the Maacathites, and called the villages after his own name, Havvoth-jair, as it is to this day.)
15 To Machir I gave Gilead, 16 and to the Reubenites and the Gadites I gave the territory from Gilead as far as the Valley of the Arnon, with the middle of the valley as a border, as far over as the river Jabbok, the border of the Ammonites; 17 the Arabah also, with the Jordan as the border, from Chinnereth as far as the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, under the slopes of Pisgah on the east. (Dt 3.12-17)
Once they won over the land, they divided it up among the people. The tribes of Reuben and Gad you may remember asked to reside east of the jordan because of their livestock (Num 32.32-38).
18 “And I commanded you at that time, saying, ‘The LORD your God has given you this land to possess. All your men of valor shall cross over armed before your brothers, the people of Israel. 19 Only your wives, your little ones, and your livestock (I know that you have much livestock) shall remain in the cities that I have given you, 20 until the LORD gives rest to your brothers, as to you, and they also occupy the land that the LORD your God gives them beyond the Jordan. Then each of you may return to his possession which I have given you.’ 21 And I commanded Joshua at that time, ‘Your eyes have seen all that the LORD your God has done to these two kings. So will the LORD do to all the kingdoms into which you are crossing. 22 You shall not fear them, for it is the LORD your God who fights for you.’ (Dt 3.18-22)
Moses allowed them to leave their women, children and possessions there on the condition they would fight with the other tribes to take over the land. Once they had done this they could return.
Moses encourages Joshua by reminding him of all the LORD had done.
Remembering the LORD’s works can be a powerful encouragement to press on in the faith.
On the basis of what the LORD has already done before, Joshua is encouraged to continue into the promised land. Devoting the inhabitants to destruction because of their sin and idolatry. All the while Joshua is told it is the LORD who fights for them.
Encouraged by what the LORD had already done so far, and following Moses instruction Joshua courageously takes on the nations in the promised land.
Because the LORD is with him and fights for them they land is taken. With one or two hiccups along the way.
The LORD demonstrates his faithfulness to his promises to those who trust in him. He continues to do so through Israel’s history.
In the gospel after Jesus had died and rose again he commanded his followers saying;
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Mt 28.18-20)
After all they had seen Jesus say and do they were encouraged to take on the world. Not devoting them to destruction like Israel. Rather bringing them to their Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Remember what the LORD has done in your life and be encouraged to step out in faith for him today.
Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2016. All Rights Reserved.