Occupation and Opponents
Content: God led Israel just as He promised into the land of Sihon and Og. They defeated them entirely and God reminded them that just as He had promised he would do the same to those whom Joshua would encounter on the other side of the Jordan.
Principle: God gives His people His word and when going about our lives we ought to trust Him that His Word is to be obeyed and we are to trust Him with the future regardless of how trying the circumstances. Just as He has led in the past so He will lead in the future.
Application: We are to take heed according to God’s Word. We are to trust that the Lord will use our present circumstances and even the judgement upon the unrighteous in the future to accomplish His glorious purposes for His glory and our good.
Have you ever wrestled with the idea of how your life and circumstances fit into the ultimate plan and purpose of God? In our text this morning we will see how the children of Israel found themselves in the very same place. They had to trust God at His Word and go up and take possession of the land which was difficult work and maybe even troublesome at times. I want to look at this passage in three points.
I. Permission to Pass through the Land (2:26-29)
II. Predetermined Plan of God (2:30-3:11)
III. Possession (3:12-22)
I. Permission to Pass through the Land (2:26-29)
As we looked at last week God told them to pass through Edom (Seir) and leave them alone, then through Moab (descendants of Lot) and leave them alone and then through Ammon (descendants of Lot) and leave them alone and then the Amorites they were to attack. So just as they asked permission to pass through the lands of Edom, Moab and Ammon, so now they ask the Amorites and God hardens Sihons heart and we see God’s faithfulness to His promises once again. Here we see that no permission is needed where God has already has set His claim. Do you find yourself asking God for what He has already promised you? Or maybe we are asking excuses for our delayed obedience and simply wanting to ask God about why circumstances are such and such. God does not need our permission! God is God and He has rightful claim to all things, including you! You may find this unsettling as Sihon most definitely did! When you say “No” to God there are consequences. Which leads to our second and longest point:
II. Predetermined Plan of God (2:30-3:17)
Notice what God does in verse 30 here. God hardens Sihon’s spirit and made his heart obstinate. What another classic passage where we see God’s Sovereignty and the decisions of men intertwined. But notice His purpose was to deliver him into Israel’s hand. Notice they came out to fight against the Israelites at Jahaz and God delivered them to them. They killed everyone. But they stayed away from the people of Ammon as God had warned them.
Oh, we are not in control! Now we would be mistaken to take this passage out of context and label God as Richard Dawkins does in his book The God Delusion:
“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all of fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”
I believe Richard got it wrong. First of all God is not a fictional character but God in who all knees will eventually bow before. In context, God is simply fulfilling His promises to His people which is a Covenant initiated by His love for His people and meanwhile pronouncing judgment on His enemies. Afterall He is God. The fact that He has shown grace to any is the glorious miracle that should cause us to bow in worship to Him alone! God is God whether you like Him or not! Whether you believe in Him or not. But oh how we can do an injustice to our theology to overlook this passage in our Bibles as somehow showing how embarrassed we are at our God! Oh how humbled we ought to be that He showed mercy to the Edomites, the Moabites, and the Ammonites. They were are sinners as well deserving of judgement! Let alone the children of Israel who died in their unbelief and could not enter the promised land! All land is God’s land and we are His creatures and if we are not for Him we are against Him. But oh, how we must not forget His gracious act in sending His Son! Oh how He hates sin and the sinner, but oh how He has shown love to sinners, and shown compassion upon them by going to the cross on their behalf! This same God is still accomplishing His purposes today. Raising up and tearing down accomplishing His ultimate will. May we learn this lesson well that God does not need permission and His plan will always go forth. His ultimate plan to put all things under His Son’s feet. He became man that we would not taste His wrath for those who turn to Him in faith and repentance. He is just, but also a Justifier. He died and rose again on our behalf. He is coming back, but none shall stand who oppose Him. Do you not see our precious Lord Jesus in this text! The Gospel is right before our eyes. God fulfilling His promises to His people while simultaneously bringing judgement upon the unrighteous. Is it not the same in this town today? Many of us awoke this morning rejoicing that the Gospel is true and that God has indeed saved us. While others the scriptures say that the wrath of God abides on them. What a fearful thing to know God’s wrath abides on you, how much more fearful to not know and yet it is still true!
So, as we look at this text we learn well from Sihon and we would think that we could move on from this point but again God does it! Look at Ch. 3 vs. 1. Og comes out against them as Sihon did. You think they would have learned their lesson by watching their fellow neighbors destroyed. So they destroyed Og and his people as they had done to Sihon. Leaving no survivors vs. 3. They took all their cities (60 of them) killed everyone but kept the livestock and the booty. It is also interesting to note that Og was of the remnant of the Rephaim or the giants. Verse 11 elaborates that his bed was 9 cubits by 4 cubits which is 6 feet by 13.5 feet! Anyone have a California King Size bed? That is 6 by 7 foot. King Og had a bigger bed than you! It was made of iron. This guy was big! It doesn’t mention his wife but she definitely had a big heart to love such a giant man. How awesome it would be if Serta mattress company came out with a King Og special! Wonder what King Og’s sleep number was? I wonder how expensive that bed would be? Sorry my mind wanders with information like this… Definitely not the main point of the passage but I really did ask the Lord about this part of the passage and what it means and why its in scripture and all I can gather from all the wisdom I collected is that Og was big, really really big. But, not bigger than God.
All joking aside, some think this did not refer to his bed but where he was put after he died, in other words a sarcophagus. Regardless this guy no doubt had a big bed, big coffin, big everything! Lol Herein lies the truth that no matter how strong or mighty you may be you will give account to your maker. God does not need your permission, He has a plan for His world and for you and finally our last point:
III. Possession 3:12-22
Verse 12-17 speaks of the two and half tribes that took possession of lands east of the Jordan. The Reubenites, the Gadites and the half tribe of Manasseh. You see, He takes away and yet gives. He gives this land to these tribes but notice the unity in that these tribes while settling on the east of the Jordan were to go across and still help their brothers occupy the lands on the west side. (vs. 20) They could leave their wives, children and livestock at home. The comment here on much livestock is the fact that they obtained additional livestock from Sihon and Og. They had a bunch!
But notice verse 21-22: He uses these events to encourage Joshua that just as He had done to these two kings so He would do for them as they entered the land of Canaan. He need not fear because God was going to fight for Him.
Are you going full throttle in obedience to the Lord? Reading His Word, knowing it, doing it, applying it?
Are you resting in His providence, trusting that only He can make sense out of your circumstances and how they fit into His overall plan? He is good, surrender to Him. Trust His promises.
Have you been possessed by the Lord? He is excellent at war and conquers us, and the enemies of our soul displacing them and replacing them with Himself. He has us and we have Him! If you have never turned to Christ this mighty warrior of the scriptures, why not today? You have nothing to fear, just as He brought low these giants of old so He will do likewise in our lives.
As 1 Peter 3 says:
13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.
The Gospel going forward has many twists and turns. He works in mysterious ways it seems to us, but yet God uses even these in our own lives that we may see Him at work and bringing glory to Himself and so we can taste and see that He is good. Let’s pray.
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