Themes: Back to the beginning; God keeps His promise; Possession of the Land.
Verse 1: After Israel’s defeat the Lord led Israel back towards the Red Sea symbolizing a return to where they began. They would be reminded of where the came from as they saw the Red Sea. They would remember passing through the Sea and the drowning of Egyptians. They would remember their days in Egypt. All of this leading to tremendous regret that they did not heed the directions of the Lord to enter the Promised Land.
They were going to learn ‘the hard way’ what it means to follow the Lord. This happens in our Christian life when we fail to follow the Lord’s teachings. You have to learn the lessons. There is no skipping a lesson and ‘fast tracking’ your maturity. So Israel was now sentenced to 40 years of sanctification in the desert.
Verses 2-6: The Lord instructs Israel to not fight the descendants of Esau because He had given them the land of Seir. In case Israel was tempted to settle too soon the Lord said No. Keep moving. This land is for someone else. Your land is the best land.
Our Christian life has the same temptation: to settle down in the wrong land. Our land is in heaven where Jesus sits at the right hand of God. Our charge like Israel is to persevere to reach this Promised Land and not stop too soon.
Verse 7: Moses reminds Israel that the Lord cared for them for 40 years. Like us part of our sanctification is to teach us the Lord cares for us and not to consider that He doesn’t.
Verses 8-13, 17-24: the Lord tells Israel to keep moving through the lands. This is further reinforcement that He has the Promised Land for them; that there are many tempting locations to settle into; and that He is guiding them to the Land.
Verses: 14 – 16: the Lord reiterates He is keeping His promise to prohibit the generation that refused to go into the Promised Land from entering it.
Verses 24-37: The Lord begins to give Israel their land. He does this by stirring up Sihon King of Heshbon to fight. He also brings His fear upon the nations.
The lesson here is Christians don’t need to fight everyone but the Lord will determine who to fight and give us the victory when there is the fight.
What’s the lesson Israel should have learned 40 years earlier? The Lord cares for them and gives them the victory so keep moving into the Promised Land.