Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Thoughts in Deuteronomy

"'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.'' (Deuteronomy 2:19, ESV)

"Even wicked men must not be wronged. God gives and preserves outward blessings to wicked men; these are not the best things, he has better in store for his own children." - Matthew Henry

If the land of Canaan across the Jordan is a picture to believers of the heavenly promised land and everlasting rest, than the land traversed east of the Jordan may be a picture of the believer's sojourn through this world. In this world, the people of God are not given to triumph over everything and to own all they see. They must be content to see unbelievers living in comfort and security, to see opportunities for advancement here and now pass by them, because they are on their way to the better country. There will be victories here and provision here, as the Lord gave the Amorites into Israel's hand (2:24), but we are to be content with one or the other as long as we may travel onward to the better land.

Even in the instance of Israel conquering some lands east of the Jordan, they were to go about the deed in a passive and civil way, saying "Let me pass through your land. I will only go by the road" (2: 27) letting the victory come to them simply as God should send it. Whereas, in the conquering of the cities of Canaan, they were to go about the conquest with fierce activity. So also, believers are to seek first the kingdom of God, to be in the matter of entering heaven as the violent who storm the gate by force, cutting off hands and eyes that might hinder them, giving up all that they might have Christ, and taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ; but in matters of the present, earthly life, they are to be content with plenty or hunger, abundance or need; to be anxious for nothing but trust that all needful things will be added to them by their heavenly Father. Canaan is to be had at all cost. Christ has gained it for us and we follow Him in his victory march, so let us not fret that Esau should have Seir or that Ammon have Moab, so long as we shall arrive in God's country ere long.

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