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Scripture reading – Deuteronomy 2

Deuteronomy 2 continued Moses’ speech to Israel and his recollection of that nation’s wilderness wanderings. Thirty-eight years have passed since Israel disobeyed the LORD and refused to enter the Promised Land. Then, the LORD spoke to Moses and said, “3Ye have compassed this mountain long enough: turn you northward” (2:3).

Nations Israel was Not to Disturb (Deuteronomy 2:4-23)

Israel’s journey took the nation through lands possessed by countries that were distant kin to the Twelve Tribes, who descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Therefore, in grace, the LORD warned Israel that there were not to distress those who had a kinship with them.

The Edomites (2:4-7), though they had refused Israel’s passage (Numbers 20:21), were nevertheless descendants of Esau, Jacob’s brother (later named Israel, Genesis 32:28). Therefore, the LORD commanded Israel, “Meddle not with them [Edom]; for I will not give you of their land…I have given Mount Seir unto Esau for a possession” (2:5). Because the LORD had blessed Israel and the people “lacked nothing” (2:7), they were not to spoil Edom, but “buy meat…[and] buy water of them for money” (2:6). Also, the Moabites were not to be troubled by Israel, for they were of Lot’s lineage, who was the nephew of Abraham (2:8b-12; Genesis 12:5). The LORD declared He had “given Ar unto the children of Lot for a possession” (2:9).

Deuteronomy 2:14 reminded Israel that 38 years were now passed, and “all the generation of the men of war [who had refused to enter the land] were wasted out from among the host, as the Lord sware unto them” (2:14). Surely, they had seen the sorrow and toil when “the hand of the Lord was against them, to destroy them from among the host, until they were consumed. 16So it came to pass, when all the men of war were consumed and dead from among the people” (2:15-16). Only then did the LORD command Israel to rise and take possession of their inheritance.

Like the Moabites, the Ammonites were kin to Israel, for they were descendants of Lot. So likewise, they were not to be bothered by Israel, for they were of Lot’s lineage, and the LORD had given them their land (2:19-23).

Nations Israel was to Conquer (Deuteronomy 2:24-36)

Unlike the Edomites, Moabites, and Ammonites, the LORD had determined that the Amorites, whose king was Sihon, should be destroyed. So, in the providence of God, when Moses sent messengers and offered peace to the Amorites, they were denied (2:24-36). The LORD, therefore, used King Sihon’s refusal and “hardened [his] spirit, and made his heart obstinate, that he might deliver” the land of the Amorites to Israel (2:30-31).

Moses recalled how when King Sihon came against Israel (2:32), “the Lord our God delivered him before us; and we smote him, and his sons, and all his people” (2:33). Not one of the Amorite cities were spared, and all the people were slain (2:34).

Closing thought:

I close today’s devotion and am reminded that a nation’s history is essential and should be taught and passed on to its children and their children. History, after all, is more than just the legacy of man, it is the record of the sovereignty and providences of God. Let us be faithful to read God’s preserved history record and be mindful that His gracious hand will lead and guide us when we are willing to follow His path (2:14).

It is a dreadful thing when “the hand of the Lord [is] against” a nation, a people, and a man (2:15).

Questions to consider:

1) How many years had passed since Israel’s exodus from Egypt? (2:7)

2) Why was Israel commanded not to trouble “the children of Esau” who lived in Seir? (2:4-5)

3) What did the LORD do to prepare the way for Israel to possess the Amorite’s land? (2:30-31)

4) How did King Sihon respond to Moses’ request for safe passage through his land? (2:32-33)

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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