Lessons on Leadership from Nehemiah
“Day 38 (Deuteronomy 2)”Categories: 40 Days in the Wilderness
Deuteronomy 2 is a summary of the events recorded in Numbers 24:14- 31:54, describing the people of Israel defeating the nations and kings in the Promised Land. Moses gives no details of what Israel experienced while wandering thirty-eight years in the wilderness. During these years, Israel was out of favor with God. There is no record that they observed the Passover or even circumcised their sons. After Joshua led the nation across the Jordan River, he took care of those responsibilities and Israel was back in God’s covenant blessing (Joshua 5). The people in Moses’ congregation, who were nineteen years old when the wonderings began, were now fifty-seven. They would certainly remember those difficult years and hopefully tell their children and grandchildren.
First, they pass by the Edomites. They were not to meddle with them. They could buy food and water from them but they were to watch carefully (Deuteronomy 2: 1-4). The Edomites should have shown brotherly love, but instead they perpetuated the ancient feud between Jacob and Esau. Family feuds are not soon forgotten. It does not matter whether it is the nuclear family, spiritual family or societal family. Hatred, rivalry and bitterness die hard. One more thing, God had graciously provided for Israel during the years of wandering. They had no need to attack or exploit their brothers (Deuteronomy 2:7).
Second, they were to avoid the Moabites and Ammonites (Deuteronomy 2:9-23). These two tribes were descendants of Lot. Thus, relatives as well. The Lord had helped them defeat their enemies and take their land (Deuteronomy 2:20-23). Neither the Moabites or Ammonites deserved this kindness from God, but sometimes the Lord blesses one people because of their relationship with another people, in this case Israel. All these relationships go back to Abraham. It was a turning point when Israel crossed into the Zered Valley. Now the older generation was gone, except for Moses, Joshua and Caleb (Deuteronomy 2:13-16). Israel could now look forward to defeating their enemy.
Third, was defeating the Amorites (Deuteronolmy 2:24-3:11). Sihon and Og were powerful kings in the region of the Amorites. Israel’s defeat of them was especially important because it would send a message to the other nations in Canaan and bring fear to their hearts. As he did with the Edomites, Moabites and Ammonites Moses made an offer to Sihon to pass through their land peacefully and pay for their food and water. Shihon’s heart was hardened and when he and his army attacked Israel, God gave Moses the victory. This victory gave Israel encouragement to confront Og. Og was a giant (Deuteronomy 3:11), but even though the walls were high and Og was a giant, Israel defeated them to. God is bigger than the giants and the walls.
God would provide for His people as they conquered the land. None of their adversaries stood successfully against them. Even so today, the Lord is our strength and our salvation. He gives us the victory!