Reading through the Bible together

Monday, September 17, 2012

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Deuteronomy is the last of the five books of Moses, called the Pentateuch. Deuteronomy contains the last words of Moses as he reviews the history of God’s relationship with Israel. That relationship shows that God does not change (Mal. 3:6), and “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8). Nor did Israel change much, for they were a rebellious people, usually meeting God’s love with non-compliance.

 

When the Egyptian army pinned them in at the Red Sea, in terror they exclaimed, “It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” (Exod. 14:12b). Moses answered, “Do not be afraid…The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still” (Exod. 14:13a-14). Great was God’s deliverance! Then Israel sang the song of Moses, “Who among the gods is like you, O Lord?...In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed” (Exod. 15:11a, 13a). How soon they forgot. It was time to enter Canaan, the land God promised Israel from the time of Abraham. But the ten men who spied out the land came back complaining of giants and said it was impossible to take the land. Israel believed them, complained to God, and believed that the Amorites would come and destroy them unless they returned to Egypt (Num. 14:1-4).

 

However, Joshua and Caleb gave a good report, “the Lord is with us. Do not fear the Amorites” (cf. Num. 14:9). The people decided to put these two men to death by stoning (Num. 14:10a). Moses tried to tell them not to be afraid for God would deliver them as He had before. They were so preoccupied with giants that the only solution was for them to go back into the wilderness. That got their attention. So they decided to go and fight the Amorites on their own. God warned them that He would not go with them, but they went ahead and their defeat exposed the foolishness of self-dependence. We are modern Israel and entrance to God’s Canaan is just ahead. How many of us are afraid of the giant events of the last days and forget that God will fight for us. He wants us to be still and know that He is God (Psa. 46:10).

 

Norman Gulley

Southern Adventist University