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NOTE: Time requires I leave in the minor errors, e.g., abbreviations in text, wrong abbreviations, mixed tenses in a sentence (though I have tried to catch all of them), caps, etc. As time progresses, we will correct the lessons. There are also some comments at the end of this chapter.
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DEUTERONOMY CHAPTER THREE
Moses continues recounting their history of how and why they are at this point in time. He is warning the children of the generation that rebelled 40 years ago. He recounts how he had warned them not to meddle with certain peoples and why they were not to. He also reminded them of the tremendous victory the Lord gave over Sihon.
In chp. 3, he continues to recount their past victories. They turned and took a new route.
1. Where did they go, v. 1; Num. 21:33-35?
This is a well-known name, found mentioned in Ps. 22:12. Moreover, the hills of God are compared to this place, Ps. 68:15. It is always used as a symbol of strength.
a. Who was this king, v. 11?
b. What did he do, v.1?
Note here that there can be no victory against the enemy unless there is warfare. God is the one who brought the enemy out, so His people could claim the victory through this warfare.
c. What did God do, v. 3?
d. How many cities were involved, v. 4?
e. What kind of cities were involved, v.5?
3:6 -- Rushdoony points out that warfare is not child's play. It is ugly and nasty to say the least (Institutes, pg. 279). We have seen that these Canaanites were under God's sentence of death. They were more spiritually and morally debased than any other nation. We can find among them every kind of perversion that can be imagined, and these done in the name of religion. As we follow through, we will find God commands all of them to be destroyed, Deut. 2:34; 3:6; 20:16-18; Josh. 11:14. There were two reasons for this. One was because they were under God's death sentence and the other was to avoid contamination of His people, Israel.
2. As Israel carries out God's command and removes the wicked in obedience to Him, we will find that Israel is commanded to kill the men. Sometimes the married women were killed as well, but many times the young virgins were spared, Num. 31:7, 17, 18. Why do you suppose the men had to be killed every time? If you will tink for a few moments, you will find several reasons.
We might mention that when Israel took male captives for servitude they ended up in trouble.
Israel, at times, moved against other foreign countries that were not as depraved as the Canaanites, and then any women taken prisoner could be married by the men of Israel, but they could not be treated as slaves or prisoners, Deut. 21:10-14. This shows us that there was a definite distinction between the perversities of the Canaanites and the other heathen nations around them. Keep in mind that Sodom and Gomorrah were Canaanite cities, and were probably typical of what was going on in Canaan by the time Israel came in.
Thus we see that there is godly warfare in which God's people can be involved. When it involves protecting freedom to serve and obey God, then the cause is just. If the war is only to establish more control over people contrary to God's Word, then it is no longer a godly cause (Institutes, pg. 279-280).
3. Gen. 9:18-29. It is very significant that Canaan is mentioned five times there, more than any other of the boys, and he is the only grandchild mentioned. This indicates that while Noah was drunk, Canaan, "his younger son" (grandsons are called sons many times in scriptures), had a Sodomite relationship with him. Who is the curse placed upon, v. 25?
a. What nation did Ham (Mizram) found, 10:6? _________________________________________
Therefore, to say that the black race (Ham) of today is a result of this curse is to completely change this passage of Gen. 9:25, 26.
Vv. 1-11, we see that the enemy was huge, his territory was large, very well fortified and defended, yet it fell with ease to the people of God moving in obedience to Him.
Then, in vv. 12-17, we see the Lord dividing up the land among His people.
4. Our problem is not that our God cannot deliver. Our problem is usually what, Deut. 3:2?
We have many kings of Bashan in our lives, who we will come across many times. They will be large and well fortified. To the natural eye, they will be impossible to conquer. If we look at them from our view, they will tower over us. If we will look at them from the Lord's view point from heavenly places (Mount Zion), we will see their insignificance in the light of His Word, Eph. 1:20-26.
a. Our hope and victory in this life can only lie in one place, and where is that, 3:3?
Though Bashan is used throughout scriptures as a picture of strength, it is never shown to be stronger than our God. Bashan, in all of its strength, will fall before our God if we will only move in obedience to Him. This only one of multitudes of illustrations showing that God's people can do all things as they move in obedience to Him, Phil. 4:13.
5. God's people here, as elsewhere, end up possessing the strongholds of the enemy. How was this done?
a. Do we have the same God today, Ja. 1:17; Mal. 3:6? _______________________________
b. I'm afraid many times that we fall to the same thing Israel fell to in Deut. 1:28, 29. Our fall prevents us from claiming the territory which is inhabited by "Bashan," yet belongs to God's people. Maybe we have been convinced that a particular area of life (e.g., civil government, welfare, sports) does not belong to God, but does it, Ps. 24:1; 50:12; 89:11; Isa. 44:24?
c. Maybe we have been convinced that we are incapable of taking that area for God, but are we, Matt. 6:33?
d. If we try to do Matt. 6:33, then we can rest assured that all of the forces of hell will be against us. Bashan will seem bigger than ever. His walls will be higher, his people more numerous and their weapons more threatening, yet we can be assured of what, Matt. 16:18?
e. How do we attack Bashan and expect it to fall before us? Matt. 16:19 fits here. Checking Isa. 30;15-26, we find the way of victory over the forces of Bashan given right in the middle. What is it, v. 21?
This is why we have such a difficult time doing the above. If our enemy can prevent our doing this, he knows Bashan will remain well fortified and invincible.
God help us to take that "Bashan" which each one of us face and claim it for our God.
Let's make a comment on Bashan. Plumer (PSALMS, a reprint of his 1867 work by Banner of Truth Trust, Box 652, Carlisle, PA. 17013) makes this comment concerning Bashan in Ps. 22:12 (pg. 296). "Morison: "the bull is a fit image of strength, fierceness, pride and cruelty; and the bulls of Bashan, as inhabiting a rich and fertile country on the opposite side of Jordan, would be the appropriate emblem of these qualities in their highest degree. Bashan was a rich mountainous district, the very place to breed the wild ox to perfection, Deut. 32:14." Then on Ps. 68:15 (pg. 664) he continues on. "The mountain of Bashan was renounced for its size, beauty and fertility; but Mount ZION was its equal, not in these respects, but in being the chosen spot where Jehovah revealed himself in so glorious a manner. By a figure well understood more is meant than is expressed as in I Pet. 4:3. The meaning is, Mount Zion is far better than Bashan. In Isa. 2:2, it is said the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills."
I believe we will find the consistent thought throughout scriptures is that Bashan represents the very peak of worldly strength, wisdom, might, as well as prosperity and oppression. We see here that it was strong, very well fortified and had the giants of the world fighting for it. The BEST thing that we see about Bashan with all of its strength and prosperity is that it cannot stand against the people of God who move in obedience to their God. This is I Cor. 1:27-2:5 acted out. Mount Bashan can seek to trample under foot the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Ps. 22) and tear Him apart, but they will go down to the dust before him, 22:29. They can roar and rave all they want, yet Ps. 2 is still there. The Lion will devour any and all who resist Him. History has proved it in the past and will continue to show that mighty bulls do not stand a chance before this LION.