23.5 Moses 23, Day 5

Defeating the Giants

After a great deal of traveling about, the Hebrews come to land occupied by the Amorites.  This was land the Amorites had taken from the Moabites in battle.  In fact, these Kings of the Amorites were conquering kings.

Unlike the King of Moab who rallied his troops in a defensive position to protect their land from their fear of trespassing Jews, Sihon brought out his army to attack – to vainly oppose both the people of God and God Himself.

Like all who take this position – he was defeated.

Next the Israelites turned toward Bashan.  Now, it is important to note, that there was no way around.  For God to bring them across the Jordan river into the Promised Land, they would have to travel this country.  And, like Sihon, Og king of Bashan marched out to meet them.

A little background on Og.  The name Og means giant. Deuteronomy 3:11 says, “Og king of Bashan was the last of the Rephaites. His bed was decorated with iron and was more than nine cubits long and four cubits wide. It is still in Rabbah of the Ammonites”.  That would place his height somewhere between 9 and 12 feet tall.   The Jews were now facing an army led by the giants they feared so much that it had kept them out of the promised land.

Moses turns to God and God tells him to not be afraid because, “I have delivered him into your hands.”  Notice that He does not say I might deliver him, or even I will deliver him, but that I have delivered it – past tense – done deal.  Og lost the battle before it had ever begun because the faithful Hebrews turned first to God and not to fear.

As a result, for the first time since leaving Egypt, the Jews took possession of land.  They were no longer grasshoppers – they were giant slayers.

What giants are still in your life?  What do you still fear?  Are you running away from fears or running to God?

 

My Answers:

9.
a.
The Edomites were in land given to them.  The Amorites were in land they took from others.  Both denied them passage, both came out to meet them, but in the second case they were not restrained by God and instead they had God’s strength upon them

b.
Built them as a fighting unit, battle experience, success, confidence, training of military leaders, and it gave them a place to rest and dwell instead of constantly moving about in the wilderness

c.
Helping share the gospel at work and at home.  Helping support families in raising Godly children.  Working with kids to share God’s love for them.

10.
a.
Both were bullies, conquerers.  They lived by the sword – they had no issue fighting this rag-tag group of nomads who retreated from Edom.  They had full confidence in their armies and cities.

b.
There are still bullies, those in a position of strength who use it to bully and subdue and conquer others, burning churches, persecuting children

11.
a.
Do not be afraid of him, for I have delivered him into your hands (past tense), along with his whole army and his land.

b.
on my knees, relying on His strength.

23.4 Moses 23, Day 4

Un-Complicated

One of the stumbling blocks of Christianity is that it is too simple – it is not complicated enough.  You would think this would be a good thing, but it really can trip people up.

To live after being bitten by a venomous snake the Jews had to look at the snake on the stick.  That was it.  Period.

But put yourself in their shoes.  Isn’t that too easy?  Wouldn’t you feel better about it is it had more requirements or it was harder?  You know, maybe if at certain times of the day you had to face in a certain direction and say certain words.  Now that would be better, right?  Or if there was certain penance you had to live out to make up for your wrongs of the past?  Or maybe a requirement that you pay a certain price, a real cost, either monetarily or physically – nothing brings feeling better about being healed than a good case of suffering, right?

But that is not God’s plan.  He turns to us and says, I love you, I want you, come to Me, turn to Me, cast your eyes on My son and I will give you life.

How are you making it more complicated so you feel better?  Are you “doing things for God” out of obligation, trying to add to Christ’s saving grace with your good deeds?

God wants your obedience, but only the obedience of a loving and grateful heart.  God wants you to give things over to Him, but only through adoration and praise.  If you are doing it for yourself, then it isn’t for God.  Don’t make it harder than it is, just turn and believe and live.

My Answers:

7.
a.
Make a snake and put it on a pole, anyone who is bitten can look at it and live

b.
Graven image – crafting an image, especially one of a snake/serpent, 2 Kings 18:4 Hezekiah destroys it because people are worshiping it

8.
a.
The Son of Man must be lifted up like the way that Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness so that all who believe can have eternal life.  The image of the snake on a pole was a foreshadowing of the sin of the world being laid upon Christ’s body on the cross as He was lifted up to die for us.

b.
Solid and growing – I hope someday to have a faith as un-bending as that I see demonstrated in the children I teach.

23.3 Moses 23, Day 3

Snake on a Stick

From Mount Hor to the Red Sea the detouring Israelites grew impatient.  When they grew impatient they grumbled, speaking against God and Moses.

The free food that God was providing for them daily, which nourished them without their need to till the soul was “detestable, miserable food.”

It would be like approaching a parent and saying, “all you give me is love and shelter and feed and clothe me and provide for my every need.  It is horrible.”

As a loving parent, you would like to set the reset button if your child did that and give them a glimpse of what horrible is actually like, while still showing your love for them.  I think they call that “tough love.”

That’s what God delivers, in the form of venomous snakes.

And the people respond correctly.  They confess that they sinned and they repent.  They ask Moses to pray that the Lord will take away the snakes.

God, does one better, He gives them a lesson about salvation.  He has Moses form the image of a snake on his staff and put it on a pole.  When anyone is bitten they need only look at the bronze snake and they lived.

Let’s break this last part down because it can be a little bit confusing.  If this is meant to be a foreshadowing of Christ raised up on the cross, why is it a snake?  Why did looking on it heal them?  Isn’t this the creation of a graven image?

It is a lesson about Christ.  He would be raised up on the cross.  But Jesus is not the snake.  Snakes have normally been used to represent Satan and wickedness.  But when Jesus was raised up on the cross and the sacrificial lamb he laid down his life and, through grace, descended fully from His kingdom to be a Son of Man.  When Jesus the man was raised up on the stake He carried with him all the sin of the world, dating back to the first sin in the garden and including all sin of all mankind of all time.

There was nothing the Hebrews did to heal themselves.  No special words or practices.  No medicine or magic.  One simple thing – they had to turn to this gift from God.  To do so was a profession of faith, simply because it doesn’t make sense.  Looking at something with your eyes can’t physically cure a snake bite with poisonous venom streaming through your blood.  But turning your eyes and heart to Jesus is the only way to have life, real life, ever lasting life.

But what about it being a graven image.  I’m sure this was a concern.  But God allowed and instructed Moses to use it as a teaching and healing tool with the Israelites.  The crosses we hang in our homes and churches and around our necks are a reminder, a teaching tool about the gift of salvation of our Lord Jesus.  They are not to be worshipped.  We learn in 2 Kings 18:4 that King Hezekiah was forced to destroy this bronze snake because the people had begun to worship it, burning incense to it.

I think it is amazing that this same snake is today the symbol of medicine.  The American Medical Association logo includes the snake on a stick as a symbol of healing.

https://i2.wp.com/www.transworldsystems.com/cmss_files/imagelibrary/AMA%20Logo%20for%20website.jpg

 

My Answers:

4.
They did not have a fight with Edom nor were they to take any of their land

5.
a.
They were impatient, downtrodden, making themselves miserable

b.
God

c.
Venomous snakes were sent among them – bit and many people died

6.
a.
They confessed their sin and repented – asked Moses to pray for them to God

b.
Confess our sins, God is faithful and just and He’ll forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness

 

23.2 Moses 23, Day 2

No man left behind

This wandering group of Israelites, time and again, has proven unfaithful.  They grumble.  They disobey.  They grumble some more.  They’ve risen up against God’s appointed leaders.  They continuously choose the wrong path, but God does not remove the correct path from them.

But I’m getting ahead.  First, the Hebrews continue to wander the in the wilderness.  Along the way they head toward the “road to Atharim” and encounter a King of Canaan who is living in the Negev.

As the people have been traveling through the Negev we continue to think of it as a desert, a wilderness, an area largely uninhabited where they occasionally find themselves missing access to drinking water.  But at the very southern tip of the Negev is an area including modern day Eilat.  Eilat is a resort city with a population of 20,000 people.  It is dry, arid land along side a beautiful calm sea.  While it rains less than 6 days of the year, there historically have been plentiful fresh water springs and the area was on a major trade route called the King’s Highway.

The Jews are not looking for a fight.  They have no history of battle since leaving Egypt.  But Arad makes a pre-emptive strike.  It is apparent he seeks more to demoralize the Hebrews rather than expend the resources to defeat them, sending a message repeated by bullies everywhere: I am bigger than you are and I can punch you and take what I want from you at any time and you are weak and powerless to do anything about it.

But the Israelites did something that would surprise everyone.  When their loved ones were captured, they didn’t focus on themselves, they focused on those they had lost and turned to God for help.  God did not block them – He welcomed them onto the correct path.  They promised to consecrate the people, the cities and the land to Him, and He gave them victory.

The victory wasn’t for the Israelites, it was for God.  The Israelites did not occupy this area at this time, they continued to move on.  They honored their brothers and sisters by honoring God and God reunited them.

Which of your brothers and sisters have been captured by the enemy?  Which of your neighbors?  Are you calling on God for victory to win them over from the enemy or have you given up on them?

It is a code of honor in many military commands that no soldier is left behind.  Every effort is made to bring them back to reunite with their family.

God is our creator and all of us are His family.  Who are you “leaving behind”?  It is not by your strength they will be won, but by God’s strength.  It is not your history of deeds (either good or evil), but your choice right now that makes a difference to God.  Confess, Repent and turn yourself and them over to God’s saving power.

Also – Wouldn’t Hormah be a killer name for a Christian Rock Band?

 

My Answers:

3.
a.
Grumble.  Turn to despair and fear and their victim mentality

b.
1. He listened, 2. He gave the Canaanites over to them (they completely destroyed both them and their towns – Hormah = Destruction (great name for a rock band!)

c.
concerns over major purchases and health issues, business issues, competition, growth, right partners