March 13, 2023
Deuteronomy 3 & 4
Today in our reading the wanderings of Israel have ended and Moses shares the words of God to Israelites.
Chapter 3 –
Israel defeats both kings Sihon and Og takes their land which a vast region east of the Jordan. King Og bed is measured indicating he is no small man but God is no small god either. Moses then recounts the dividing of the Transjordan among the Reubenites, the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh. They will stay on the east side of the Jordan after agreeing to battle with the other tribes to gain the promised land.
The transfer of leadership is next discussed and no doubt difficult for Moses who had led them this far. He reminds Joshua of what happened to Sihon and Og saying The Lord (would) do the same to all the kingdoms (they were) about to enter. Don’t be afraid of them for the Lord your God fights for you.
Moses had in his prayers begged God to allow him to enter the promised land God said “No” and His “No” remained. In fact the message was “That’s enough! Do not speak to me again about this matter.” He did allow Moses to go to Mt. Pisgah and view the promised land but that was a far as he could go.
Chapter 4 –
Chapter 4 is an important hinge in Deuteronomy pivoting from Moses retracing the forty-year journey in the wilderness to the lessons the nation needed to hear in the retelling of the story.
The new generation needed to hear two points: obey God and worship Him alone. In their short time as covenant people they had repeatedly failed God so Moses ws to remind them of their responsibility. All who had remained faithful were alive but those who were disobedient had been put to death.
To fulfill the role as God’s covenant people, Israel dare not forget the things they had seen and been taught. Since idolatry had posed such a problem in the past, the land they were entering was filled with it, Moses spent extensive time warning them of the consequences of idolatry. God has no shape they were reminded and when they put shape to a figured they are committing the worship of an idol.
Moses reminded the people he would not accompany the into the promised land. In his frustration with the people he sinned by striking the rock for water and this was his punishment for that action. He urges then to not forget the covenant God had made with them and them with God. For the Lord your God is a consuming fire.
If they were to forsake their covenant God for an idol in the form of anything His judgement on them would be severe. Yet God would not completely abandon His people. Moses said, You will search for the Lord your God, and you will find Him when you seek Him with all your heart.
In closing chapter four Moses reiterates the cities of refuge that have been established.