Introduction: Welcome to Expound our verse-by-verse study of God's Word. Our goal is to expand your knowledge of the truth of God by explaining the Word of God in a way that is interactive, enjoyable, and congregational.
Skip Heitzig: Deuteronomy, chapter 2 is before us along with chapter 3. I realize that's a statement of faith, [laughter] but I'm making it nonetheless. Deuteronomy, chapter 2 and chapter 3. Let me take you back forty-seven years to the year 1968. Anybody alive back then? Raise your hand. Okay, so you who were alive back then, do you remember the Olympics of that year? Probably not. Let me just refresh your memory of a particular event. It was the marathon event, the twenty-six-mile race for the Olympics held in Mexico City. Seven p.m. rolls around, all of the runners have come in over the line except one. Everyone knew who won the gold, except for one. Everyone knew who was the winner and second place of the silver, all but one. Everyone knew who was third with bronze.
Everyone in the arena knew, except one, and he was still running. He was the last one to cross the finish line. Seven o'clock, the sun was setting, all of the eyes turn toward the gate of the great arena to welcome the last and losing winner of the race. As he came through he bore the colors of his country Tanzania. His name was John Stephen Akhwari. And the reason he was last is he was hobbling. His leg was hurt. It was bandaged up. He had fallen and injured it badly, enough to quit the race, but he kept running and kept running and kept running. And long after everyone had finished, he came staggering and hobbling into that arena. And as he did, everyone in the arena stood to their feet and applauded as if he had gotten the gold. He finished. He made it, last, but he did it.
After he crossed the finish line, one of the reporters said, "Why did you keep going? Why didn't you stop? You're badly injured. You can't even run on that thing. You had to walk the last few paces." And then just to the very end---you can catch it on YouTube. And then he picks up his painful running again just to say I ran over the line. "Why did you do it?" His words were profound, I think. He said, "My country didn't send me five thousand miles to start a race, they sent me five thousand miles to finish a race." Moses is at the end of his race. He had won---or at least he has run a forty-year wilderness marathon. Oh, he's staggering. He's 120 years old. What do you expect? He's just at the edge of the finish line. Before him is the Promised Land. He won't even go in.
If we get to it---again, a statement of faith---we will see him begging the Lord just for another chance. He wanted to cross that line. And as he stands on the border of the land, faithful to God after all those years, running his race, hobbling, yes, staggering, yes, but there nonetheless, he recounts, he retells the second generation the story of the wilderness, the story of the exodus, the story of the major events for the last forty years. Why? Because they weren't around to remember it. They were little kids. The previous generation that started were all dead. So to retell the story, to make it fresh again to the next generation, Moses gives three courses of speeches to the people of Israel. He's a hundred and twenty. These are the last few weeks of his life.
It is midwinter, January, February, and they're at the Jordan River, below sea level, so it's not too cold there. It'd be quite pleasant even that time of the year. He tells the children of Israel, the second generation, what God has done. If you were to divide the book---and I gave this to you last time, but just to refresh your memory---the book falls into three categories. Chapters 1 through 3 is a review of the past. This is what God did in the past. Chapters 4 through 26 are regulations for the present. A review of the past, regulations for the present, and then chapters 27 through 31 are a readiness for the future. So, past, present, future; what God has done, what God is doing, and what God will do in days to come. Or, if you like, historical, legal (this is what God requires), and prophetical.
So in chapters 2 and 3, let me just warn you, because we're going to be reading lots of verses. You've read these stories before. If you are a part of our Wednesday night---the core group, I call you---you know these events. But I'm willing to wager that you have forgotten a lot of them even though we have spent a lot of time going through it. And so we're going to get a little bit of refreshment, but I got to warn you, it's sort of like watching an old slide show. You know, I remember when missionaries would come and they will show those old 35 mm slides, I'd just go, "Ay, it's going to be a long night." And as he goes through the travel log of "We did this, and then we turned there, and then we went north, and then we went south," it's history, but it's a refreshment to that group.
So in chapter 2, beginning in verse 1, "Then we turned and journeyed into the wilderness of the Way of the Red Sea, as the Lord spoke to me, we skirted Mount Seir for many days. And the Lord spoke to me, saying, 'You've skirted this mountain long enough' "---don't you love God's straightforwardness---" 'turn northward.' "I chuckle at this actually. It kind of just tells me God has a sense of humor. You know, they've been just marking time. They've just been going in circles. They have been wandering and they've been just sort of going around and around and around. And God says, "You know, um, aren't you tired of this, 'cause I am? You've skirted this mountain long enough."
It's like what we read in chapter 1 when they were at Mount Sinai, at Mount Horeb, and God said, "You've been at this mountain long enough. Get out of here." And he took them to Kadesh Barnea the entrance, you remember, into the Promised Land. But then God moved them from Kadesh Barnea the entrance to the Promised Land away from the Promised Land---now follow me here---away from the Promised Land toward the tip of the Red Sea. And let me just go like this, if I can. The Red Sea looks like this, looks like my forearm and my thumb and my finger. There's two branches of the Red Sea; one on the Egyptian side, one on the Arabian side. And in between that V is the Sinai Desert, the Sinai Peninsula which is now present-day Egypt. And then the long arm is the big, huge portion of the Red Sea.
So tucked right up in that little corner is where God tells them to go. From the gate of the Promised Land he moves them a little bit southward and eastward toward the Gulf of Aqaba. And then they go further than that to Mount Seir way out in the middle of the Jordanian desert until a day comes and he says now go northward back toward the Promised Land. And this is where they're going to enter it. And that's where they are now. They're now on the edge. He's just recounting the journey for them, where they have been. Do you ever feel like the Lord might be telling you, "You've gone around in circles long enough? You've played at this Christian thing long enough. It's time to get serious. It's time to enter the fullness of what I have for you and for your life. Quit playing church. Quit playing Christianity. Do it right. Be real. Get away from going around in circles and enter into the fullness of the promises"?
He tells them that in verse 4. "'And command the people, saying, "You are about to pass through the territory of your brethren, the descendants of Esau." '" Those are the Edomites. I'll explain in a moment. "'"Who live in Seir." '" That is the mountainous region that is east of the Dead Sea. I was there just a few months back. Mount Seir is this mountainous, desert region in that area. "'"And they will be afraid you. Therefore watch yourselves carefully. Do not meddle with them" ' "---don't mess with them. Don't get involved, just don't mess. " ' "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." '" Okay, Esau was the twin brother of Jacob. Esau was born first when those twins were born. Esau would have had the birthright.
So, we have Abraham, Isaac, and it would have been Esau, but it's Jacob. Because one day when Esau came in from the field, he was hungry. He had been hunting and he wanted his brother's special soup. It's interesting, because Esau was an outdoorsman, and his dad loved him for that. He was a hunter and, you know, he liked meat and he liked to hunt. You know, he had Field & Stream magazine at home. [laughter] And Jacob, on the other hand, was a homebody, a mama's boy. His mother loved him. And, boy, the guy was a great cook. And so when Esau came home from hunting one day he goes, "Hey, give me some of that awesome lintel soup that you make." And Jacob said, "I'd love to make you the meal of your choice, under one condition, I want your birthright," which is an odd request.
But he must have known that his brother didn't care about the birthright. And he didn't. He said, "What is that to me? I'm going to die anyway. What do I care?" So he sold him---made him swear and sold him his birthright; that is, the right of inheritance. That's Genesis, chapter 25. Two chapters later in Genesis 27 at the end of Isaac's life, he's an old man, he's going to confer the blessing, he thinks, on Esau. But his mom says, "Hey," to Jacob, "dress up with animal skin on your arms, because you're a, you know, kind of a bony, soft man. You really don't have much hair and your brother does. He's a man's man and your dad will know the difference. So, you know, just, you know, go in there and smell really bad [laughter] and put fuzz on your arm. And try to talk, you know, like your brother."
And his dad was old. So he said, "You know, I feel you,"---because he's---bad eyesight---"you feel like Esau, but you don't sound like him." "No, Dad, it really is Esau. It really is me." And he lied. He connived. He scammed his dad. And his dad gave the blessing of the firstborn, Esau's blessing, to Jacob. And then he fled. And you know the rest of the story, I presume. God promised to give the land of Israel to Abraham to Isaac and to Jacob and his descendants. And Jacob's descendants are the twelve tribes of Israel. However, God also promised to give land to Esau, and it's a big chunk of land. And here's what's interesting: God keeps his promises, even to people like Esau who don't care about spiritual things, who could care less about the covenant. God still made a promise for land.
And he tells his own covenant people, "Don't take their land. Don't try to gain more land. Don't try to take over what's not yours. I haven't given it to you, not even a foot, not even a square foot. Don't mess with them. Don't meddle with them." Now here's why this is important, because you as evangelical believers are accused by the world and by the liberal media and liberal believers that "All you care about is the nation of Israel. You support Israel. What about the Palestinians and what about the Arabs?" If you were to look at a map and see where the Arabs have settled, the descendants of Esau, and look at where descendants of Jacob were promised, the descendants of Jacob, Israel, were given not 1 percent in comparison, but one-sixth of 1 percent of the total land that the sons of Esau have been given.
But God gave Israel a portion of land called---we call it, the Bible calls it---the Promised Land. But I love that God says, "I'm giving you that land, but you don't get the other stuff too. You don't meddle. You don't mess. You don't try to take it over." " ' "Do not meddle with them, for I will not give you any of their land, not so much as a footstep, because I have [past tense] given Mount Seir to Esau as a possession. You shall buy food from them with money, and you may eat." '" Now let me just go back to a little principle. You may want to write, if you're taking notes---and it's good if you do, because otherwise you'll forget 98 percent of this. Acts chapter 17 verse 26 is a good correlation to what I just mentioned and when what we just read.
Because in that particular chapter, Acts 17, Paul stands on the Areopagus in Athens and he preaches to the Athenian philosophers, etcetera, and he makes an interesting statement. He says this: "For from one blood God has made all the nations of men that dwell upon the face of the earth and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their habitation." God determines where he puts people and where people live. And, you know why wars start and why wars keep going? It's because people want to mess with those boundaries, want to take over more, kick out the inhabitants and grab more. There's a war going on right now in the Middle East. There's a new nation---and I'm not saying a people group. I mean an actual nation with a government and land.
We call them ISIS. It is indeed a caliphate that has been set up and they occupy a lot of land right now and they're getting more. And they have a global desire to take over the world, to mess with the boundaries that have been determined by God. So he tells them, "'"You're going to buy food from [these long lost cousins of yours] with money, that you may eat; you shall also buy water from them with money, that you may drink." Now the fact that God says this tells me that the manna has ceased. In the wilderness God fed them with bread from heaven. He cuts that off now. It's over. It will show up periodically, sporadically, but for the most part it's done. Now he tells them, "It's time for you to grow up. It's time for you to participate and not just sit there like this." [laughter]
"I want a handout from heaven. Here I am doing my part. Drop something in there." That's what happens when you're a kid. When you're two and three you depend on your mom. And that's what little birdies do in the nest. They expect their mom to just drop a little worm in there. But then there comes a day when mom does this to the little birdie. [kicks gently] Foom-foom-foom-foom-foom-foom-foom. And then scoops it down just before it plops on the ground, teaching it to fly, teaching it also to fend for itself. You have to participate. Part of our growth is that God changes the way he provides for us and wants us to be actively involved. So, if you sit there and you go, "Meh, I'm just, like, broke." We will commiserate with you and we will feel sorry for you and we will love on you only up to a point.
But if you tell me that you aren't interested in going out to look for work, and participate in the process of God's provision, it's not going to do you any good. So he tells them now you're going to participate, you're going to buy both water and food. "'"For the Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hand. He knows your trudging through this great wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you; and you have lacked nothing." '" This is forty years of history in a nutshell from God's perspective. He's been with you. He knows how hard it's been for you. He knows the difficulties. He knows the discouragement. He also knows that you complained a lot. But Moses states with confidence, "God has provided everything you need, not a promise has failed. You have lacked nothing."
Now I'm sure that if you were to interview the families in the tents, and you would have asked, "Hey, did you guys lack anything?" I bet you'd come up with a few things they think they lacked, right? "Yeah, well, I was hoping for that big screen TV. That never came, you know, I mean, just out here in this tent. Got this radio." God always provides our needs, not our greeds, but our needs. And here this 120-year-old patriarch says, "You haven't lacked a thing." It's reminiscent to me of David in Psalm 23 who boldly says, "The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want [or lack]." God has done it. "And when we passed beyond our brethren, the descendants of Esau who dwell in Seir, away from the road of the plain, away from Elath and Ezion Geber, we turned and passed by the way of the Wilderness of Moab."
Do you see that little town called Elath? Today it's called Eilat. And it's got "Eilat" of stuff that's cool in it. [laughter] It's a resort town in Israel on the Red Sea. There's dolphin pools and luxury hotels. And it was the place originally where Solomon built a fleet of ships to send them around the Red Sea and go north to Tyre, and all the way to Tarshish and back to collect gold and supplies, and for the trade of Solomon to bring him supplies. Also King Jehoshaphat used this harbor. It's all in that upper tip on that Red Sea in the Gulf of Aqaba. "And we passed by the way of the Wilderness and Moab." Okay, now, you don't have to turn there, but let me just turn to what he's talking about. And I'm just going to read something to you, because you need to know the emotions.
Okay this is the young generation, but now let me take you back to the original setting of what happened when that happened. And I'm reading now out of Numbers, chapter 21. It says, "The Lord listened to the voice of Israel and delivered up the Canaanites, and they utterly destroyed them. And then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom." That's what we're reading about. "And the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way." The King James says, "They became discouraged because of the way." The Amplified Bible, I believe, says, "on account of the way." In other words, they got discouraged because it was a hard, hard, grueling way they were going. And it just gets old. Camping gets old. "I want to go camping." For forty years? [laughter]
I've done it for a week. I've done it for two. I once did it for three months around the United States and Canada. I was done. And you can just imagine the soul of the people becoming discouraged because of the way. I mean, how long can you look at desert and dirt and rocks through the opening of a tent every day? Imagine raising your kids in that environment. Imagine being young and dating in that environment. What are you going to do for a date? "We're going to go lizard hunting." [laughter] Okay, whatever rocks your world. But there's not a whole lot to do and they just got discouraged because of the way. That is what is happening as he recounts. "And the Lord said to me," back in Deuteronomy, chapter 2," 'Do not harass Moab, nor contend with them in battle.' "
This is all east of the Jordan River. " '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.' (The Emim had dwelt in times past, a people great and numerous and tall as the Anakim." Remember the Anakim are the giants? The Emim were also big folk. The Emim seems to be a Moabite term and it literally means "the terrible men." When I read that I thought, well, there's a lot of those guys still around, right? There's a lot of terrible men. I see a lot of ladies going, "Oh, yeah." "They were also regarded as giants, like the Anakim, but the Moabites called them the Emim. The Horites formerly dwelt in Seir, but the descendants of Esau dispossessed them and destroyed them from before the Lord and dwelt in their place, just as Israel did to the land of their possession which the Lord gave them.) '
"'And now rise, cross over the valley of Zered.' So we crossed over the Valley of Zered." So, click, new slide. "At the time we came to Kadesh Barnea until we crossed over the valley of Zered was thirty-eight years, until all that generation of men of war was consumed from the midst of the camp, just as the Lord has sworn to them." He says it in a sentence, right? "Then we did this, then we did that, oh, and that took thirty-eight years, and then . . . ." What?! Right? That's a long side in that projector. They wandered because they rebelled. And let me just once again remind you, the episode of them rebelling (Numbers 13, Numbers 14) is referred to throughout the Old Testament as "the rebellion." It is seared into the conscience of ancient Israel and even to the Jewish nation to this date.
"That is the episode where we were so bad, 'the rebellion,' because we complained and murmured." And, by the way, they just didn't like murmur out in public, it says they "murmured in their tents." You know, the kind of thing we do that we feel comfortable doing. The kind of things that husbands and wives feel comfortable doing. "Oh, I won't tell everybody. I won't complain to everybody, but, you know, this is pillow talk. I just complain to my husband. I complain to my wife." But it says they complained in their tents, but the Lord heard them, and that rebellion brought on wandering. They went from marching to meandering. They went from being a witness to being a group of whiners and they're punished for it. Thirty-eight years later, a total of forty years.
You know, we make our journey harder when we complain against God and disobey God. It could be so much easier. It could be less complicated. It could be more rewarding. That comes through obedience. That comes through faith, like, "Yes, God is sovereign." When you complain, what you are saying is, "At this moment, on this day, God isn't sovereign anymore. He's not in charge. Or, if he is, I don't like what he's dishing out, so I'm mad at him." That's really what you're saying. That's really the bottom line of what you are letting come forth from you. God heard it. They wandered. He's reminding them in a sentence, "Thirty-eight years later . . . ." "For indeed the hand of the Lord was against them, to destroy them from the midst of the camp, and they were consumed.
"So it was when all the men of war had finally perished from among the people that the Lord spoke to me, saying: 'This day you are to cross over at Ar, the boundary of Moab. And when you come near the people of Ammon,' " again, all east of the Jordan River, " 'Do not harass them or meddle with them, for I will not give you any of their land of the people of Ammon as a possession, because I have given it to the descendants of Lot as a possession.' (That was also regarded as a land of giants; giants formerly dwelt there. But the Ammonites"---now here's an Ammonite term for them---"Zamzummim." Weird name, Ammonite term for the previous inhabitants of the land.
By the way, if you're sort that like to chase this stuff down, all the way from the time of Abraham these large people, these giant folk, dwelt east of the Jordan River in Abraham's time and is mentioned in Genesis. Then they migrated south toward the land of Moab where we presently see them mentioned by the Moabite and Ammonite terms. ---"a people great," verse 21, "and numerous, as tall as the Anakim. But the Lord destroyed them before them, and they dispossessed them and dwelt in their place, just as he had done for the descendants of Esau who dwelt in Seir, when he destroyed the Horites." Horites were the previous inhabitants of that land before they were dispossessed, as mentioned by the Edomites.
"They dispossessed them and dwell in their place, even to this day. And the Avim, who dwelt in the villages as far as Gaza." So now we're going to the west toward the Mediterranean Sea, the Gaza Strip. "---and the Caphtorim, who came from Caphtor"---that's an ancient term for the present-day island of Crete in the Mediterranean---"destroyed them and dwelt in their place." 'Rise, take your journey, cross over the river Arnon. Look, I have given into your hands Sihon' "---that's the correct pronunciation. Reads to us like Sihon [sî-hon], but I prefer to say Sihon [see-khoné] because that's the pronunciation. ---" '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.'
"And I sent messengers from the Wilderness of Kedemoth to Sihon the king of Heshbon, with words of peace, saying, 'Let me pass through your land; and I will keep strictly to the road, and I will turn neither to the right nor to the left.' "Okay, let me just jog your memory. As they're meandering through the desert for almost forty years in total, thirty-eight years in particular from one place to the other, as they're going through that previously when Moses sent out the twelve spies and they came back, this is what they said: "We can't go in because the people are giants. They're humongous and we are"---listen to his words---"like grasshoppers in their sight and in our sight." You remember that statement, right?
But here God says---or Moses said, "God had promised to put the fear of you in the heart of the enemy. So here those ten spies, they did you a bad twist. They gave you a bad report, and you listened to them, because they said, 'We're like grasshoppers.' "That wasn't the truth. That's what they said, but it wasn't the truth. The truth was the people of Canaan were terrified of the children of Israel. Did you know that, terrified? Now the Israelites were terrified: "We can't do it. We can't do it. There's giants in the land. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!" "We're grasshopper in their sight and in ours." That's was not the truth. It's what they said, but it wasn't the truth. Now I want you to know what the truth was. Shortly after what we're reading, after Moses dies, Joshua goes into the Promised Land, crosses over that Jordan.
They're perched at the edge of it, crosses over, goes to the first town right in front of them named Jericho. Two spies, not twelve, two, 'cause all you need is two good ones, not ten bad ones and two good ones. Get rid of the ten. Two spies went in and they met up with a woman named Rahab who hid them. You remember the story. Listen to what she says in Joshua, chapter 2. "Now before they lay down, she came to them on the roof and said to them, 'I know that the Lord has given you the land and that the terror of you has fallen on us. And all the inhabitants of this land are fainthearted because of you.' "Do you see what has happened? God did what he said he would do. He put the fear of the children of Israel on the heart of enemies and they didn't even know it. They didn't need to know it.
God said he would do it. That's how they would know it, by faith. "If God said it, let's go." That's what Joshua and Caleb were saying. But the ten spies said, "We're grasshopper in our sight and their sight." That wasn't the case, for God had put the fear in their hearts, because of that, wasted time. Whenever you disbelieve the promises of God, you'll waste your time. So he continues the story. They go to Sihon the king and say we want to go through your place. And verse 28, " 'You shall sell me food for money, that I may eat, and give me water for money, that I may drink; only let me pass through on foot, just as the descendants of Esau who dwell in Seir and the Moabites who dwell in Ar did for me, until I cross the Jordan to the land which the Lord our God is giving us.'
"But Sihon the king of Heshbon would not let us pass through, for the Lord your God hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, that he might deliver him into your hand, as it is this day. And the Lord said to me, 'See, I have begun to give Sihon and his land over to you. Begin to possess it, that you may inherit his land.' And then Sihon and all the people came out against us to fight at Jahaz. And the Lord our God delivered him over to us; so we defeated him, his sons, and all his people. We took all of his cities at that time, we utterly destroyed the men, the women, the little ones of every city; we left nothing remaining. We took only the livestock as plunder for ourselves, with the spoil of the cities which we took.
"From Aroer, which is on the bank of the River Arnon, and from the city that is in the ravine, as far as Gilead, there was not one city too strong for us; the Lord our God delivered all to us. Only you did not go near the land of the people of Ammon---anywhere along the River Jabbok, or to the cities of the mountains, wherever the Lord our God had forbidden us." So the land of Sihon in this area called Heshbon was taken over by the children of Israel. This is a portion of land to the east of the Jordan River if you were to look at a map---the east of the Jordan River, present-day area of the country of Jordan. And it's sort of like poetic justice that it happened, because the Moabites had stolen it from the Ammonites years before.
And there was an ancient piece of poetry that immortalized the fact that Israel, another country, had dispossessed the land that dispossessed the first ones. And it became a piece of poetry. So I say it's poetic justice that this should happen. God was doing this and it became passed down through the annals and the history of the people. Okay, who are these people? Well, they worshiped a certain god, and as I say the name, some of you it'll ring a bell, for others of you it's new. But if you---if you're familiar with the Old Testament, you've heard of the word Chemosh, C-H-E-M-O-S-H. Chemosh was a god that was worshiped in this area. Chemosh was considered the god of war and the signs they looked to in the sky for their worship were the heavenly bodies we now know as planets, the planet Mars and the planet Saturn.
They worshiped those two heavenly bodies as they were stargazers and a crude form of astrology passed down to them. And they worshiped Chemosh the god of war and so God dispossessed them. What's important for you to know is though God dispossessed them, because he wanted to get rid of a very crude cruel and demonic worship system, one of the kings of Israel fell prey to the worship of Chemosh. Some of you may remember who that is. His name is Solomon. Solomon built a shrine to Chemosh called in First Kings 11 "the abomination of Moab." That's that chief god I told you about. Later on another king came along named Josiah---just keep all this in mind, because we're going to get to these books some year.
In Second Kings, I think around 21, Josiah broke down all the altars that were remaining from the kings, including Solomon that had built to this false god. So, chapter 2 is pau, as they say in Hawaii. Now we get into chapter 3, and it's a shorter chapter. Okay, so you have the Jordan River, right, running down from north to south? Up north you have a little body of water that connects the upper part of the Jordan with the southern part of the Jordan. That little upper body of water is called the Sea of Galilee. The Jordan then continues south from the Sea of Galilee and goes into another body of water known as the Dead Sea, 1,290 feet below sea level in the desert. Very, very hot, 120, 130, 135, 140 degrees in some times of the year.
There is a tributary, a river called the Jabbok way up north by Galilee, the Jabbok Brook or the Jabbok River that comes from the area of the Transjordan and empties its water into that Jordan River. Just north of that Jabbok area was an area known as Gilead, very fertile area. But here it's called Bashan in verse 1 of chapter 3, same area, a fertile, lush---if I were to take you there tomorrow morning, let's say, you would look out on lush green grasses growing. It's high country. It's beautiful. It's fertile. The Ammonite king of that area was a guy by the name of Og, O-G. He'll be mentioned here. So you've got Sihon---he's down, he's gone, he's out---and Og who's about to go. Those are weird names, but they're actually important names, because they get passed down throughout the history of Israel.
And sometimes you'll read Psalms where these two names are mentioned, because these sort of become like trophy kings and we're taken over to prove God's faithful promises. God said you'd take over the land, you took over the entire Transjordan area before you even entered the Promised Land. Okay, King Og heard the children of Israel are on the march north. In hearing that he assembles a very well-trained and numerous army, bigger than the army that could be supplied, at least in terms of training that the children of Israel could muster. And they met at a town, famous then, called Edrei. But the Lord was faithful and against all odds gave the children of Israel their territory. "So we turned, went up the road to Bashan; and Og the king of Bashan came out against us, he and all of his people, to battle at Edrei.
"And the Lord said to me, 'Do not fear him, for I have delivered 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 dwell at Heshbon.' So the Lord our God," verse 3, "also delivered into our hands Og the king of Bashan, with all of his people, we attacked him until he had no survivors remaining." This victory was against all odds. These were unsurmountable odds. Lo and behold, that's the history of the nation of Israel. They are surviving today against all odds. They're surrounded by 300 million enemies who want nothing more than their destruction and yet they survive. What are the insurmountable odds that you are facing? What is the big deal in your life that is pressing you?
Can you tonight, here, now, grab a hold of this lesson, this promise, and say, "If that could happen for them, then God could do so for me. I can take the land. I can grab a hold of what he has promised"? I love what Martin Luther used to say, and he lived it: "With one," he said, "With one God is a majority." All you need is God. God and you against everybody else. [applause] "We took all the cities," verse 4, "at that time; there was not a city which we did not take from them: sixty cities, all the region of Argob, the kingdom of Og in Bashan. All these cities were fortified with high walls, gates, bars, besides a great many rural towns. And we utterly destroyed them, as we did to Sihon the king of Heshbon, utterly destroying the men, the women, the children of every city. But all the livestock, the spoil of the cities we took as booty for ourselves."
Spoils would be a better term, especially given the modern connotation. "And at that time we took the land from the hand of the two kings of the Amorites who were on this side of the Jordan, from the River Arnon to Mount Hermon (the Sidonians call Hermon Sirion, the Amorites call it Senir), all the cities of the plain, all Gilead, all Bashan, as far as Salcah and Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan. For only Og of Bashan remained of the remnant of the giants." So he's going back to this theme of, you know, there was some big dudes back then. And, you know, those big dudes is what threw those ten spies. And God took care of the big dudes. And the Ammonites called the big dudes this name, and the Moabites called the big dudes by that name.
And they're related to those other big dudes, the Anakim, but God took care of them all. He's kind of going back to that theme---big, big, big. But watch this: "For only Og the king of Bashan remained of the remnant of the giants. Indeed his bedstead," his bedposts, his frame, "was an iron bedstead. (Is it not in Rabbah of the people of Ammon?)" In other words, at that time it was still, like, showcased in some kind of a display museum. "Nine cubits is its length and four cubits its width, according to the standard cubit." So you see, it was a king-size bed. [laughter] There's nothing new under the sun. So look at in this little clip, this thirteen-and-a-half-foot bed by six-foot. You want to know how big that king-size bed is? It can fit a Honda Civic in it. [laughter] That's what the king slept in, not the Honda Civic.
He couldn't drive that thing. [laughter] He couldn't fit in the backseat with his legs in the front seat. Now the standard cubit is 18 inches. Thirteen and a half feet is 162 inches. Today some of you have what is called a king-size bed. Now, as for me, I have what they call a California king, and that is simply that it's taller. It's for taller people. It's longer. So it is like 84 inches long. The California king is narrower, so it's not as wide, but it's longer. And it fits guys like me who are narrower and longer. [laughter] And yet from 84 inches to 162 inches, double king-size bed. I just---it tickles me. "And this land which we possessed at that time, from Aroer, which is by the river Arnon, and half the mountains of Gilead and its cities, I gave to the Reubenites and the Gadites.
"The rest of Gilead, all of Bashan, the kingdom of Og, I gave to half the tribe of Manasseh. (And all the region of Argob, with all Bashan, it was called the land of the giants." So now at this point, and we will finish out the chapter shortly, the children of Israel are in control of the entire Transjordan area before they even cross the Jordan. They are in control of the area to the east of the Sea of Galilee all the way down to the Dead Sea and just below it before the area of Seir. "Don't touch that; that belongs to the Edomites." But they're in control of the entire Transjordan, which should be an encouragement to them. "If God can do that, and we haven't even crossed over, imagine what he's going to do once we get into the land." So he explains to them that this land was to be given to two and a half tribes.
And if you remember the conversation, two and a half tribes saw the good land up there and they said, "We don't really want to cross over. We like it here." And so the Lord, through Moses, granted the allotment of the land east of the Jordan as well as west under one condition. Reuben, Gad, and half-tribe of Manasseh had to send its fighting men over to help settle the region west of the Jordan, fight all the battles, then they could go back with their families. That was the deal. And so they did. Verse 14, "And Jair [or Yair] the son of Manasseh took all the region of Argob, as far as the border of the Geshurites." I'm sure you always wanted to know that. That's a joke, by the way. Yeah, okay, good. And then the hard name, and hard name, and hard name.
Verse 15, "I gave Gilead to Machir. And to the Reubenites, the Gadites, from Gilead as far as the River Arnon, in the middle of the river as the border, as far as the River Jabbok, the border of the people of Ammon; the plain also, with the Jordan as the border, from Chinnereth," that's Galilee, Kinneret. It's still called Lake Kinneret in Israel today, but it's the Sea of Galilee. ---"as far as the east side of the Sea of Arabah," that's "the Salt Sea" or the Dead Sea, the one down south. So from the Galilee to the Dead Sea, those two bodies of water that I mentioned. ---"below the slopes of Pisgah." Pisgah is---we were just there, again, a few months ago---is the mountain in Jordan with the view of the Holy Land, of the Promised Land, of the land of Israel. Commanding view. Beautiful view.
"Then I commanded you," verse 18, "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. But your wives, your little ones, your livestock (I know that you have much livestock),' " that's why they wanted that fertile land, by the way, " 'shall stay in your cities which I have given you, until the Lord has given rest to your brethren as to you, they shall also possess the land which the Lord your God is giving them beyond the Jordan. Then each of you may return to his possession which I have given you.' 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.' "
This would be quite an encouragement to Joshua. He and Caleb are the only two (besides Moses), survivors of the long forty-year march. Joshua and Caleb, of course, were the two spies that gave the good report of faith, saying, "Let's go in and take the land." Joshua would take over for Moses. He would be the general of the armed services, the IDF. And when we get to Joshua, chapter 1, the Lord will say, "Joshua, be strong and of good courage for the Lord has given you this land." It's interesting, I have been in Israel at the swearing-in service of several people who are in the army of Israel. And officers who at the end of their long march up a mountain, like a twenty-five-mile hike in one day, and they shower up and they get in their royal uniforms and their family is gathered around. It's a torchlight ceremony.
And as the soldiers come forward they put a gun in one hand to defend the land that God has given them and a Bible in the other hand, an Old Testament. And they read to them Joshua, chapter 1, especially, "Be strong and of good courage." It's very moving. And here is Joshua being encouraged by these words. That by what God has done, he will do. "You must not fear them," verse 22, "for the Lord your God Himself will fight for you." I love that song that we sing, "Our God Will Fight for Us," our worship team has written and sings. It's right out of Scripture. You're in a battle? That's life, but listen, you are not fighting for victory, you are fighting from victory. The victory is already yours. Oh, you're engaged in the battle, but it's done. It's over. It's won. You're just going through the paces.
Our God will fight for us. "'The Lord your God Himself fights for you.' 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.' "On a clear day from mount Pisgah you can see all throughout the land, all the way up to mount Megiddo, the Valley of Armageddon, all the way to the left, see the hills of Jerusalem. And if it's a very clear day, you can see all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. Moses saw it, but God said you can't enter it.
Now he's moved from Mount Pisgah down into the plains right by the Jordan River, and Jericho staring him right in the face. He's right at the finish line. He's hobbled all the way up in that long forty-year marathon at the finish line, and he brings it up again: "Hey, God, I know what you said, but could I just go into the Promised Land?" I understand. "But the Lord was angry with me on your account," pushing the blame on them, "and would not listen to me. So the Lord said to me: 'Enough of that! Speak no more to me of this matter. Go up to the top of Pisgah, and lift up your eyes toward the west, the north, the south, and the east; behold it with your eyes, for you shall not cross over this Jordan. But command Joshua, and encourage him and strengthen him; for he shall go over before this people.' "
There's always a time for the new generation to take it. There's always a time for the old generation to quit looking to themselves and to want to pass it on. I love the involvement of younger generations. I want them involved in the church. I want them to take over ministries and have vision for ministries. It's the future. I don't want to hold onto it. Christianity began as a youth movement. You think the disciples look like the holy cards and paintings you've seen, gray hair like wise old men? Are you kidding? They were young bucks, a lot of energy. It's always been that way. "'Command Joshua, encourage him, strengthen him; he will go over before this people, he shall cause them to inherit the land which you will see.' And so we stayed in the valley opposite Beth Peor."
The incident that Moses refers to is Numbers, chapter 20. He's telling the new generation about what happened in Numbers 20. Moses struck the rock. "Must we smite this rock, bring forth water?" And the Lord said, "Moses, that wasn't a great display today out there with the people, beating that rock with your little stick. [laughter] And because"---here's his words---"because you didn't hallow me before their eyes, you're not going to go in the land." So there's a few things Moses did. Number one, he just disobeyed God. God said speak to the rock. Speak to the rock that means you walk up to the rock and you go like this: "Hey, rock, [laughter] we want to see some water." Right? And that's talking to a rock. Sounds weird, but God said go up and talk to that rock.
So he walks up to the rock and he's overcome by emotion. Starts beating it. He's angry. So he disobeyed God. Bam! Bam! Bam! It's interesting that your emotions can get the best of you and trump submission. And whenever emotion trumps submission, there's a degeneration. Emotion is good, but emotion out of control can ruin it for you, whether it's anger---there's a time for anger. "Be angry, and sin not," Ephesians tells us. But if you let it get out of control, it's sinful anger. That emotion can trump or override your submission to God, because you're angry, you're emotional. Any emotion, for that matter. I love to have fun, but you can take it too far. Fun to---it's great to laugh, but you can take it too far. Even love can be taken too far as an emotion. Did you know that?
The Bible says, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in this world." So number one, he was disobedient. Number two, he misrepresented God. He was a leader. He was representing God to the people. And that is---that was not God's disposition toward them, this---smack, smack, smack---this angry, little bearded man beating a stick is how these people would remember on that day God's representative. Number three, here's the third thing that made it all bad for him: Moses by his words elevated himself way too high. Because he didn't say, "Shall God bring forth water from this rock?" he said, "Shall we---shall we bring forth water?" "'We'? Uh, Moses, just checking, when was the last time you ever brought forth water? Where's the 'we'? You never did anything."
But now he's elevating himself and he's taking some of the credit for it. "Must we? You know, it's me and God." So, he wasn't allowed to go into the land. However, his prayer was answered. God snuck him in, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, the transfiguration up on the mountain. Jesus is transfigured into a glorious appearance with Moses and Elijah on Mount Hermon, Hermon, mentioned here in the text. So his prayer was answered, just took a while. But God is always faithful. And he's faithful to have given us two chapters instead of one. Let's pray.
Father, thank you for this time tonight. Thank you for your faithfulness to us. And even though it's like a slide show, "We turned here, and we went there," it was so important for that young generation to hear what their forbearers had gone through, so that they would remember and never forget your faithfulness to a previous generation, give them courage in their future. As the Lord had done, the Lord will do. And for those of us so many thousands of generations removed in a modern era on another side of the globe, we also take encouragement, as you have done, so you can do.
Do it, Lord, in our lives whatever those unsurmountable odds are. In this last song we place them on the altar. We commit them to you. Whatever giants are in the land, however we view ourselves as small, I pray that we wouldn't see those giant---those unsurmountable things as giant terrors, but as giant targets for you to destroy, in Jesus' name, amen.
Closing: If you've missed any of our Expound studies, all of our services and resources are available at expoundabq.org.