Text: Deuteronomy 1-3
OBSERVE – The book of Numbers ended with Israel on the plains of Moab, on the east side of the Jordan, across from the Canaanite city of Jericho (Numbers 36: 13). The book of Deuteronomy then follows functioning as a transitional book, both concluding the Torah and introducing the history of the nation recorded in Joshua through to 2 Kings. It is here on the plains of Moab where Deuteronomy begins and associated with this beginning are the elements of suspense, urgency and anticipation. The time to enter the land promised to Abraham is finally arriving. However, the man who has encouraged them to this point will not be joining the Israelites. Moses would however leave Joshua with the following charge: “You have seen for yourself everything the Lord your God has done to these two kings. He will do the same to all the kingdoms on the west side of the Jordan. Do not be afraid of the nations there, for the Lord your God will fight for you.” (Deuteronomy 3: 21-22).
INTERPRET – The Canaanites who occupied the land were fierce warriors, and it was clear that the people of Israel could never occupy the land in their own strength. The hand of their God, Yahweh, must deliver the land to them. Though the Canaanites would be tough fighters, the sovereign God promised to be with the Israelites and give them victory. Whether it was Moses or Joshua, the people needed to rely on their God who brought them out of Egypt and who defeated the kings in the Wilderness. Although the land was now within sight, reliance and dependence on their God was still needed to possess it, their strength would not be enough. No human leader would be able to accomplish this on their own.
APPLICATION – This charge from Moses to Joshua is very similar to the charge that Jesus gave to his followers. At the end of Matthew’s gospel, Jesus left his disciples with the following words: “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28: 18-20). Just as Israel was to enter Canaan confident in the power of God, we are to go into the world, making disciples and teaching the nations not to depart from the Word of God. And just as God would be with the Israelites, so too is Jesus with us. He will never leave us nor forsake us.
PRAYER – Lord Jesus; I am weak, but you are strong. I am confident that you are with me and that you go before me. I pray for courage, to be able to make you known to the world while reflecting your grace and love. I desire to expand your kingdom here on earth and I trust that you are going ahead of me and breaking down all spiritual barriers.
Reflection – Reflect on God’s promise to always be with us, even to the end of the age. How does this impact the way that you respond to the Great Commission (Matthew 28: 18-20)?
Song - See A Victory by Elevation Worship
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.