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Pastor Ovid Need
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DEUTERONOMY CHAPTER TWO
We have seen what brought on the wanderings, unbelief. In these wanderings, we see v. 16 take place. How sad to be so hardened against God and His Word that a child of God would have to die here. Oh, their shoes did not get old, and they had plenty to eat and were disease free as far as we know. But God had something so much better for them than going around in circles. We need to be continually on guard that we do not become content with just getting by in Christ. It is so easy to do. We should be continually reaching for more in Him, Phil. 3:13-15. Deut. 2:15 is a sad commentary for a group of people who saw the mighty hand of God move to redeem them. There is so much more to redemption than just getting by, I Pet. 1:18, 19.
The generation that sinned had died out. The people were now at the border of Moab ready to cross over to conquer the promised land. One thing in passing: This identifies a Bible generation as forty years.
1. Moses reminds them not to meddle with the children of Ammon. Why are they not to, v. 19?
We also should be reminded we have no business meddling with the world around us. We are not to covet what they have but be content with what our God has provided us with. This would be one of the many warnings against debt. Many times debt is the result of desiring the things which the world regards so highly. Someone has said that we are "bombarded" about two thousand times a day with efforts by the world to cause us to covet something so badly that we will go buy it. Along with that comes the extra inducements to do it. ("0.0% financing if you will only borrow from us to buy what we have made you feel like you can't live without." This is called covetousness by God. My, how gullible we are.) We are induced by very nice words to violate God's principles of life that brings His judgment on His people.
Vv. 20-23, here we see God, through Moses, again confirming that HE worked in a supernatural way to allow Ammon and Esau to possess the land which they were about to "comest nigh over against."
V. 21, says the people were "a people great, and many, and tall," in fact, giants. Yet God destroyed them before Ammon. Could Moses be saying here, "Look, folks, at what God did for Ammon and for Esau. If God would do that for those two people who have not the promises you have, then how much more assurance do you have that He will fulfill His word concerning Canaan?"
Might we draw a conclusion here: As we look around us, rather than coveting what God has given others, we should take it as an encouragement of what God can and will do for those who are trying, by His grace, to please Him in every area of their lives. Our responsibility is NOT to compare what we have with either Ammon or Esau, or what God may have done for them; our responsibility is to use our best for Him, II Cor. 10:31.
The great things He did for Ammon and Esau did not mean He loved Israel any less, nor does it today. He may do great things for others but that does not mean He loves us any less.
2. What had God done toward Israel regarding Sihon, v. 24?
a. What was Israel to do?
b. How were they to do it?
3. What did God do in the hearts of Israel's enemies, v. 25?
4. V. 26, we see that Moses offered Sihon peace. He probably did this because Sihon was next to Moab, so Moses expected to treat them the same. Sihon refused, and came out against Moses and God's people. Why, v. 30? (See also, Rom. 11:33-36.)
(See Rushdoony, "Institutes of Biblical Law," I.85, 86, for further study in this.)
a. Here again we have God holding man responsible for his rebellion. What was the result of Moab's actions, Deut. 23:3, 4?
b. Why can not we understand things like this, Isa. 55:8-11?
c. Keep in mind, we are NOT required to know or understand these secret things. What are we required to act on, Deut. 29:29?
d. God's people will not find their victory in knowing what to do but in what, Ex. 34:11?
5. V. 30. We might mention here that sin and rebellion against God and His Word causes hearts to be hardened. Sihon and his Amorites were part of the Canaanites who were marked for destruction. God promised the land of the Amorites to Abraham, yet He would not give it to him at the time. Why? Gen. 15:16 (See also, Rom. 2:1-5; James 1:22.)
Of interest here is Gen. 15: God destroyed the Canaanites, Sodom especially, not because Lot did not win enough people to the Lord. Sodom and the Canaanites were already slated for destruction when Lot went to live with them. God gave the Canaanites 400 years to repent and turn from their wicked ways, yet they refused, and only became more hardened in their sin. Lot lost all because he chose to dwell among those who were under the sentence of death. Did not Paul warn us against joining with the ungodly in II Cor. 6? If we join with the ungodly and share in their destruction, whose fault is it? Yet God did offer to spare Sodom for 10 righteous men. Where are the righteous men today who sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof, Ezek. 9:4. Far from sighing and crying over their wickedness, Lot condoned it with his silence, Ps. 50.
God may see fit to give the wicked a spirit of repentance, but we cannot unite with them in hopes that He will (there is no such thing as "missionary dating").
6. V. 32, we see the Lord starting to perform the promise of v. 24. V. 34 seems very harshas will the book of Joshuaas Israel moves into the land. But keep in mind, they had a 400 year long chance to turn from their wickedness, yet they continued to serve their pagan gods. What is the penalty for serving false gods, Lev. 20:1-5?
a. Who all were covered under this penalty in v. 2?
This is confirmed by Paul in Rom., chp. 1. The Canaanites knew God at one time. Abram (Abraham) received his call from God about 370 years after the flood at the age of 75. Abraham was born 58 years before Noah died. Shem lived 502 years after the flood, which put his death 150 years after the call of Abraham. Shem was thus still alive for well over 100 years after Gen. 15:16. In other words, the Canaanites had living proof, Shem, of the results of serving their pagan gods, yet they did it anyway. We can say, "O my, how cruel of God to kill them all," yet they knew better. They knew from NOAH the results of what they were doing.
Paul is very clear on this in Rom., chps. 1-3. EVERY soul who ever lived will be judged according to the truth (law) of God. (Ps. 119:142.) Here is where Christ enters in. First, He gives freedom from the eternal curse of the law, death. Second, He provides the grace to live in obedience to the truth (law) and not serve the pagan gods around us. His people thereby avoid the results brought about by godly service. His people avoid the results of serving the world, flesh and the devil, for they have been freed from that service through Christ. The judgment against the Canaanites was a just judgment. Follow the record through.
7. Why were the Canaanites removed from the land, Lev. 18:24-30?
a. What causes the land to be defiled?
b. What is the result of this defilement?
8. What were the conditions for Israel to remain in the land and prosper, Lev. 20:22-26; 25:18-22?
a. Can you recognize Lev. 20:26? Who uses this and where in the NT?
b. By these authors usage of this verse, who is this passage applied to?
c. How could this be if this group of people does not necessarily have a physical location as did the people of God in Lev., Rev. 3:16?
d. What happened when God's people no longer met these conditions?
Compare Lev. 18:28 and 20:22 with Rev. 3:16. The NT application by the Spirit of the OT "promise" cannot be missed. The NT people of God inherited the promises of the OT people of God.
e. Can you name two nations used by God to accomplish Lev. 18:28; 20:22?
V. 36, "The Lord our God delivered all unto us."
V. 37, we see that they were restricted by God's Word.
9. We see hereconfirmed in the NTthat the Lord our God judges righteous judgment according to His Word. Israel was given victory over the Canaanites because of their ungodliness and Israel's obedience. How much of the land did OT Israel possess that had been promised to their fathers, Joshua. 21:13-45; I Ki. 8:56?
Israel also LOST the land many generations later for exactly the same reason that the Canaanites lost it. In this, we see that being part of the people of God does not exempt one from the results of sin; being a child of God gives victory over a life of serving the vain things of this world.
Certainly, as we see the wickedness of the "Canaanites"the heathens around uswe can be certain that God will judge them according to His Word. This is just as sure as there is a Lord God in heaven. However, we also can rest assured that when His people refuse to glorify Him as God, there is a result, Gal. 6:7-8.
Finally, let us not forget the best part: Gal. 6:9, "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap if we faint not."
Thomas Watson (The Beatitudes, a reprint of his 1660 work by Banner of Truth Trust, Box 621, Carlisle, Pen. 17013, pg. 117) makes a very good point concerning Matt. 5:5. "A wicked man lives in the earth as one that lives in an infectious air. He infected by his mercies (which God has shown him, Rom. 2:1-6, might I add). The fat of the earth will but make him fry and blaze the more in hell. So that a wicked man may be said not to have what he has, because he has not the blessing; but the meek saint enjoys the earth as a pledge of God's love." Though the other man may have more material posessions than does the righteous man, that DOES NOT mean that God loves him more. The wicked man is only storing up more wrath for the future day of judgment which will come. Ps. 37 and 73, as well as Rom. 2. The few blessings of the righteous man are the result of God's love and covenant to him, whereas the blessings of the wicked man would be a fruit of his rebellion against God. With his riches is only more wrath from God if he lives apart from God, Prov. 16:8.
God was going to, and did, deliver the land according to His promise, but it was conditioned upon contending with the wicked. It was conditioned upon work and warfare, Prov. 28:4. Keeping the law of God will bring contention with the law breaker, ungodly, yet keeping the law of God is the ONLY WAY given to us to claim those areas for God. Keil makes a good point here (Fifth Book of Moses, pg. 295). "--The wish to pass through his land in a peaceable manner was quite seriously expressed; although Moses foresaw, in consequence of the divine communication, that he would reject his proposal, and meet Israel with hostilities." In this thought, let us point out that many Christians feel they can pass through this life in a peaceable manner. This is absolutely impossible. Heb. 11:25 clearly shows us there will be choices to make. See also Matt. 13:21; Mk. 4:17; Jn. 15:20; II Tim. 3:12. A person, particularly a pastor, who is not creating contention with those who ignore God's law IS NOT KEEPING THE LAW OF GOD HIMSELF, Prov. 28:4.