In Community Bible Study this year, we studied Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. I have to admit, when we started, I was not overly enthusiastic. Nevertheless, as we began studying, I saw multiple parallels in my life and the journey of Moses and the Israelites.
Because of those parallels, now that CBS is over, I decided I should probably continue into Deuteronomy. Might as well follow journey to its conclusion, right?
This morning, God showed me a verse I would previously have easily ignored and gave me not just one lesson, but TWO.
God is so faithful.
When you get close to the Ammonites,
don't show any hostility to them or provoke them,
for I will not give you any of the Ammonites land as a possession;
I have given it as a possess to the descendents of Lot.
This too used to be regarded as the land of the Rephaim.
The Rephaim lived there previously,
though the Ammonites called them Zamzummim,
a great and numerous people, tall as the Anakim.
The Lord destroyed the Rephaim at the advance of the Ammonites,
so that they drove them out and settled in their place.
First, let's talk about what's going on here. The Israelites have defied God and failed to trust in Him numerous times, but none with such dire consequences as turning back from the Promised Land because they were afraid of its inhabitants. That defiance was costly: all but two people from the entire generation would pass away before their children would take possession of the land.
God's promises would still be fulfilled, but they wouldn't see it.
Now, that faithless generation has died and, having already won a couple of the battles God would have them face, the next generation stands at the brink of the Promised Land...and God has Moses give them a little history lesson.
First. in verse 19, it's very clear that God told them precisely which fights to pick and which ones to avoid altogether. At the end of Numbers, He very specifically outlined the borders of the Promised Land for them, and this land was not included. This is someone else's promise.
Where in your life are you picking the wrong battles? Where are you ignoring the voice of God that says, "That's not your fight"? Where are you coveting someone else's promise?
When we fight the wrong battles, we lose very precious time and energy, and consequently, instead of facing our own battles healthy, we stagger into them already bloodied and torn. Instead of facing the fight with our armor secure, weakened hands grip our shields of faith and tattered threads hold up our belts of truth. The victory may still be won, but not without undue pain and sacrifice.
Second, in verses 20-21, God wants Moses to clearly illustrate to His people that He's done it before, and He'll do it again. There were giants in the land Lot's descendants inhabit, but "The Lord destroyed the Rephaim at the advance of the Ammonites." The Lord made a promise, and HE fulfilled it.
Lot's descendants had faith that God would fulfill His promise to them. They didn't look at the so-called giants they faced, but at the God who faced the giants with them. God wanted his people to see the stark contrast of faith verses fear. Lot's descendants walked in faith, while the Israelites' previous generation walked in fear, despite God's many miracles and blessings.
Where in your life are you looking at the giants before you instead of the God who faces the giants with you?
There is one thing that is sure, no matter the giants in front of you, now or in the future, our God is bigger than them all.
So be strong and courageous!
Do not be afraid
and do not panic before them.
For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you.
He will neither fail nor abandon you.