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    Jan 22, 2023

    God is Faithful

    Passage: Deuteronomy 2:1-22

    Preacher: Jess Achenbach

    Series: Deuteronomy

    Category: Old Testament

    Keywords: discipline, law, faithfulness


    God is faithful to to keep his promises, in our relationships, our needs, and to discipline.


    Deuteronomy 2

    January 22nd, 2023


    There are so many truths to be gathered from the texts in the Old Testament, but we so often just camp in the New Testament.  I am guilty of this too, there seems to a lot of work to pull out meaning and application from the text in the Old Testament.


    The last couple of years, I have seen so many arguments on the internet and television and the Bible as different moral issues have become politicized.  Topics such as abortion, and homosexuality, particularly homosexuality where there are severe consequences. 

    Leviticus 20:13 “If a man practices homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman, both men have committed a detestable act. They must both be put to death, for they are guilty of a capital offense. The argument they use is that Christians pick and choose what they want to condemn, because there are laws that say don’t eat shellfish, or don’t mix two different types of cloths.


    Leviticus 11:7-8 And the pig, because it parts the hoof and is cloven-footed but does not chew the cud, is unclean to you.

    You shall not eat any of their flesh, and you shall not touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you.

    19:19 “You shall keep my statutes. You shall not let your cattle breed with a different kind. You shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor shall you wear a garment of cloth made of two kinds of material

     The Bible does say those things, but do they apply to us?  If they don’t apply to us, then why do we even read the Old Testament?  The Pentateuch the first five books of the Bible that were written by Moses, cover three types of Laws.  I remember them because of Hockey.  CCM Canadian Cycle and Motor - CCM make most of the hockey sporting supplies, sticks, skates etc. 


    The first C is for Ceremonial Law.  These are the laws that are about

    1. Cleaning house of leper (Lev. 14:33-57; 5:2)
    2. Festivals ( 23:1-25; Nu. 29:39)
    3. Laws on animals for food ( 11:1-47)
    4. Law of Atonement ( 16:1-28;17:1-16)
    5. Offerings ( 29:39)
    6. Priest, consecration of ( 29:1-46)
    7. Priestly duties ( 7:1-37)
    8. Regulations for Priests ( 21,22)
    9. Various sacrificial offerings for sin ( 1,2,3,4,5,6)

    The second C is for Civil Law:

    1. Be just with the poor, ( 19:15)
    2. Cattle, of neighbor ( 22:1-4)
    3. Children, rebellious ( 21:18-21)
    4. Debt ( 23:34-43; Deut. 31:10)
    5. Divorce ( 22:19)
    6. Dress, attire ( 22:5)
    7. Inheritance ( 18:26; 26:53-56; 36:8-12)
    8. Justice practices ( 24:17-23)
    9. Kidnapping (Exodus 21:16)
    10. Landmarks (Deuteronomy 19:14)
    11. Property redemption ( 25)
    12. Murder and killing ( 21:1-4)
    13. Retain just scales in commerce ( 19:35f)
    14. Robbery, extortion, false witness, and restitution ( 6:1-7)
    15. Sabbath breaking punishment ( 15:32-36)
    16. Theft ( 5:19; Lev. 19:11)
    17. Warfare ( 20:1-20)

    And the M is for Moral Law:

    1. Idolatry ( 26:1-13)
    2. Love God ( 6:4)
    3. Love your neighbor as yourself ( 19:18)
    4. Oppress your neighbor ( 19:13)
    5. Stealing or lying ( 19:11)
    6. Sacrifice children to Molech forbidden ( 20:1-5)
    7. Sexual sins: adultery, incest, bestiality, homosexuality, etc. ( 18:20; 20:9-21; Num. 5:12-15)

    The Civil laws and the Ceremonial laws expired in the New Testament, but the Moral laws have no expiration because they are based on God’s character.  Footnote (This list is from CARM.org - Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry)

    Some of the different items are on more than one group of laws.  For example, robbery, it is listed on the civil law, but also on the moral law.  The civil law explained the punishment to be done by the governing authorities in the Israelite leadership.  But it is also on the Moral law list, because it is something that God does not do or condone. 

    My message today is not about the laws but to bring light to the fact that there is a reason why we study the Old Testament, there is so much value in understanding God’s relationship with the chosen people, mainly because the image we see of the Israelites is like an example of the believer.

    Israelites coming out of Egypt is a picture of the believer coming out of the world in to a walk with the Lord.  Entering the promised land is an image of walking into the center of God’s will.

    I have to be honest though, my excitement to preach through Deuteronomy was not very high, when we picked it out, but as I have been listening to John these last couple of weeks, and now, going through chapter two this week, it has brought a fresh new understanding of the text and more importantly truths of application that I was able to find.

    Let’s pray, and then I am going to quickly recap where we are in the book and then continue through chapter 2.



    We learned two weeks ago at the intro to this book that Moses is speaking to the Israelites right before they are going to cross over the river.  Moses is looking back and drawing out lessons and encouragement from what happened in the desert.

    They have just defeated Sihon the king of the Amorites and Og the king of Bashen.  They are on the cusp of entering into the Promised Land and Moses is recounting their journey for the last 40 years. 


    The Israelites had left Mt Sinai and headed to the land of Ammon.  They stopped there, sent in the spies, went against the Lord, and rebelled. God cursed them with the 40-year delay, but they said, well let’s go anyway into Ammon.  But they were driven back and ended up in the dessert where they spent the bulk of the next 38ish years.

    This brings us to Chapter 2.  Moses recalls the next phase, and it is really chapter two and three, but we are going to cover the first half of that here in chapter 2.




    The basic chronology of events in the wilderness journey: (length of time between stops)
    · Passover to Crossing Red Sea: 24 days [the 25th day if 14 Nissan is Day 1]
    · Arrive at Desert of Sin: 7 days [32nd day]
    · Arrive at Mount Sinai: 16 days [48th day] [61st day of Civil Year]
    · Tabernacle Set Up at Mount Sinai: 300 days (10 months) [348th day]
    · Leave Mount Sinai: 49 days (7 weeks) [397th day]
    · Journey to Kadesh Barnea: 311 days (10.4 months) [708th day]
    · Wandering around Kadesh Barnea: 13,590 days (453 months) (37.75 years)
    · Arrive in Canaan / Cross Jordan River: 609 days (20.3 months)
    Credit: Bible.ca http://www.bible.ca/archeology/bible-archeology-exodus-route.htm)


    We must understand that the people that Moses is speaking to are the new leaders.  They were 20 years or younger when they began the wilderness journey and everything that Moses is about to talk about in chapter 2 happened in the last two and a half years.  It is not something that happened when they were little, or stories that they heard about, this is fresh for them.

    Moses is going to recount their interaction with three different people groups.  Let’s read. 

    Deut 2:5-6 Do not contend with them, for I will not give you any of their land, no, not so much as for the sole of the foot to tread on, because I have given Mount Seir to Esau as a possession. You shall purchase food from them with money, that you may eat, and you shall also buy water from them with money, that you may drink.

    Deut 2:9 And the LORD said to me, ‘Do not harass Moab or contend with them in battle, for I will not give you any of their land for a possession, because I have given Ar to the people of Lot for a possession.’

    Deut 2:19 And when you approach the territory of the people of Ammon, do not harass them or contend 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 sons of Lot for a possession.’

    We have three different people groups that they encountered here.  And we see that God had done something for these people. They were commanded to leave these people alone because God had given them this land.  What do you think could be some of the principles that Moses is trying to encourage them with about this passage.  It goes beyond the fact that they were to pay them for the food and water, but that God took care of these people that he was not in direct covenant with, how much more will he take care of his own people?

    We see in verses 9-12 And the LORD said to me, ‘Do not harass Moab or contend with them in battle, for I will not give you any of their land for a possession, because I have given Ar to the people of Lot for a possession.’

    (The Emim formerly lived there, a people great and many, and tall as the Anakim. Like the Anakim they are also counted as Rephaim, but the Moabites call them Emim. The Horites also lived in Seir formerly, but the people of Esau dispossessed them and destroyed them from before them and settled in their place, as Israel did to the land of their possession, which the LORD gave to them.

    We have a number of different people listed: The Horites, The Emim, The Anakim, Rephaim – called Zamzummim.  These people are the giants, we will see in chapter 3 a description of one of them, that he was roughly 13.5 feet tall.

    The Israelites are about to enter into the promised land that is full of Giants and bad characters, and they are hearing about these shirttail relatives, and how God had cleared out the people for them and now this belonged to them, the Israelites were not to touch it.  And if he did it for them, how much more will he take care of his chosen people.

    Application #1.  God is Faithful to keep His Promises: When we are living in God’s will, no matter how difficult a task appears, or how tall the giants seem, God is able to win any battle.  He has done it before, and He can do it again.

    You may be facing a giant of your own today, it can feel like there is no hope in sight.  You are lost, maybe you have gone up against the issue or relationship trouble, financial or health struggle.. What ever it is, God has dealt with it before and he is able to again.

    However, there is a lot more to this story.  Moses is leaving out a major part of what actually happened.  If I am just reading this alone, I would think that they went up, offered to pay, and then went on through with no problems.  Verse 4 gives us a hint about the truth of the situation:

    Deut 2:4 and command the people, “You are about to pass through the territory of your brothers, the people of Esau, who live in Seir; and they will be afraid of you. So be very careful.

    Numbers Chapter 20:14-21 is where we find the full story of what took place when they approached the Edomites.

    Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom: “Thus says your brother Israel: You know all the hardship that we have met:

    how our fathers went down to Egypt, and we lived in Egypt a long time. And the Egyptians dealt harshly with us and our fathers.

    And when we cried to the LORD, he heard our voice and sent an angel and brought us out of Egypt. And here we are in Kadesh, a city on the edge of your territory.

    Please let us pass through your land. We will not pass through field or vineyard, or drink water from a well. We will go along the King’s Highway. We will not turn aside to the right hand or to the left until we have passed through your territory.”

    But Edom said to him, “You shall not pass through, lest I come out with the sword against you.”

    And the people of Israel said to him, “We will go up by the highway, and if we drink of your water, I and my livestock, then I will pay for it. Let me only pass through on foot, nothing more.”

    But he said, “You shall not pass through.” And Edom came out against them with a large army and with a strong force.

    Thus Edom refused to give Israel passage through his territory, so Israel turned away from him.

    Edom refused to give them passage, very aggressively in fact, they came out with a large are and a strong force.

    It says in verse 4 that God says the Edomites would be afraid of them, but not to take anything.  I guess that having a couple million people walk through your country could be frightening, but is there any other reason why the Edomites wouldn’t trust the Israelites? 

    Who was Edom descended from? If you remember the story of Jacob and Esau you could say that they had a reason to not trust Jacob people.  They had a long memory and were holding a bit of a grudge.  God honors his promise to Esau, but in the end there will be justice.

    There is a small book in the Old Testament called Obadiah.  It is only one chapter long, but it tells of the destruction of Edom.  I want to read just two verses from that book:

    The chapter is titled “Edom will be humbled”

    Verse 7 All your allies have All driven you to your border; those at peace with you have deceived you;
    they have prevailed against you; those who eat your bread have set a trap beneath you—you have no understanding.

    And verse 18 The house of Jacob shall be a fire,
    and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau stubble;
    they shall burn them and consume them, and there shall be no survivor for the house of Esau, for the LORD has spoken.

    After refusing to give them food, God punishes them.

    Why do you think that Moses would leave out this part of the story when telling it to them?  Again, this was a relatively fresh memory, within the last couple of years.  The consequences of being turned away must have been difficult.

    When we look at the full version in Numbers chapter 20 we see that Moses calls Edom “brother”, he reminds them that are related and yet they were turned away because the Edomites refused to forgive the wrong that Jacob did to Esau.  Moses leaves this part out because he doesn’t want the Israelites to become like them.  He didn’t want the people to hold a record of wrongs like the Edomites did- which brought about their own destruction.

    APPLICATION #2 GOD IS FAITHFUL IN OUR RELATIONSHIPS: You might conflict with a close friend, even someone that is as close as a brother.  Perhaps they have abandoned you, turned you away.  You came to them seeking to reconcile and make amends, but instead they back at you ready for war.  Remember God is Faithful, and he will continue to care for you.  Having relationship issues is difficult, and we need to look and see where we play a part in any wrongdoing. Moses doesn’t bring up Jacob wronging Esau, nor does he bring up Edom making them walk around their territory, but He is faithful to what God called him to do in that relationship.  I am going through a relationship issue myself, and this passage allowed me to be reminded that I have done what I was called to do, and now it is in God’s hands.

    Deut 2:7 For the LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He knows your going through this great wilderness. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you. You have lacked nothing.”

    Deut 8:4 “Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years.”

    Again we remember that God provides for all of our needs.  That doesn’t always look like we think it should but God is faithful. The Israelites were not thrilled with the manna that they were eating but it was sufficient for their needs.

    I have to share this story, and I asked the others if this would be ok.  This last year has been rough financially for many of us, and so Andrew, Bob and I talked to the MLT about perhaps taking on a bit of side work outside of the ministry here at Mosaic, but also we began to pray.  I take time here to point out the financial part on your bulletin.  I deliberately left the Month on November, because that is the time that all of this was taking place.  You can see here that the ministry had spent 50k more than God had provided and we began to pray that he would be faithful in His provision for the Ministry.  God moved and all three pastors have been provided for, and Mosaic finished out the year 10-15 thousand dollars in the black- I am still working out the final details.

    Being turned away from the Edomites, they eventually made their way around and they came to the Moabites.  These are the descendants of Lot – also their relatives.  They received similar instructions on how to approach them, not to take their land, to pay for the food and water with money.  Yet again they are turned away. 

    And there is a portion that is left out of this retelling.  The Edomites didn’t just turn them away they tried to hire a prophet to come and curse the Israelites.

    Numbers 22:3-6 And Moab was in great dread of the people, because they were many. Moab was overcome with fear of the people of Israel.

    And Moab said to the elders of Midian, “This horde will now lick up all that is around us, as the ox licks up the grass of the field.” So Balak the son of Zippor, who was king of Moab at that time,

    sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor at Pethor, which is near the River[fn] in the land of the people of Amaw,[fn] to call him, saying, “Behold, a people has come out of Egypt. They cover the face of the earth, and they are dwelling opposite me.

    Come now, curse this people for me, since they are too mighty for me. Perhaps I shall be able to defeat them and drive them from the land, for I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed.”

    Numbers 23:7-12

    And Balaam took up his discourse and said,
    “From Aram Balak has brought me,
    the king of Moab from the eastern mountains:
    ‘Come, curse Jacob for me,
    and come, denounce Israel!’

    How can I curse whom God has not cursed?
    How can I denounce whom the LORD has not denounced?

    For from the top of the crags I see him,
    from the hills I behold him;
    behold, a people dwelling alone,
    and not counting itself among the nations!

    Who can count the dust of Jacob
    or number the fourth part of Israel?
    Let me die the death of the upright,
    and let my end be like his!”

    And Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I took you to curse my enemies, and behold, you have done nothing but bless them.”

    And he answered and said, “Must I not take care to speak what the LORD puts in my mouth?”

    Two more times King Balak took the prophet Balaam to curse them and each time was a blessing.

    God can turn evil into good!  While he allowed the Israelites to be turned away and go the long way around, it was all a part of the plan that He had for them.  Sometimes what we see as a curse can be turned into a blessing.  If I look at the pastors, we were wanting to go out and find other work, our month was more than our money so to speak, yet God allowed us to come to the point of need so that He could show His mighty blessing in our provision, and our faith has grown.

    Application #3 GOD IS FAITHFUL TO PROVIDE FOR OUR PHYSICAL NEEDS: Sometimes things that seem like a curse turn into a blessing.

    Some of the 1st generation that had rebelled against God were alive when this second “turning away” happened.   We then we see after they were rejected from crossing through the land of Moab they cross over the brook Zered and the last of the 1st generation has died out by the time they cross the brook.

    We are talking about God’s faithfulness and we see that He even took care of the rebellious Israelites that rejected the promise land.  For the next 38 years he provided manna and water.

    Which brings us to our third application.


    God is faithful to care for us even in after our rebellion, but there is a consequence for sin, and God will discipline us out of His love.

    This is highlighted later on in the book of Deuteronomy:

    Deut 8:3-5 And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

    Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years.

    Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the LORD your God disciplines you.

    Discipline is hard, but it is much easier to accept when there is a repentant heart.  As a parent when I have a child that breaks the rules and is truly sorry about what they did, it is more painful for me as a parent to dish out the consequences and easier for me to show mercy.  The balance of showing mercy but also having a healthy consequence is hard for me to do, but we see God doing that here.  He provided for the rebellious people for 40 years but wouldn’t allow them to enter into the promised land.

    Candice and I have recently accepted a child from foster care into our home, a child that has apparently never been disciplined. Being 4 ½ year old boy without discipline is tough.  Children crave consistency and they thrive with structure, however when the will is strong and he is not getting his way, life can be crazy.  Yesterday I was trying to work on the sermon and the child screamed for 90 minutes strait.  At the top of his voice.  He was miserable and so were we.  I guess there is a reason the Israelites were called the Children of Israel.  Emphasis on the word Children.

    In Deuteronomy 2:14 we see this being played out with the first generation that is dying off.

    Deut 2:14

    And the time from our leaving Kadesh-barnea until we crossed the brook Zered was thirty-eight years, until the entire generation, that is, the men of war, had perished from the camp, as the LORD had sworn to them.

    For indeed the hand of the LORD was against them, to destroy them from the camp, until they had perished.

    Something happened in their past just prior to the coming to this location. It was after  being turned away Edom I want you to remember the location the Brook at Zered while I read this next passage from Numbers 21:

    NUMBERS 21:4-12

    From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way.

    And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.”

    Then the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died.

    And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you. Pray to the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.

    And the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.”

    So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.

    And the people of Israel set out and camped in Oboth.

    And they set out from Oboth and camped at Iye-abarim, in the wilderness that is opposite Moab, toward the sunrise.

    From there they set out and camped in the Valley of Zered.

    God’s discipline for the rebellion when the spies came back was to curse the people with death, never being able to enter the promised land.  His discipline for the complaining against Moses about the manna and their impatience at having to go around the territory they though they would be able to walk through was fiery snakes that apparently hastened the death of the first generation because the last of them had passed away by the time they had crossed over the brook of Zered.  This is where we see a connection.  The snakes happened between being turned away from the Edomites and then the Moabites.

    But we see two kinds of discipline, one that is final and one that has an escape.  The first one was a curse of never seeing the land and wandering, the second one there was a way of escape the Israelites needed to turn away from their own place and look to the serpent in order to be saved.

    When our little dude was screaming yesterday, he was mad that we took away a toy that he had thrown in anger.  We had warned him to stop throwing, which made him mad and so he threw it again.  The consequence was that in order to get the toy back, he needed to stop screaming and ask please to have the toy back- which he refused to do for 90 minutes.

    How much of our life are we going to spend being disciplined sojourning in the desert.

    Jesus is our bronze serpent, when we turn to him, rejecting our sinful self we find forgiveness and holiness.  The problem is so often that we are screaming and angry like a 4.5 year old child, unwilling to do the simple thing and let go of our sin.

    Take action, don’t live in your wilderness any longer that you need to.  God is faithful to discipline, but he is calling you to himself.  His desire is to see you living in the center of His will, in your promised land.  You might yet have giants to face, but remember this:  God is Faithful.

    So here are the four points again.


    When we are living in God’s will, no matter how difficult a task appears, or how tall the giants seem, God is able to win any battle.  He has done it before, and He can do it again.


    You might conflict with a close friend, even someone that is as close as a brother.  Perhaps they have abandoned you, turned you away.  You came to them seeking to reconcile and make amends, but instead they back at you ready for war.  Remember God is Faithful, and he will continue to care for you. 


    Sometimes things that seem like a curse are turned into a blessing.


    God is faithful to care for us even in after our rebellion, but there is a consequence for sin, and God will discipline us out of His love.