Learn from the Past, but Live in the Present

The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), March 12 

Israel’s forty years in the wilderness finally come to a conclusion. Moses gives Israel a final “pep” talk (Deut. 1-8).

First, he reviews how Israel has responded to God’s leadership in the past:Unknown

  • Instead of going up against the Amorites, the Israelites request that a spy delegation be sent to determine which route to take and to report back.
  • After assessing the goodness of the land, ten of the spies report back, and Israel refuses to enter Canaan, in spite of Moses’ encouragement.
  • Ignoring Moses’ warning, Israel attempts to go up against the Amorites and is defeated.
  • Israel wanders from camp to camp and avoids conflict with the Moabites and Ammonites.
  • An entire generation of adults die during the succeeding forty years, except for Joshua and Caleb.

Secondly, Moses encourages Israel to step out in faith, and God grants Israel victory over the opposing tribes east of the Jordan.

  • God gives the Amorites of Heshbon into Israel’s hands, “This day I will begin to put the dread and fear of you upon the nations under the whole heaven, who shall hear the report of you and shall tremble and be in anguish because of you” (Deuteronomy 2:25). This is exactly how Israel responded thirty-eight years earlier when they faced the Amorites!
  • Moses informs Israel that Sihon king of Heshbon has refused to allow Israel to pass through his land because God has determined to give his nation into Israel’s hands, “For the LORD your God hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, that He might deliver him into your hand, as it is this day” (2:30).
  • Israel totally destroys Sihon and plunders their wealth.
  • Israel faces the entire army of the king of Bashan and defeats them. They destroy and plunder the wealth of 60 towns in Bashan.

Forty years in the wilderness have taught Israel a thing or two about themselves and God. They have learned that God does what He promises, “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it” (1 Thess. 5:24). They have also learned not to rely upon what they see and feel but to trust in the Living God, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

A different Israel faces the land of Canaan from the Israel that faced them forty years before. This generation has never been in slavery, never expected men to take care of all their needs, and never lived in fear of evil masters. This generation has seen manna in the desert, water from the Rock, and fire fall from heaven. This generation has heard the voice of God, seen the power of God, and been taught the Word of God. This Israel has a big view of God, which is the only way to face the enemy!

Question from today’s reading (Deuteronomy 1:1-3:20):

What does Moses’ review of the past forty years reveal about the people as a whole?