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Pastor Ovid Need
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DEUTERONOMY CHAPTER TWO
Moses is here at the end of the forty years wandering preparing the children of Israel for the promised land, as well as for his departure. He is rehearsing Israel's history. He has reminded them of their deliverance from Egypt by the mighty hand of God, their receiving the law at Horeb, their establishment of civil rulers, their fear to enter into the promises of God and of their rebellion, presumption against God.
Notice 1:8; 20-21, 29-33. At least three times they had been promised the land by the Lord God Himself, yet they refused to go in because the promise seemed beyond the Lord's ability to perform. How like man: If God's promises when compaired with surrounding circumstances seem unobtainable, than he is inclined to belive God cannot do it.
Chapter one ends with their abiding at Kadesh many days, just across from the promises of God. As we have seen, this OT action by these people is given its proper application Hebrews chapters 2-4. This indicates that it is not possible to completely understand entering into God's promised rest promised in Christ without this illustration. Hebrews 4 shows us that the physical land of Canaan was not the fulfillment of the promised rest; it only illustrated the rest to come in Christ.
Chapter 2, notice the change in language. Chapter one has been "ye returned" ... "Ye abode", etc. Moses had been exhorting and warning the people from their past history of stubbornness and its results. Now he narrates what happened as they resumed their journeying for the many following years. He told why they had to wait another forty years untill their present time. Now he is going to tell what happened during the forty years, and it does not take him very long.
V. 1, they wandered many days in the wilderness around Mt. Seir before they turned North and went again to the boundary of Canaan. This "many days" was 38 years. Mt. Seir belonged to the children of Esau, and had been given to him by God himself. God placed his fear of Israel in their hearts; he can do the same for our enemies today if we will only obey and trust Him. Israel was told not to meddle with the people of Mt. Seir. Israel was not to "excite himself against them." It already belonged to someone, and Israel was not to desire what they had. In fact, notice v. 6; they were to buy whatever they needed from Esau.
V. 4, "Take ye good heed unto yourselves therefore..." Mt. Seir, which they had to compass many days, was not their's. God had blessed the inhabitant of Mt. Seir. Israel was in trouble with God because of unbelief, and Israel was being dealt with for unbelief. No doubt, their inclination was to look at the inhabitants of Mt. Seir and say, "Look how much they have; I wish I had that." The inhabitants of Mt. Seir were afraid of Israel, so it would have been very easy for Israel to take what they wanted. God warned them not to, although the inhabitants seem to have taken precautions against Israel, Num. 20:18-20.
Notice another thing in v. 9. Ar was also forbidden to them. God's people were not to even desire what belonged to the Moabites. God had given it to Lot.
1. Implication: What what were God's people in danger of doing here while they were wandering in the wilderness, Ps. 73:3 (See also, Ps. 37)?
a. Therefore, one of the marks of God's people being in the "wilderness", or not where they should be in Christ, would be what, Phil 4:11; I Tim. 6:6-8; Heb. 13:5?
b. What is this called, Lk. 12:15; Col. 3:5; I Thess. 2:5; Heb. 13:15?
Apparently, God's people use a lot of hostility (Deut. 2:9, Distress...: or, Use no hostility against Moab) and do a lot of contending for things they no business going after, primarly because we are not where we ought to be with the Lord.
Probably a major cause of false doctrine, no doubt, is preaching and teaching whatever message that draws the greatest crowd, the biggest response or the largest offering, e.g., "Send me that 'seed money," 2 Pet. 2:1-3. Even God's people will "flock" to a message that requires NO responsibility toward God's law. People desire a message that makes them feel better about themselves, Isa. 30:9, 10.
Many times, God's people today miss the promises of God because of unbelief. Then, as they "wander around" in the wilderness, they look with envy upon what others have. Israel could have had something so much better than Mt. Seir if they would only have obeyed God by faith.
Let us identify faith as used this study. I know what Heb. 11:1 says, but let us make it just a little more practical.
No doubt God has His Word (1611 KJV for the English speaking people today) laid out just as he wants it in the order he wants it in. Hebrews is a great faith book, and Heb. 11:1 gives the definition of faith, with 11:2-40 explaining it or illustrating faith. Then, in case we miss the meaning of the word faith as God means it, we have the book of James with his statement, "faith without works is dead," 1:20. James is a book of DOING, 1:22.
2. Therefore faith, is ALWAYS identified by God with:
Faith is NEVER identified with emotion.
This brings us to a conclusion of the word "faith." Faith is knowing what God desires for us to do in ANY given situation, and then doing it regardless of our feelings concerning the situation.
Notice that right after the famous verse about faith, Heb. 11:1, comes 11:3, "Through faith we understand---." Faith, then, works apart from the human understanding. Many will say, "If I can understand this, then I will do it." That attitude is humanism. Faith knows what God wants from us, and then does it regardless of whether we can understand it or not, or feel like it or not.
Israel knew what God wanted them to do, yet God's will went against their human understanding, so they exercised "unfaith" or unbelief. They refused to do what God required of them because of their fear of the results. When we refuse to do what God's word requires because of the fear of the results, it is also "unfaith," or unbelief. The results will always be the same as it was for Israel: missing the promises of God, and wandering around until we RETURN to that place where we can step out by faith in his word (Heb. 3:7-19).
This bring us to another point. They wandered around until they came back, until the unbelief was removed, and they could return to claim God's promises. V. 14, the "brook Zered" was the boundary between Edom and Moab. It was the limit of Israel's wanderings until the unbelief died out.
3. What will unbelief on the part of God's people result in, v. 15a; Heb. 3:7-19; and chp. 4?
For us -- unbelief on our part will prevent our entering into the promised rest, the promised blessings we have in Christ. Until that unbelief is dealt with, we will be unable to enter into what is there for us. We may fail the test of God at Kadesh-barnea, but there is a "brook Zered" ahead. There is another chance if we will only deal with the "unfaith," the unbelief which prevents our stepping out on His Word by faith.
We must deal with the "If I can understand it, figure it out, then I will obey" attitude, and replace it with "I'll do it because God says to do it. Even if I perish, I'm going to leave the results up to Him." Then we also can inherit the rest promised to God's people in Hebrews. (See Esther 4:16.)
As we have mentioned, probably the best example here is tithing although it goes into EVERY area of life: education, civil government, family, personal relationships, finances, occupation, music, art, whatever area of life we can name. We tithe not because we can reason out how it will work, but in obedience to God's word (Mal. 3:10). Then we leave the results up to God as He works it out.
4. Before we leave this passage, let us look at another point. We can find comfort in Deut. 2:7, which fits very well with Ps. 103. What had God done for them even during this time of wandering because of unbelief, Num. 32:1 & Deut. 2:7?
a. What did He know about them?
b. What did they lack during this time?
c. The word of God says very little about this period of time, yet there is one thing we do know. What does God clearly say he did?
5. Even though he did the above for his people, we need to keep in mind what they did. Through unbelief, they traded the promises of the land of for the wanderings in the .
How many of God's people are wandering in the wilderness because of unbelief? Oh, they have their basic needs met, and they have the same provision that v. 7 provided for Israel, and then they become content in the wilderness. But look at what they missed. There is so much more in Christ than just getting by. There is so much more in Christ than a physical prosperity or even salvation. Of course, it all starts with salvation.
Our Lord addressed this in John 10:10 (see note below). Yes he came with life for his people (all of Jn. 10; Isa. 53). He came to call them out of Egypt, but He also had abundant life for them that can only be entered into by faith in his word.
Far too often, his people settle for "life." It is good enough to prosper by and have the things they desire, but as for crossing over into the abundant life, by faith, that is a different matter all together. It takes faith to leave behind the things of this world that appeal so strongly to the flesh. The flesh will convince us how much we will lose if we step out by faith, but the Spirit tells us that God's promises are so much better than what is in the wilderness. There is no comparison between living by faith and living by sight.
Which side do we dwell in? There is a Kadesh-barnea for EVERY new child of God. Something he does not understand or even have a "good feeling" about, yet it is clear from God's Word that it is required of him. If that child refuses to step out on God's promises, then there is a wilderness. Yet, we don't have to stay there and be controlled by the flesh as talked about in Romans, esp. chp. 6. There is a "brook Zered" ahead for every older Christian. We can cross this brook by the same faith which was required at Kadesh.
6. Notice another thing of great importance. If God's people have the care of God as given in v. 7, does this mean they are where God desires they should be?
We can get so hardened in the "wilderness" that we think we are in "Canaan" because we do have v. 7 (Eph. 4:17-27; Phil. chp. 3, esp. vv. 13-16).
"Lord, show us which side we are on, then give the grace to do what is needed that we might dwell in the fullness of Christ."
Hengstenberg says this about Jn. 10:10 (Jn. I.514-515). "The thief is the Pharisee. Stealing, killing, destroying, are equivalent to fundamental destruction and ruin in spiritual and bodily respect: Matt. 23:14 shows that the latter is not to be excluded. Under the dominion of Pharisaism, the people of God were in every sense ----, Matt. 9:36. The original passages are Jer. 23:2; Ezek. 34:2, 3. When Jesus pledges to His sheep abundance, He exhibits Himself as the good shepherd of Ps. 23, whose flock can say, "I want nothing," v. 1; "My cup runneth over," v. 3."
"I want nothing" is very dependent upon being content with where God has us and with what he has provided us with as we do our best to serve and labor for him. I'm afraid we are living in an exceedingly covetous time when even preachers ridicule other preachers for not having as much as they do. Therefore, the abundant life of faith would be rooted in: 1) Doing our best for God according to his every law-word; 2) leaving the results up to him; 3) being content with what he provides, as well as where he has us, Gal. 5:26; Phil. 4:11-12; Heb. 13:5.
We all know folks who violate the principles of God's word. Things fall apart (of course), and then they suddenly feel called to another area. Such action is fleeing from the results of sin.
It is a sign of the last days to be discontent with what God provides as we serve him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, 1 Tim. 6:1-11; 3 Tim. 3:1-7.
Covetousness, "Lit., a desire to have more, always used in a bad sense, --- Eph. 5:3. (Vine's, 245.
A desire to build a big church in order to have more fits here. Any desire to do anything MUST be for God's glory, 1 Cor. 10:31.