By Michael Luce, pastor Amite Baptist Church
Even in Disobedience God is Good
Moses recalls God’s dealings with Israel and the ways that He showed His love and care for His people. Just because God banned the exodus generation from entering the Promised Land does not mean He wasn’t gracious to their needs. Israel lacked nothing during its travels in the desert. The emphasis in chapter 2 is on God’s unfailing, even miraculous, provision for Israel on their journey.
The people were not to take even a sip of water from the Edomites without paying for it. And under no conditions were they to provoke the people into a fight. They were His people, and He was responsible for their care. They did not need to look elsewhere or try to make it on their own. God’s provision did not mean the Israelites never became hungry or thirsty, but God was there to supply what was needed.
God is Faithful to His Word
The psalmist said God’s Word is “eternal,” and that it “stands firm in the heavens” (Psalm 119:89). When we take God at His Word and obey Him, blessing follows. And He is also faithful to execute the warnings and judgments contained in His Word. We rejoice when obedience brings blessing, but too many times we expect God to overlook our bad decisions. The death of the exodus generation in the desert outside of Canaan reminds us that there are consequences when we disobey. God was completely faithful to His word. The painful reminder that an entire generation had died needlessly is a powerful object lesson for all of us.
The nature of pride is to push God away and say, ‘I can do it myself.’ But there is much grace in store for those who come before God with humility. It’s true that Israel’s disobedience and lack of faith are a part of the story. But when we step back to look at the big picture, the nation’s forty-year trek through the desert is a testimonial to God’s patience and overruling love. Even Israel’s failures become the backdrop for God’s grace in sustaining the people He chooses as His own.
The Enemy Still Comes
Moses’ retelling of Sihon’s defeat includes some details we didn’t see in Numbers. He reveals that God had put the ‘terror and fear’ of Israel upon every nation His people would have to face. Sihon’s refusal is also seen against a new background. He had set himself against God, so God saw to it that the consequences of the king’s stubbornness were played out completely. Israel won the battle because God delivered Sihon into their hands.
Being obedient to God doesn’t mean that our enemy will simply disappear. On the contrary, the enemy makes sure to get in our way when we are determined to follow God. Opposition may be a signal for you to keep moving forward. God promises His wisdom to those who will ask Him in faith, with a believing heart (James 1:5-6). Bring your battle to the Lord, and seek His direction