God’s victories for the Hebrew nation are a good picture of how he works throughout history.
We study this slice of history to build our faith in God’s love and power.
Obstacles to the Promised Land
As the Israelites were about to enter the promised land, they knew there would be significant challenges.
— Deuteronomy 9.1-2 – “Hear, O Israel! You are about to cross the Jordan today, to go in and dispossess nations larger and mightier than you, great cities, fortified to the heavens,
“A strong and tall people, the offspring of the Anakim, whom you know. You have heard it said of them, “Who can stand up to the Anakim?”
Powerful people, fortified cities, and the Anakim were not welcoming committees for the new inhabitants of the promised land. They were enemies who must be defeated before the nation could settle in the land.
Every era in history has obstacles. It seems that current events are particularly daunting.
— History-making hurricanes and forest fires.
— A pandemic that has infected 219 million persons with 4.5 million fatalities.
— Major stress on the world economy.
— The migration of persons and immigration problems.
— The lack of respect among persons in the public sphere.
— Increasing crime and violence.
— An epidemic of drug addiction and death.
When the Hebrew nation first considered the obstacles to entry into the promised land, they shrank away in fear.
Moses recalled their reaction, “But you were unwilling to go up. You rebelled against the command of the Lord your God;
“You grumbled in your tents and said, ‘It is because the Lord hates us that he has brought us out of the land of Egypt, to hand us over to the Amorites to destroy us.
‘Where are we headed? Our kindred have made our hearts melt by reporting, The people are stronger and taller than we; the cities are large and fortified up to heaven! We actually saw there the offspring of the Anakim!'” (Deuteronomy 1.26-28).
If we evaluate the obstacles before us through the lens of our abilities, we will be unwilling to face them. We will probably end up with the faithless, who grumble and complain.
The Lord’s Victory
The Anakim of Moses’ day were giants and were a formidable challenge to the smaller Hebrew soldiers. Yet, there is no one or nothing that can stand in the way of God’s might.
— Deuteronomy 9.3 – Know then today that the Lord your God is the one who crosses over before you as a devouring fire; he will defeat them and subdue them before you, so that you may dispossess and destroy them quickly, as the Lord has promised you.
The way that I apply the truth of the principle of God’s victorious power is to remember the feeding of the 5000.
Before a hungry crowd of 5000 people, Jesus tested Philip and asked him where they could find food for the crowd.
Philip answered Jesus and said, “Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little” (John 6.7).
When I look at obstacles or difficult circumstances, I often tell the Lord that if I give my all I will only be able to provide a little help.
Once Jesus blessed the “little” that the disciples offered him, the result was an abundance that included leftovers needing to be gathered (John 6.11-13).
When I give Jesus the “little” that I have to offer, I ask him to bless it and make it abundant and will supply what is needed.
Just as God brought the Hebrew people into the promised land and Jesus fed 5000 persons, God has supplied what is needed when I asked him.
This is a principle that God wants us all to apply to our lives on a regular basis. The Bible is filled with examples of God’s victories to encourage our faith.
Defeat of the Nations
God promised his people that they would thrust out the nations before them.
— Deuteronomy 9.4-5 – When the Lord your God thrusts them out before you, do not say to yourself, “It is because of my righteousness that the Lord has brought me in to occupy this land”; it is rather because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is dispossessing them before you.
It is not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart that you are going in to occupy their land; but because of the wickedness of these nations the Lord your God is dispossessing them before you, in order to fulfill the promise that the Lord made on oath to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
Rudy Ross pointed out something to me in today’s YouTube video that I had not considered.
The wickedness of the Canaanite people was the reason why the Hebrews were to drive them from the land. Rudy reminded me in today’s video that God used the Assyrians and Babylonians to drive the Israelites from the land in 700 B.C. because of their wickedness.
This should be a warning for us. Even if God has blessed a nation in the past with his grace, wickedness will not be tolerated. It would unjust of God to punish one nation for its sin and overlook the evil of another.
God’s Plan for Victory
I frequently quote Jesus’ words in John 15, because they are so revealing about the path to victory.
— John 15.4-5 – “Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.”
The Israelites would only be victorious in the quest for the promised land if they lived in a loving and obedient relationship with God.
We will only be successful in any endeavor if we live in an abiding relationship with Jesus.
— John 15.6 – Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.
Just as wicked nations were thrust out of the land, those who live apart from an abiding relationship with Jesus will wither and experience spiritual death.
— John 15.7-8 – If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.
Humans turn the little we have to offer God into abundance when we unite with Jesus and ask his help. God’s character is revealed through our actions when this takes place.
About this Blog
Rudy Ross and I have visited for many years about the Bible. You can listen to our discussion of this passage today on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.
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