Deuteronomy 1-2

Thursday Evening Bible Study

September 9, 2010

Introduction to Deuteronomy

Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision


Deuteronomy is the last of the five books that were written by Moses. The five books are called the “Pentateuch”, the “Torah”, or the “Law”.

The name “Deuteronomy” means “Second (deutero) Law (nomos)”.

This book is a series of messages that Moses gave to the nation of Israel during the last month and a half of his life.

Deut. 1-4:  Moses recaps Israel’s history in the wilderness
Deut. 5-26:  Moses reviews the Law
Deut. 27-30: Moses reviews the blessings of obedience and the curses of disobedience
Deut. 31-34:  Moses’ Farewell
The Song of Moses; Prophetic blessings on the tribes; The Death of Moses


With God’s help, Moses has brought Israel out of Egypt and led them for forty years in the wilderness. During the first year in the wilderness, they had camped out at Mount Sinai, where Moses received the Ten Commandments as well as the design of the Tabernacle, the instructions for sacrifices, and various laws.

This was when the content of the books of Exodus and Leviticus were given.

The history of their wanderings in the wilderness were recorded in the book of Numbers. Now at the end of their wilderness wanderings, it’s time for a review, hence the “Second Law”.

There are a couple of reasons why a “review” is necessary –

1) The people have changed
The generation that heard the Law the first time has mostly passed away, and it’s time for the current generation to hear God’s truths.
2) The times have changed
The people have been wandering in the wilderness for forty years. Now they are finally about to come into the Promised Land and actually settle down. Some of the Laws were intended specifically for use in the Promised Land and they haven’t been in the forefront of people’s minds for forty years. Some of the Law will see new application as they are about to cross over the Jordan.


Keep reading

The reasons we keep reading God’s incredible Word are the same for us.
1) I change

I am not exactly the same person as I was a couple of years ago. I am growing in the Lord, I am slowly changing. As I go through my own “stages” of development in my Christian life, I need to be reminded over and over again of God’s Word.

2) My circumstances change

As I am growing, my circumstances change just like I do. I may not always be “wandering in the wilderness”. Each time I go through God’s Word, I learn more and more from it, sometimes simply because my own life’s circumstances force me to look at God’s Word from another perspective.

Peter wrote,
(2 Pe 1:12 NLT) —12 Therefore, I will always remind you about these things—even though you already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught.


Love:  This may be a surprise, especially considering that this is a book of the “Law”, but one of the special themes of the book of Deuteronomy is “love”, God’s love for us and our love for God. The word “love” or a form of it is found 25 times, the word “heart” is found 50 times.

Jesus liked it

When Jesus was tempted by Satan after having fasted for forty days, Jesus responded to each of Satan’s temptations by quoting a Scripture.

When Satan tempted Jesus to turn stones into bread,
(Lk 4:4 NKJV) —4 But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’ ”
Jesus was quoting from,

(Dt 8:3 NKJV) —3 So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.

Each time Jesus is tempted, guess what He quotes from?  Deuteronomy.
When Satan offered to give Jesus the kingdoms of the world if Jesus would follow Satan,
(Lk 4:8 NKJV) —8 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ”
Jesus was quoting from,

(Dt 6:13 NKJV) —13 You shall fear the Lord your God and serve Him, and shall take oaths in His name.

When Satan tempted Jesus to jump from the pinnacle of the temple,
(Lk 4:12 NKJV) —12 And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ”
Jesus was quoting from,

(Dt 6:16 NKJV) —16 “You shall not tempt the Lord your God as you tempted Him in Massah.

Jesus seemed especially fond of the book of Deuteronomy. He spent time in the book, He even had it memorized.

Deuteronomy 1

:1 These are the words which Moses spoke to all Israel on this side of the Jordan in the wilderness, in the plain opposite Suph, between Paran, Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Dizahab.

:1 on this side – The entire book of Deuteronomy is written out before they cross the Jordan, while they are still camped out in the “Plains of Moab”.

:2 It is eleven days’ journey from Horeb by way of Mount Seir to Kadesh Barnea.

:2 Horeb - another name for Mount Sinai, where Moses had received the Ten Commandments

:2 Mount Seir – the land that the Edomites settled in, to the southeast of Israel.

:2 Kadesh Barnea – this was a border town (like Tijuana) on the edge of the Promised Land. After having received the Law from God, it was time to go into the Promised Land.

It was only an eleven days journey from Mount Sinai to Kadeshbarnea. They could have been in the Promised Land after two weeks, but because of their lack of faith, it would take them forty years.

:3 Now it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spoke to the children of Israel according to all that the LORD had given him as commandments to them,

:4 after he had killed Sihon king of the Amorites, who dwelt in Heshbon, and Og king of Bashan, who dwelt at Ashtaroth in Edrei.

We are setting the context for Deuteronomy.  It’s been forty years since leaving Egypt.

They have conquered the territory on the eastern side of the Jordan, including the kings Sihon and Og.

:5 On this side of the Jordan in the land of Moab, Moses began to explain this law, saying,

:6 “The LORD our God spoke to us in Horeb, saying: ‘You have dwelt long enough at this mountain.

:6 Horeb = Sinai

This is what God told the Israelites forty years earlier when they left the area of Mount Sinai…

:7 Turn and take your journey, and go to the mountains of the Amorites, to all the neighboring places in the plain, in the mountains and in the lowland, in the South and on the seacoast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the River Euphrates.

:8 See, I have set the land before you; go in and possess the land which the LORD swore to your fathers—to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—to give to them and their descendants after them.’

:8 possess the land


Promised Land

For Israel, God’s plans included a physical piece of geography.
God has plans for each of us.
(Je 29:11 NKJV) —11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
(Eph 2:10 NKJV) —10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
God wants you to have all that He plans for you.
Just like Israel, God beckons you to go in and start receiving the things He has for you.
For some of you, you are at a place where you haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of finding what God has for you.
You need to stay close to the Lord and His Word so God can begin to speak to you and show you what He has for your life.
For some of you, you are like the Israelites who knew what God had for them, and are faced with the challenge of doing something about it.

:9 “And I spoke to you at that time, saying: ‘I alone am not able to bear you.

At one point Moses was overwhelmed with the needs of the nation. Two million people were coming to him to meet their needs.

:10 The LORD your God has multiplied you, and here you are today, as the stars of heaven in multitude.

:11 May the LORD God of your fathers make you a thousand times more numerous than you are, and bless you as He has promised you!

God promised Abraham that his descendants would number like the stars in heaven.

(Ge 15:5 NKJV) —5 Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”

:12 How can I alone bear your problems and your burdens and your complaints?

Moses would sit down at his office desk and the people would line up and wait to talk to Moses. Every question, every problem, everything went to Moses. The people would have to wait in line all day. Moses and the people were getting tired out. (Ex. 18:13)

:13 Choose wise, understanding, and knowledgeable men from among your tribes, and I will make them heads over you.’

:14 And you answered me and said, ‘The thing which you have told us to do is good.’

:15 So I took the heads of your tribes, wise and knowledgeable men, and made them heads over you, leaders of thousands, leaders of hundreds, leaders of fifties, leaders of tens, and officers for your tribes.

Moses learned he needed to learn how to delegate.

Under the leading of his father-in-law and God, Moses set up a system of elders that would take care of the people’s problems.

Moses set up the seventy elders, teaching them the law, so they could in turn take care of the needs of the people.



With increased responsibility comes the need to learn delegation.
It might be at work or in a ministry at church.
By yourself, you can only do the work of one person.
If you learn to train, disciple, and let go, you can get more done.
Sometimes we think, “If you want something to be done right, do it yourself”.
But the problem is that if you are the only one doing the work, you are only going to get as far as one person can get.
If you can learn to find quality people and let them help you, then you get a lot more done.

:16 “Then I commanded your judges at that time, saying, ‘Hear the cases between your brethren, and judge righteously between a man and his brother or the stranger who is with him.

:17 You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear the small as well as the great; you shall not be afraid in any man’s presence, for the judgment is God’s. The case that is too hard for you, bring to me, and I will hear it.’

:17 you shall not be afraid in any man’s presence

Moses gave instructions to those who were going to help him lead the nation.  He wanted them to be “impartial”.


Fear and wisdom

The issue of impartiality is “fear”.
Who are you afraid of?  When you are afraid of certain people, either afraid of what they will do to you, or afraid of what they might not do (like give you a bribe), you are headed for trouble.
When God is the one we “fear”, we have a better chance of making wise choices, wise judgments.
A small town prosecuting attorney called his first witness to the stand in a trial-a grandmotherly, elderly woman. He approached her and asked, “Mrs. Jones, do you know me?” She responded, “Why, yes, I do know you Mr. Williams. I’ve known you since you were a young boy. And frankly, you’ve been a big disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat on your wife, you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you’re a rising big shot when you haven’t the brains to realize you never will amount to anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you.” The lawyer was stunned. Not knowing what else to do he pointed across the room and asked, “Mrs. Williams, do you know the defense attorney?” She again replied, “Why, yes I do. I’ve known Mr. Bradley since he was a youngster, too. I used to baby-sit him for his parents. And he, too, has been a real disappointment to me. He’s lazy, bigoted, he has a drinking problem. The man can’t build a normal relationship with anyone and his law practice is one of the shoddiest in the entire state. Yes, I know him.” At this point, the judge rapped the courtroom to silence and called both counselors to the bench. In a very quiet voice, he said with menace, “If either of you asks her if she knows me, you’ll be jailed for contempt!
Too often we are influenced by what we believe people think, one way of the other.
Sometimes we are afraid of getting somebody mad at us, and this affects our decisions.
Sometimes we admire and respect a person so much, we are afraid of hurting their feelings or going against their wishes.
It’s good to listen to advice from others, but in the long run, we need to ask God for His wisdom, and then decide for what is right.

:18 And I commanded you at that time all the things which you should do.

:19 “So we departed from Horeb, and went through all that great and terrible wilderness which you saw on the way to the mountains of the Amorites, as the LORD our God had commanded us. Then we came to Kadesh Barnea.

:19 Kadesh Barnea – the border town on the southern edge of the Promised Land; 91 miles southwest of Jerusalem.

This town would forever be known as the place of decision, the place of deciding to do the wrong thing, the place of turning away from what God had for them.

:20 And I said to you, ‘You have come to the mountains of the Amorites, which the LORD our God is giving us.

:21 Look, the LORD your God has set the land before you; go up and possess it, as the LORD God of your fathers has spoken to you; do not fear or be discouraged.’

:22 “And every one of you came near to me and said, ‘Let us send men before us, and let them search out the land for us, and bring back word to us of the way by which we should go up, and of the cities into which we shall come.’

It’s interesting that Moses is recalling the idea as coming from the people.  In Numbers 13, the idea comes from God.

Whether it was God who first had the idea to send spies, or whether it was the people, God still considered it the right thing to do.

:23 “The plan pleased me well; so I took twelve of your men, one man from each tribe.

:24 And they departed and went up into the mountains, and came to the Valley of Eshcol, and spied it out.

:24 Eshcol – “cluster” – we think it’s located near Hebron, south of Jerusalem.

This must have been a HUGE cluster of grapes, it took two men to carry it (Num. 13:23).

:25 They also took some of the fruit of the land in their hands and brought it down to us; and they brought back word to us, saying, ‘It is a good land which the LORD our God is giving us.’

:26 “Nevertheless you would not go up, but rebelled against the command of the LORD your God;

:27 and you complained in your tents, and said, ‘Because the LORD hates us, He has brought us out of the land of Egypt to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us.

:28 Where can we go up? Our brethren have discouraged our hearts, saying, “The people are greater and taller than we; the cities are great and fortified up to heaven; moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakim there.” ’

:27 the LORD hates us

The people hear about the giants in the land and assume that God doesn’t love them.


Good doesn’t mean easy

Sometimes God’s people act a little like spoiled children.
A spoiled child is the one who always gets his way and doesn’t want anyone telling them what to do.
When we talk about God’s “good” plans for our lives, that doesn’t mean “easy”.
If I set a bowl of broccoli before you and a bowl of ice cream before you, which one would you call “good”?

There are different kinds of “good”, aren’t there?

The truth is, God does love the Israelites:
(Dt 7:8 NKJV) —8 but because the Lord loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

:28  the Anakim – “long-necked”, descendants of Anak; the giants

There were two basic problems in taking the Promised Land.

The cities were fortified – they had high walls.
There were giants in the land – the “sons of the Anakims” was a term referring to a race of giants living at that time.


Giants in the land

The truth is that even though God has wonderful promises for us, there will also be “giants” in the land.
Almost every good thing has some challenge attached to it.
If you are a person who is always looking for the easy way out, you will probably rarely see some of the treasures that God has for you.
Growing as a Christian
I think this is one of the aspects of coming into the “Promised Land”, whether or not we will learn to deal with the “giants”.
One of the greatest giants we face is that of our own personal “discipline”, the kinds of things that we do or don’t do to help our relationship with Jesus grow.
We can fall into a trap of thinking that because we have certain sins we’re personally enslaved to, that all the people we see God using must have the same secret sins as well. It’s no use to really get serious about these things because after all, everybody has these problems. I’ve got news for you – many of the people that God uses big time have learned to get God’s victory over those secret sins.

I used to think that the concept of daily spending time with God was a little overblown. I used to think, “I’ll bet Chuck Smith doesn’t really spend all that much time reading his Bible or praying.” Wrong.

Daily Devotions
When it comes to spending time daily reading God’s Word and praying, I have found that there are three types of people. And it’s all about GIANTS.
1) It’s too hard

For most people, they have all sorts of reasons lined up as to why they can’t spend time every day reading God’s Word and praying.

Sometimes it’s because they don’t think they know the Bible enough to just read it. How else are you going to learn about the Bible if you don’t read it?

Sometimes it’s because a person thinks they’re too busy.

Sometimes it’s simply because they don’t realize that they have the ability to discipline themselves to read every day.

These are the people who say, “There’s GIANTS in the land”

2) The Giant Killers.

This is the person who finally gets around to realizing that they can’t make any more excuses. It’s not always easy to get to this point. You usually spend lots of time tripping yourself up and falling on your face, but that happens any time you go out to slay giants.

Best of all, this is the person who is beginning to enter into the Promised Land. This is the person who is beginning to learn to hear God’s voice. This is the person who is beginning to learn to find God’s help and strength.

:29 “Then I said to you, ‘Do not be terrified, or afraid of them.

:30 The LORD your God, who goes before you, He will fight for you, according to all He did for you in Egypt before your eyes,

:31 and in the wilderness where you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a man carries his son, in all the way that you went until you came to this place.’

These people have seen God do INCREDIBLE things.  They saw the plagues in Egypt.  They saw the Red Sea part.  They saw water come from the Rock.  They were fed by the miraculous manna.  They saw the earth opened up and swallow the rebel Korah.

:32 Yet, for all that, you did not believe the LORD your God,

:33 who went in the way before you to search out a place for you to pitch your tents, to show you the way you should go, in the fire by night and in the cloud by day.

:32 you did not believe


Trusting Him

This is what it boils down to – am I going to trust God and do things His way?
The writer to the Hebrews tells us,
(Heb 3:19 – 4:2) 19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. 1 Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.

We can hear about God’s promises for deliverance, but if we don’t believe that God will do it, the promises won’t do anything for us.

Are you going to trust God to help you or not? Are you going to trust God that His ways are better or not?

Growing as a Christian comes by mixing my actions with my faith.
It’s one thing to say I believe God’s ways are best, but the proof is in whether or not I’m going to do what God says.

:34 “And the LORD heard the sound of your words, and was angry, and took an oath, saying,

:35 ‘Surely not one of these men of this evil generation shall see that good land of which I swore to give to your fathers,

:36 except Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him and his children I am giving the land on which he walked, because he wholly followed the LORD.’

Caleb and Joshua were the rare ones.  They believed God.  They made it into the Promised Land.

:37 The LORD was also angry with me for your sakes, saying, ‘Even you shall not go in there.

Moses himself didn’t make it into the Promised Land.

He blew it when he misrepresented God, got angry with the people, and rather than “speak” to the Rock, he struck the rock a second time.

:38 Joshua the son of Nun, who stands before you, he shall go in there. Encourage him, for he shall cause Israel to inherit it.

:39 ‘Moreover your little ones and your children, who you say will be victims, who today have no knowledge of good and evil, they shall go in there; to them I will give it, and they shall possess it.

:40 But as for you, turn and take your journey into the wilderness by the Way of the Red Sea.’

:41 “Then you answered and said to me, ‘We have sinned against the LORD; we will go up and fight, just as the LORD our God commanded us.’ And when everyone of you had girded on his weapons of war, you were ready to go up into the mountain.

:42 “And the LORD said to me, ‘Tell them, “Do not go up nor fight, for I am not among you; lest you be defeated before your enemies.” ’

:43 So I spoke to you; yet you would not listen, but rebelled against the command of the LORD, and presumptuously went up into the mountain.

:44 And the Amorites who dwelt in that mountain came out against you and chased you as bees do, and drove you back from Seir to Hormah.

:45 Then you returned and wept before the LORD, but the LORD would not listen to your voice nor give ear to you.

:46 “So you remained in Kadesh many days, according to the days that you spent there.

:44 drove you back


Open Windows

In some situations, the opportunity is only good for so long.
The people changed their mind about the Promised Land, but it was too late.
You have to check the dates on those coupons before you go into ColdStone and buy your discounted ice cream.
Much of the food you buy in the grocery store has an “expiration date”.  If you eat the bread when it’s a week past the expiration date, don’t be surprised at the mold growing on the bread.
As much as God wants everyone to be saved, the truth is, the offer is only good for so long.  It is good as long as you have breath.
The problem is, you don’t know when your “expiration date” is.
Don’t wait too long.

Deuteronomy 2

:1 “Then we turned and journeyed into the wilderness of the Way of the Red Sea, as the LORD spoke to me, and we skirted Mount Seir for many days.

:1 many days – 38 years they wandered…

:2 “And the LORD spoke to me, saying:

:3 ‘You have skirted this mountain long enough; turn northward.

:4 And command the people, saying, “You are about to pass through the territory of your brethren, the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir; and they will be afraid of you. Therefore watch yourselves carefully.

:4 Esau – the Israelites were descendants of Jacob.  The Edomites were descendants of Jacob’s twin brother Esau.

:5 Do not meddle with them, for I will not give you any of their land, no, not so much as one footstep, because I have given Mount Seir to Esau as a possession.

:5 Do not meddle garah – to cause strife, stir up, contend, meddle, strive, be stirred up


Find your spot.

God didn’t want Israel to start thinking that they were going to conquer the Edomites and take their land. God had given that land to Edom.
God has a place for you. Don’t be spending too much time looking at and longing for what God has for others. Worry about what Jesus has for you.
When Peter met with Jesus after the resurrection, Jesus told Peter about how Peter would one day be captured and led away to die for the Lord. Peter was a little uncomfortable about this and looking over at John, got to wondering if this would happen to John as well.
(John 21:21-22 NKJV) Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, "But Lord, what about this man?" {22} Jesus said to him, "If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me."
Jesus’ whole point was this – don’t worry about what God has planned for other people, you just be concerned about what God has planned for you.
Just follow Jesus. Settle in the land Jesus has for you.

:6 You shall buy food from them with money, that you may eat; and you shall also buy water from them with money, that you may drink.

:7 “For the LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hand. He knows your trudging through this great wilderness. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you; you have lacked nothing.” ’

:8 “And when we passed beyond our brethren, the descendants of Esau who dwell in Seir, away from the road of the plain, away from Elath and Ezion Geber, we turned and passed by way of the Wilderness of Moab.

Map showing Edom

:9 Then the LORD said to me, ‘Do not harass Moab, nor contend with them in battle, for I will not give you any of their land as a possession, because I have given Ar to the descendants of Lot as a possession.’ ”

:9 Moab – (see map) The Moabites were the descendants of Lot, the nephew of Abraham. Abraham was the grandfather to Jacob, the father of the Israelites.

:10 (The Emim had dwelt there in times past, a people as great and numerous and tall as the Anakim.

:10 Emim – “terrors”

:11 They were also regarded as giants, like the Anakim, but the Moabites call them Emim.

:12 The Horites formerly dwelt in Seir, but the descendants of Esau dispossessed them and destroyed them from before them, and dwelt in their place, just as Israel did to the land of their possession which the LORD gave them.)

:12 Esau dispossessed them


You can too.

One of the fears that had kept Israel from going into the Promised Land was the fear of giants.
Yet in reality, the giants weren’t invincible. The Edomites had already conquered their own giants.
Moses is trying to encourage Israel and build up their faith. Other nations have taken care of the giants, so can Israel.
Fellowship’s value
This is one of the great benefits that we get when we rub elbows with other Christians who are walking in the Lord. When God helps one Christian, others can gain encouragement that God can help them too.

:13 “ ‘Now rise and cross over the Valley of the Zered.’ So we crossed over the Valley of the Zered.

:13 Zered – The brook Zered is at the southern end of the Dead Sea. It is the boundary between the Edomites to the south of the brook and the Moabites to the north.

:14 And the time we took to come from Kadesh Barnea until we crossed over the Valley of the Zered was thirty-eight years, until all the generation of the men of war was consumed from the midst of the camp, just as the LORD had sworn to them.

:15 For indeed the hand of the LORD was against them, to destroy them from the midst of the camp until they were consumed.

:14 thirty-eight years

The people were at Mount Sinai for a year, then spent 38 years wandering, and another year conquering the Amorites before coming into the Promise Land.

:16 “So it was, when all the men of war had finally perished from among the people,

:17 that the LORD spoke to me, saying:

:18 ‘This day you are to cross over at Ar, the boundary of Moab.

:18 Ar – a capital city of the Moabites, located on the river Arnon, a border between Moab and Edom.

:19 And when you come near the people of Ammon, do not harass them or meddle with them, for I will not give you any of the land of the people of Ammon as a possession, because I have given it to the descendants of Lot as a possession.’ ”

The Ammonites were also descendants of Lot like the Moabites (vs.9)

:20 (That was also regarded as a land of giants; giants formerly dwelt there. But the Ammonites call them Zamzummim,

:20 ZamzummimZamzom – “plotters”

:21 a people as great and numerous and tall as the Anakim. But the LORD destroyed them before them, and they dispossessed them and dwelt in their place,

:21 the LORD destroyed them – notice who helped the Ammonites.  Yahweh.

:22 just as He had done for the descendants of Esau, who dwelt in Seir, when He destroyed the Horites from before them. They dispossessed them and dwelt in their place, even to this day.

:23 And the Avim, who dwelt in villages as far as Gaza— the Caphtorim, who came from Caphtor, destroyed them and dwelt in their place.)

:23 Caphtorim – “crowns”

These were people from the island of Crete, thought to be possible relatives of the later Philistines. These too had learned to conquer the giants.

:24 “ ‘Rise, take your journey, and cross over the River Arnon. Look, I have given into your hand Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his land. Begin to possess it, and engage him in battle.

:25 This day I will begin to put the dread and fear of you upon the nations under the whole heaven, who shall hear the report of you, and shall tremble and be in anguish because of you.’

This would be the beginnings of Israel’s battles to conquer the land.

:26 “And I sent messengers from the Wilderness of Kedemoth to Sihon king of Heshbon, with words of peace, saying,

:27 ‘Let me pass through your land; I will keep strictly to the road, and I will turn neither to the right nor to the left.

:28 You shall sell me food for money, that I may eat, and give me water for money, that I may drink; only let me pass through on foot,

:29 just as the descendants of Esau who dwell in Seir and the Moabites who dwell in Ar did for me, until I cross the Jordan to the land which the LORD our God is giving us.’

:30 “But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let us pass through, for the LORD your God hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, that He might deliver him into your hand, as it is this day.

:31 “And the LORD said to me, ‘See, I have begun to give Sihon and his land over to you. Begin to possess it, that you may inherit his land.’

:31 I have begun to give …

The land of Sihon was part of what God had for Israel. (map)

It was part of their training in learning to take the Promised Land.

Note that it was when Sihon refused to help, when things began to look bad that God reminded Moses that victory was in the works.

:32 Then Sihon and all his people came out against us to fight at Jahaz.

:33 And the LORD our God delivered him over to us; so we defeated him, his sons, and all his people.

:33 we defeated him


Learning to fight

In a sense, the nation is “growing up”.  It’s learning to stand on its own feet.  It’s learning to do what it needs.
I’ve been reading Jack London’s book, “The Sea Wolf” (1904), a story about a man who is thrown from a ferry boat in San Francisco bay, and ends up being rescued by a sailing vessel, a seal-hunting ship.  Instead of taking Humphrey Van Weyden back to San Francisco, the captain Wolf Larsen forces him to be his cabin boy, and the adventures begin.  Mr. Van Weyden was very much a wimpy sissy at the beginning of the book, but he’s learning some very hard lessons and is growing into a man.
In a way, this is Israel’s first battle victory on their way to entering into the Promised Land.
They might perhaps look at it later and think that it wasn’t really all that big of a battle considering what they would encounter later, but it was still a victory.
Take one battle at a time. One victory leads to another.

:34 We took all his cities at that time, and we utterly destroyed the men, women, and little ones of every city; we left none remaining.

:35 We took only the livestock as plunder for ourselves, with the spoil of the cities which we took.

:34 we utterly destroyed

Why such destruction against the Amorites?

It was a judgment by God, through Israel, against their sin.

Hundreds of years earlier, God had spoken to Abraham about his descendants, and told him that they would become slaves in a foreign land, but that after 400 years of slavery, God would bring them out –

(Ge 15:16) But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”
These were a wicked people.  By Moses’ time, God’s patience with the Amorites was all used up. God would be using the nation of Israel to bring judgment.

:36 From Aroer, which is on the bank of the River Arnon, and from the city that is in the ravine, as far as Gilead, there was not one city too strong for us; the LORD our God delivered all to us.

See map

:37 Only you did not go near the land of the people of Ammon—anywhere along the River Jabbok, or to the cities of the mountains, or wherever the LORD our God had forbidden us.