Tuesday after the Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Deuteronomy 1:37—2:15 (NKJV)
1:37 “The LORD was also angry with me for your sakes, saying, ‘Even you shall not go in there; 38 Joshua the son of Nun, who stands before you, he shall go in there. Encourage him, for he shall cause Israel to inherit it. 39 Moreover your little ones and your children, who you say will be victims, who today have no knowledge of good and evil, they shall go in there; to them I will give it, and they shall possess it. 40 But as for you, turn and take your journey into the wilderness by the Way of the Red Sea.’
41 “Then you answered and said to me, ‘We have sinned against the LORD; we will go up and fight, just as the LORD our God commanded us.’ And when everyone of you had girded on his weapons of war, you were ready to go up into the mountain. 42 And the LORD said to me, ‘Tell them, “Do not go up nor fight, for I am not among you; lest you be defeated before your enemies.”‘ 43 So I spoke to you; yet you would not listen, but rebelled against the command of the LORD, and presumptuously went up into the mountain. 44 And the Amorites who dwelt in that mountain came out against you and chased you as bees do, and drove you back from Seir to Hormah. 45 Then you returned and wept before the LORD, but the LORD would not listen to your voice nor give ear to you. 46 So you remained in Kadesh many days, according to the days that you spent there.
2:1 “Then we turned and journeyed into the wilderness of the Way of the Red Sea, as the LORD spoke to me, and we skirted Mount Seir for many days. 2 And the LORD spoke to me, saying: 3 ‘You have skirted this mountain long enough; turn northward. 4 And command the people, saying, “You are about to pass through the territory of your brethren, the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir; and they will be afraid of you. Therefore watch yourselves carefully. 5 Do not meddle with them, for I will not give you any of their land, no, not so much as one footstep, because I have given Mount Seir to Esau as a possession. 6 You shall buy food from them with money, that you may eat; and you shall also buy water from them with money, that you may drink. 7 For the LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hand. He knows your trudging through this great wilderness. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you; you have lacked nothing.”‘
8 “And when we passed beyond our brethren, the descendants of Esau who dwell in Seir, away from the road of the plain, away from Elath and Ezion Geber, we turned and passed by way of the Wilderness of Moab. 9 Then the LORD said to me, ‘Do not harass Moab, nor contend with them in battle, for I will not give you any of their land as a possession, because I have given Ar to the descendants of Lot as a possession.'” 10 (The Emim had dwelt there in times past, a people as great and numerous and tall as the Anakim. 11 They were also regarded as giants, like the Anakim, but the Moabites call them Emim. 12 The Horites formerly dwelt in Seir, but the descendants of Esau dispossessed them and destroyed them from before them, and dwelt in their place, just as Israel did to the land of their possession which the LORD gave them.)
13 “‘Now rise and cross over the Valley of the Zered.’ So we crossed over the Valley of the Zered. 14 And the time we took to come from Kadesh Barnea until we crossed over the Valley of the Zered was thirty-eight years, until all the generation of the men of war was consumed from the midst of the camp, just as the LORD had sworn to them. 15 For indeed the hand of the LORD was against them, to destroy them from the midst of the camp until they were consumed.”
God will have His way. Won’t He? First He told the Israelites to go and take the land He was going to give them, but they rebelled and wouldn’t go. He doles out His punishment: “not one of these men of this evil generation shall see that good land.” Upon God’s pronouncement, the Israelites have a change of heart. Fearing the punishment, they are now ready to go in. But, it’s too late. What God decrees is so and He tells them not to go.
So, what do the Israelites do? They do what they so often do. They don’t listen to God’s command and they go in any way. And, just as He had told them, they were defeated. They just don’t seem to get it. The overall plan with God was simple. They were to listen to God’s Word as spoken by Moses and follow through with what God had told them. Just listen and then follow through.
There are many church bodies today who think they have found a better way to grow the Church. They appeal to people’s “felt needs.” They start with what the people think they need rather than listen to what God says people really need. The truth is that all people need is forgiveness of their sins. Whether people “feel” the need for forgiveness or not, sin remains the problem “for all have sinned.” God’s plan is simple, “that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations.” The Church need only listen to God’s Word and follow through.