-The history lesson is completed in this chapter as Moses recounts going up the road to Bashan and the total defeat of Og, the king of Bashan, and all his people by the command and strength of the LORD. They captured all his cities at that time, which amounted in sum to 66. Some were fortified with high walls, gates, and bars but some were not. The men, women, and children of that nation were utterly destroyed in this conquest. Only the animals and the spoils of the area survived, just as in the instance of defeating King Sihon of the city of Heshbon and the Amorites. Therefore, from the Arnon Valley, which is mid-way up the Dead Sea area, to the far north where the majestic Mount Hermon is located, the Israelites took possession of the hill country of Gilead and what is today the Golan Heights. The tribes of Reuben and Gad, along with the half-tribe of Manasseh were given these lands east of the Jordan as a possession. For more depth on that, see Numbers 32. Moses reiterated these tribes commitment to go and cross the Jordan with their men of war to assist their brothers in the conquering of the remaining Promised Land. Wives, little ones, and the animals were to remain in their cities and towns, but the men would be constrained to fight with their fellow countrymen until the LORD had given them complete victory and rest on the other side of the Jordan (Deuteronomy 3:1-20).
-The commissioning of Joshua is then taken up by Moses. He exhorted his young protégé with the fact that he had seen all that the LORD had done in giving Israel victory after victory with the promise of future conquest in His Name. Moses continues with powerful words, “Do not fear them, for the LORD your God is the One fighting for you (Deuteronomy 3:21-22).” Moses also pleaded with the LORD at that time to relent, show him favor, and let him be able to cross over the Jordan into the Promised Land. He praised the all-powerful God of heaven and earth who could do such great and mighty acts, but the LORD was angry with His servant on the account of his grumbling and unfaithful people. He would not listen to Moses on this issue and said, “Enough! Speak to Me no more of this matter. Go up to the top of Pisgah and lift up your eyes to the west and north and south and east, and see it with your eyes, for you shall not cross over this Jordan (Deuteronomy 3:23-27).” Moses was denied, but he stayed obedient in the face of disappointment. The LORD commanded him at this point to “charge Joshua and encourage him and strengthen him, for he shall go across at the head of this people, and he will give them as an inheritance the land which you will see (Deuteronomy 3:28).” So Israel remained in the valley opposite Beth-peor until God would direct them further (Deuteronomy 3:29).
-*Application* Joshua, or Yeshua (God saves), is the Hebrew name for Jesus. I find it interesting that God providentially chose this name to lead His people across the Jordan into the Promised Land. Jesus, the LORD in the flesh, is the One that God would eventually send to set every man, who believes, free from the penalty of sin and provide a new spiritual birth for eternal life in His Kingdom. This historical-narrative has great spiritual foreshadowing and significance for us as Christians. Have you come into the Promised Land carried at the head by Jesus Christ, the suffering Servant? Another application to consider is Moses’ beseeching unto the LORD. We have to be okay with His answers even when they don’t personally suit us. Don’t insist on your own way. Be humble and obedient even in the face of unrealized dreams and disappointments. God is in control and will work everything out for His glory one way or another. We are not the king; He is. A final application in this chapter revolves around the concept of momentum. Isn’t awesome when we find ourselves enjoying the victorious favor of the LORD in our lives? God has ways of showing us His greatness at times when He decides to shower us with blessings, like He did with the Israelites concerning Bashan and the Amorites. Our acknowledgement of the Almighty is truly key in these kinds of times. Nothing is too hard for the LORD (Jeremiah 32:17). Daniel Murphy of the New York Mets is a great example of this in the 2015 MLB postseason.
Verses to Memorize: Deuteronomy 3:22, 28