Sunday Nov 15, 2020

Deuteronomy 1:19-46

     The main point of this pericope is that the exodus generation of Israelites failed to obey God’s command to take possession of the land, and because of their unbelief, God withheld the blessing. Originally, God called His people to have faith and take possession of the land (Deut 1:19-21). The Israelites wanted to spy out the land (Ex 3:8; Lev 20:24), which was not wrong in itself; however, God had already done that, even describing the evil residents and the land itself (Lev 18:1-30; 20:1-27). Where God leads, His grace and power will sustain. However, negative volition, irrational fear, and grumbling caused them to distrust the Lord and perceive His love as hatred, even accusing God of desiring their destruction (Deut 1:26-27). The human-viewpoint report from ten of the spies spread among the people and the result was that they saw the land as unconquerable (Deut 1:28). Moses had the same facts as the Israelites, yet he interpreted them from faith, and this gave him strength in his soul. From a position of strength, Moses sought to dislodge their irrational fear by getting them to think historically and theologically, considering God’s past deliverances (Deut 1:29-31). But the Israelites did not trust the Lord, and their sin blinded them to the obvious provisions of God all around them (Deut 1:32-33), and the Lord became angry at their unbelief (Deut 1:34). Collective and self-induced amnesia dominated the people, as they forgot about God’s past acts of deliverance by means of plagues on Egypt, as well as the parting of the Red Sea (Psa 78:11, 42), and they ignored the current evidences of the cloud of smoke and fire, as well the daily provision of manna. They welcomed God’s gifts, but failed to recognize, praise, and serve the Giver. The result was a generation of believers who developed a sinful mindset and were called an “evil generation” (Deut 1:35). The two exceptions were Caleb and Joshua, who maintained their faith in God (Deut 1:36, 38). Moses’ act of unbelief meant he too would not enter the land (Deut 1:37); however, God promised to bring the second generation into the land (Deut 1:39). By their unbelief, the Israelites had forfeited the land, and God commanded them to turn around and head back into the wilderness (Deut 1:40). Though God’s decision was fixed, the people rebelled against Him again, presuming they could take the land (Deut 1:41). God warned them, saying, “Do not go up nor fight, for I am not among you; otherwise you will be defeated before your enemies” (Deut 1:42). But they “would not listen” (Deut 1:43a), and “rebelled against the command of the LORD, and acted presumptuously and went up into the hill country” (Deut 1:43). Their disobedience resulted in military defeat (Deut 1:44). Because they would not listen to the Lord, He would not listen to them (Deut 1:45; cf. Psa 66:18; Pro 28:9; Mic 3:4). God was not sympathetic to their self-induced pain which was caused by unbelief and rebellion against His commands. The result was that they remained in Kadesh for thirty-eight years, until that generation died off (Deut 1:46).

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