Israel is now at the gates of the Promised Land. Moses begins by recapping Israel’s journey to the point.
Themes: God keeps His promises; God always takes the lead in providing whether it be protection, care, sustenance, etc. His people are always recipient’s of His grace. His people never lead. He is specific in His promises and plans. The Law cannot take you into the Promised Land but only to the edge of it at best.
Verses 6 – 7 describe the boundaries of the Promised Land. Here and in Christian salvation God is specific and detailed about what He has promised. His promises have depth but they are not complicated.
Verse 8: God declares He is keeping His promise made to Israel’s fathers Abraham, Isaac & Jacob. God promised His Son He would receive the nations for His inheritance, Psalm 2:8, which is why we receive the blessing of salvation. In like manner did Israel receive the blessing of the Promise God made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Verses 9-18: Moses describes how he led Israel through the organization of the nation into thousands, hundreds fifties and tens and establishing judges over them.
Verses 19-25: Moses brings Israel to the boundary of the Promised Land. The wait is over. They simply need to go into the land to possess it or to settle it. Similarly for Christians the Promised Land, knowing God, is before us. However you must possess it yourself. That means believe it which comes from reading the Bible and praying daily.
Verses 26-33: Israel refuses to go into the land. They had apparently forgotten it was God who led them out of Egypt with mighty miracles; who led them through the desert in a cloud by day and fire by night and would lead them into the Promised Land.
Christians likewise forget it was Jesus who defeated our foe; who will also lead us through this life and therefore they return to their previous life.
Verse 34-40: God gets angry at Israel and says you are not going in but your children will. God was giving them His choicest gift at that time and they refused to receive it. His anger is just but He also tells them though you won’t receive it the Promised Land will still be taken but by your children. God often humiliates us in our rejection of Him to make us understand what we have done. Sin brings blindness and deafness to us therefore God works in us and around us so we can see and hear the significance of our actions.
Verses 41-46: Israel hears their rejection and thus they seek to take the land in their own strength. Of course they are soundly defeated because they failed to understand that God had been the One who had been giving them the victory over their enemies. Also instead of repenting, confessing they sinned against God and asking for His forgiveness, they took matters into their own hands.
Christians likewise forgetting it was Jesus who merited our victory often seek to take matters into our own hands whether it be get right with God or handle personal matters.
Our response to our sins is always repentance and confession to God and in personal matters seek His Word for guidance and His Spirit for power to follow the Word.