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Deuteronomy Chapters 2-3

Deuteronomy  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  29:59
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This week we return to the Gospel according to Moses. Last week we had a look at Ezekiel chapters 36-39 and noted the nations that will not come up against Israel in the Gog Magog war. And these are the nations mentioned here in Deuteronomy chapter 2.1-23. This is important to the whole history that Moses is relating to the Israelites just across the River Jordan before the entrance into the Promised Land, the land that Moses is not allowed to cross over to enter. In verse 1 he covers 38 years of history in barely a breath by saying we skirted Mount Seir many days(!) which was the time that the Israelites were wandering around the desert.
And now he is coming to their most recent history and the land they had just passed through on their journey north, the first three nations they passed by are Israel’s relatives.
Because we are looking at two chapters today we will read them as we go - but not ever verse - so make sure you have a read when you get home. The next 2 or 3 weeks we will look at chapter 4, God willing, as it is jam-packed. But let’s see how far we get today.
2:1-23
What we see from this map is that God has granted land to these populations:
Deuteronomy 2:5 NKJV
Do not meddle with them, for I will not give you any of their land, no, not so much as one footstep, because I have given Mount Seir to Esau as a possession.
Deuteronomy 2:9 NKJV
Then the Lord said to me, ‘Do not harass Moab, nor contend with them in battle, for I will not give you any of their land as a possession, because I have given Ar to the descendants of Lot as a possession.’ ”
Deuteronomy 2:19 NKJV
And when you come near the people of Ammon, do not harass them or meddle with them, for I will not give you any of the land of the people of Ammon as a possession, because I have given it to the descendants of Lot as a possession.’ ”
Whilst we know that Moses wrote Deuteronomy but there has been an editorial hand giving us information in brackets to tell us what Moses is talking about. We also find in verse 12
Deuteronomy 2:12 NKJV
The Horites formerly dwelt in Seir, but the descendants of Esau dispossessed them and destroyed them from before them, and dwelt in their place, just as Israel did to the land of their possession which the Lord gave them.)
Note the quote ‘just as Israel did’ is past tense but at this point they had not even entered the land let alone conquered it.
The important thing for us to note is that God has been involved in Exoduses of peoples from the beginning. He brought the Philistines over in the 13th Century, the Arameans from Caphtor, and the Israelites out of Egypt. Interestingly the Caphtorim did not arrive until about 150 years later which is where the Philistines come from and when we arrive at the Books of Judges and one named Samson it is then we realise how important they were coming into the land already promised to the Israelites being a thorn in their side as a judgement from God. Which is why it is in brackets - added later to clarify what Moses was talking about. It is like us talking about the Ottoman Empire and most people don’t know who they were today let alone the fact they reigned for over 600 years so we clarify and say it was the Turkish Empire until 1922 which covered the Middle East, the Balkans and as far north as Ukraine and as far West as Algeria.
But let us be clear the God is sovereign over the nations as Pharaoh had been told in
Exodus 9:16 NKJV
But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.
Well, who were these people that God had given the land to on the way North? Edom is the name given to Esau who was Jacob’s brother. Jacob’s other name is Israel. And then you have the Moabites and the Ammonites who came about through Lot, the nephew of Abraham and his two daughters who got him drunk and had an incestuous affair getting both of them pregnant with Moab and Ammon. Not brothers but near relatives.
I read last week from Zephaniah that makes clear because of their mistreatment of Israel that they would be destroyed. However, there is a Moabite who is famous by the name of Ruth who is part of the genealogy of Jesus.
But hey! If God is looking after these three nations then surely He will care for you just as He had already cared for you for 40 years. He had carried them as a father carries his son. God has given you the land of Canaan, the other side of the River Jordan. God is faithful in keeping His word.
OT312 Book Study: Deuteronomy What Lessons Can We Learn?

God is involved in the affairs of all humans. It’s easy for us to think that we are the only ones who experience the good hand of God

OT312 Book Study: Deuteronomy What Lessons Can We Learn?

land is a gift delivered by God Himself

OT312 Book Study: Deuteronomy What Lessons Can We Learn?

no one can stop the plan of God.

2:24-3:22 Amorites and Canaanites
As we move on now we find that there is a different story for the next two nations for they are not relatives of Israel. The Amorites and the Canaanites. These are related to each other but not to Israel. Be careful now not to confuse similar names: Ammonites are relatives of Israel, Amorites are not. God has a different plan for these people.
So, here comes the next surprise for Israel...
Deuteronomy 2:24–25 NKJV
“ ‘Rise, take your journey, and cross over the River Arnon. Look, I have given into your hand Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his land. Begin to possess it, and engage him in battle. This day I will begin to put the dread and fear of you upon the nations under the whole heaven, who shall hear the report of you, and shall tremble and be in anguish because of you.’
OT312 Book Study: Deuteronomy The Lord’s First Order

He is wanting to give this people, this generation, an experience of His power and might that they would never forget.

Moses sends to say we’ll pass by just as we did with Edom, Moab and Ammon...

He’s telling the Amorite king, Sihon, “We don’t want your territory. Our territory is on the other side. Don’t worry about us.” “But Sihon the king of Heshbon would not let us pass by”—and now you have the explanation (verse 30)—“for the LORD your God hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, that he might give him into your hand, as he is this day.” Now, of course, this we remember. This is exactly what the Lord had done to Pharaoh; He had hardened his heart. In this instance too there is a revelatory purpose to the hardening of Sihon’s heart: that the world may know who Yahweh is and that Israel is His people.

God made the situation something the Israelites could not avoid…a time of conflict which they had not had for over 38 years. He made them trust Him.
They took the land and they left no one alive. We’ll have a closer look at this when we come to chapter 7 in a couple of weeks’ time.
OT312 Book Study: Deuteronomy The Lord Gives Victory

“From Aroer, which is on the edge of the Valley of the Arnon, from the city that is in the valley, as far as Gilead, there was not a city too high for us.” Of course, now we need to remember the complaint of the previous generations: “They have got cities with towers high into the heavens.” But “the LORD our God gave all into our hands”—notice where the credit goes; the Lord gives victory.

We can’t do it said ten of the spies but two, Joshua and Caleb, said they could with the help of God. And so it proved.
We now have an unhelpful chapter division here. Remember these were added 800 years ago for ease of use - but it is right in the middle of our story!
There’s no turning back - upwards and northwards they had to go and the second Amorite King was there to meet them, Og. They were to take this land too and nobody was going to stand in God’s way - they took his 60 cities and destroyed all the people. And this was a supersize king. Remember there were giants in the land that the original spies were afraid of. His bed was 15ft long - about 5 meters. He was truly a giant - bigger than Goliath by a long way, he was only 9ft tall. And the bed was made of iron, for this was the beginning of the Iron Age. And iron, in these days was more precious than gold. And they had it on display in their museum.
From verse 12 we find that this land is given to Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh after they had asked Moses for the land.
Deuteronomy 3:18 NKJV
“Then I commanded you at that time, saying: ‘The Lord your God has given you this land to possess. All you men of valor shall cross over armed before your brethren, the children of Israel.
It seems it had already been ordained by God to grant them the land anyway. Funny that, how nothing catches God out by surprise.
Here we also find that Joshua is commissioned, a kind of induction and ordination for it is he that is going to lead them all into the Promised Land across the Jordan:
Deuteronomy 3:21–22 NKJV
“And I commanded Joshua at that time, saying, ‘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 through which you pass. You must not fear them, for the Lord your God Himself fights for you.’
We have seen before that it is the Lord who raises people up and removes them, he gives land and can take it away. The people are in God’s hand. It seems also that God is in the choices that people make, at least here in this passage.
This chapter then ends with the prayer of Moses.
Deuteronomy 3:23–26 NKJV
“Then I pleaded with the Lord at that time, saying: ‘O Lord God, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your mighty hand, for what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do anything like Your works and Your mighty deeds? I pray, let me cross over and see the good land beyond the Jordan, those pleasant mountains, and Lebanon.’ “But the Lord was angry with me on your account, and would not listen to me. So the Lord said to me: ‘Enough of that! Speak no more to Me of this matter.
He begs to be allowed into the Promised Land. But God gives an emphatic ‘no!’ Don’t speak of this again with me. Moses then blames the people for not being able to go in - it’s your fault he says here and in chapter 1:37-8 and again in 4.:21.
Hang on a mo - but that’s not what God’s verdict is, is it?
In chapter 32 God says:
Deuteronomy 32:49–52 NKJV
“Go up this mountain of the Abarim, Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, across from Jericho; view the land of Canaan, which I give to the children of Israel as a possession; and die on the mountain which you ascend, and be gathered to your people, just as Aaron your brother died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people; because you trespassed against Me among the children of Israel at the waters of Meribah Kadesh, in the Wilderness of Zin, because you did not hallow Me in the midst of the children of Israel. Yet you shall see the land before you, though you shall not go there, into the land which I am giving to the children of Israel.”

God will not let Moses get away with passing the buck. If Moses doesn’t go into the land, it’s entirely his own fault. Moses sinned

But

Is it the people’s fault? And the answer is yes, in a sense, it is. If the Israelites had entered the land from Kadesh-barnea when they were supposed to, the event that proved Moses’ own undoing would never have happened.

Deuteronomy §4 Reminder of past Victories (Deut. 2:1–3:29)

in some sense Moses was bearing more of the suffering of his people than was his personal due. He was not himself an innocent victim. But he suffered “because of” the people’s sin—a sin that he had not directly shared, yet that had somehow induced his own failure. He entered into the suffering of his people and of the God of his people in a way that, like so much else in his life, foreshadowed that future servant of Yahweh who would indeed offer a blameless life for the sins of us all

How hard this decision was for Moses. But note how He prayed. He prayed with dignity and with respect to God for prayer is an act of worship and grounded in the fact that God is the great God. Despite his sin and the consequence God heard his prayer.
Prayer changes things,
it changes how God responds to us,
it changes us for God gets us to see things His way.
And let us note that Moses does not ask God again to be allowed to cross the R. Jordan.
Prayer is really important for it really makes a difference to us and to circumstances.
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