-The history lesson continues in this chapter as the children of Israel turned and set out for the wilderness by way of the Red Sea after their defeat before the Amorites when they acted presumptuously in defiance of the LORD’s command (Deuteronomy 2:1). They circled around Mount Seir for many days until the LORD spoke and told them to turn north to pass through the territory of their brothers, the sons of Esau, who lived in Seir. The LORD promised to put fear in them and warned them to be very careful as they sojourned into this territory. They were not to provoke them, and they were not allowed to take any of their land, which the LORD had given as a possession unto Esau (Genesis 36:8, 43). They were to buy food from them and water to eat and drink along the way. “For the LORD your God has blessed you in all that you have done; He has known your wanderings through this great wilderness. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you; you have not lacked a thing (Deuteronomy 2:2-7).” So the children of Israel passed through as the LORD commanded and came beyond their brothers away from the Arabah road and away from Elath and Ezion-geber. They turned and passed through by the way of the wilderness of Moab, where the LORD again warned them not to harass nor provoke to war the sons of Lot who were given the LORD’s possession in the land of Ar (Genesis 19:36-37, Numbers 21:15, Deuteronomy 2:8-9). Some dispossessions were accounted by Moses in the annihilation of the Emim (Rephaim or Zamzummin) and the Horites by the sons of Esau and Lot (Deuteronomy 2:10-12, 19-23).
-God told His people to arise and cross over the brook Zered. The time it took them to come from Kadesh-barnea to cross over this brook just south of the Dead Sea and near the border of Moab was 38 long and arduous years. This was the time when all the men of war had perished as the LORD had sworn to them because of their lack of faith and disobedience. The Hand of God was against this generation to destroy them from within the camp until they all were extinguished, except for the faithful Caleb and Joshua (Deuteronomy 2:13-16). But, now it was time for the LORD to raise up a new generation that would finally come into the Promised Land at this appointed time. That day they were commanded to cross over Ar, near the border of Moab. They were told that when they came opposite the sons of Ammon, they were not to provoke or harass them either. They would take no land from them as a possession because it had been given to Lot by God (Genesis 19:38, Deuteronomy 2:17-23).
-But, now at this point the LORD invites them to engage in battle as they passed through the valley of the Arnon. He had given them permission to destroy and take possession of Sihon the Amorite, the king of Heshbon. The fear and dread of the LORD’s people was upon them by God Himself. When they heard the report, they feared and trembled in anguish because of the LORD’s plan. Israel did propose a peaceful solution as they sent messengers from the wilderness of Kedemoth to Sidon. They told him they would pass through his land peacefully on his highway and not turning aside to the right or left, and they would buy food and water at the market price. But, Sihon was not willing to let them pass through, for the LORD God “hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, in order to deliver him” into the hands of the Israelites. The LORD emphatically told His servant Moses to “begin to occupy, that you may possess the land.” Sihon with all his people came out to meet Israel for battle at Jahaz. Israel soundly defeated them just as the LORD had spoken. They captured their cities from Aroer even to Gilead. “There was no city that was too high for us; the LORD our God delivered all over to us.” They left no survivors destroying men, women, and children. The only spoil they took was the animals from their sizeable capture. However, they averted the land of Ammon, as the LORD had commanded along the River Jabbok and the cities of the hill country (Numbers 21:21-32, Deuteronomy 2:24-37).
-*Application* The sovereignty and wisdom of God should once again stick out to us here in the meditation of this historical-narrative Scripture. God moves in mysterious ways, but He is clear in His presentation if we are observant. He doesn’t change His overarching will, so it is up to us to comply with him through faith and obedience. He is with us and knows our struggle if we are indeed His children. We don’t have to worry about that. We will have not lack a thing, even if we must go through wilderness times in our lives. Follow Him and live as the conqueror you were designed to be (Romans 8:35-39, 1 Peter 2:9-10).