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Bible Commentaries
Deuteronomy 3

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-29

Chapter 3

In chapter three:

So we turned, and went by the way of Bashan: unto Og the king of Bashan who came out against us, wit all of his people. And the LORD said unto me, Don't fear him: for I will deliver him, and all of his people, and his land, into your hands; and thou shalt do unto him as you did unto Sihon the king of Amorites, which dwelt at Heshbon. So the LORD our God delivered into our hands Og also, the king of Bashan, and all of his people. And we took all of his city, there was not a city of them that was not taken, some sixty cities. [Now he points out,] All of these cities were fenced wit high walls, gates, and bars; and besides that we took a lot of unwalled cities ( Deuteronomy 3:1-5 ).

In other words, they had conquered sixty walled cities from Basham. Now you're gonna go in and you got the reports and you remember the report that struck fear in the hearts was that there are high-walled cities and giants. And that was just the thing that struck terror and fear into their hearts that destroyed their faith, caused them to turn away. So now Moses is pointing out, "Look, it is nothing with God. You don't have to worry about the walled cities. You don't have to worry about the giants. If God be for us, who can be against us?"

And God has promised to go before you and to drive out your enemies, and thus, these things that caused terror and fear in your hearts that destroyed your faith do not need to stop you now, go in. And he's seeking to build up their faith in God. Venture out, let God have an opportunity to work. And so he's careful to point out that they'd already conquered walled cities in the areas of the giants.

And so in verse eleven,

For only Og the king of Bashan remained of the remnants of giants ( Deuteronomy 3:11 );

Og himself was a giant. He had a bed that was thirteen feet long (king-sized bed) and some six feet wide. He was a big guy, needed a big bed. He was the last of the giants in that area. And God delivered him into your hands. And you possessed his land, and it was given to the Reubenites and unto the Gadites. And then the other area northward was given unto Manasseh; clear on up to Mount Hermon, that whole area of the Golan was conquered.

And so, he declares unto them, verse twenty-one,

Your eyes have seen all that the LORD your God has done unto these two kings: and so shall the LORD do unto the kingdoms where you are passing ( Deuteronomy 3:21 ).

You've seen what God can do and so he is going to do in these kings where you're gonna be coming. Don't be afraid, don't stop, don't quit now.

Ye shall not fear them: for the LORD your God shall fight for you. And I besought the LORD at that time, saying, O Lord, thou hast begun to show thy servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand: for what God is there in heaven or earth, that can do according to thy works, and according to thy might? And I pray thee, let me go over, and see the good land which is beyond Jordan, and the goodly mountains, and Lebanon ( Deuteronomy 3:22-25 ).

Oh Moses, though he was a hundred and twenty years old he was ready for it. "Lord, come on. Please let me go in. I've seen, Lord, you beginning to wipe out the enemies. Oh this is exciting, Lord. I love this. And Lord I'd just love to see that land. I'd like to see the mountains of Lebanon. I'd like to see this land that you promised. Lord, won't you let me go in?" And Moses here is praying, asking God to allow him to go in.

Now, when they had come in the wilderness and were needing water, they had said to Moses, "Give us water to drink. We're perishing." Moses went in before the Lord and said, "Lord, these people are ready to kill me, they want water." And God said, "Go out and speak to the rock and water will come forth". The first time God said "smite the rock and water will come out." The second time God said "speak to the rock". But Moses was angry with the people and he went out from before the Lord and he said, "Must I smite this rock again to give you water?" And he took his rod and he smote the rock and water came out. But God said, "Moses, come here son. Moses, you blew it. You did not properly represent me before those people.

Now Moses was God's representative and God wasn't angry with them but Moses was. And Moses, as God's representative, represented God as being angry with them and he did not properly represent God before the people. And God said, "Moses, that's a serious error and because you have not properly represented me before the people, you cannot go in to the land".

God wanted to impress upon the minds of these people the importance of obedience, the importance of our being proper representatives of Him. For you are God's representative in the world today. Jesus said, "Ye are my witnesses". You are to be representing Jesus before the world. Now, the question is: Are we representing him properly? What concepts are people getting of Jesus as they look at us? As we are God's representative in the world today, what concepts are people getting of God? Do they really know that God cares? Do they really know that God is love? How do I represent God? Very important that we properly represent God. And God is stressing and seeking to stress the importance that we recognize that we are His representatives and that we represent Him faithfully and truthfully before the world.

Moses failed. He represented God as being angry. God wasn't angry. And so God said, "Moses because you failed to represent me before the people you cannot go into the land". Now Moses has seen some of the enemies conquered. He sees them beginning to take the land; adrenaline is flowing, this is exciting. "Oh Lord, please I'd love to go in and see the mountains of Lebanon. I'd like to see those valleys and the rivers and all that are there. Lord, I'd love to see the land. Let me go in, Lord. I want to see you, you know, smite the enemies there. I wanna see the people."

And the Lord said to Moses,

Let it suffice thee; don't speak to me any more of this matter ( Deuteronomy 3:26 ).

Moses, don't talk to me about it. Can't go.

Now here's the case where God did not answer Moses' prayer in the affirmative. He answered the prayer, he said no. And God always answers prayers; sometimes the answers are yes, sometimes the answers are no. But this is the case were Moses' request was not granted by God, in order that God might teach the nation the importance of obedience.

And in the years to come, as the Jewish mothers would hold their babies upon their laps and tell them the glorious stories of how God used a man by the name of Moses, who as a child was protected by God and taken out of the bulrushes by the princes of the land of Egypt, when it was ordered that all of the children should die. And how he grew up in the Pharaoh's court and how he made his decision to align himself with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. And how God brought through him the plagues upon the Egyptians and spoiled the Egyptians and how he led the people out of Egypt and out of their bondage. And how the Red Sea was parted by the rod that he lifted and how God brought the water out of the rock. And then their voices would hush. And with whispered tones they would say that Moses was not allowed by God to fulfill the dream of his life and to go into the land because he failed to properly represent God. He disobeyed God at the waters of strife, Meribah .

And it became a lesson deeply embedded upon the minds of the nation of the importance of obedience unto God; and thus, for the sake of a nation, God withheld the desire of a man. God said, "Look, don't talk to me about this again. The answer has been given".

But charge Joshua, encourage him, and strengthen him: for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which thou shalt see. So we abode in the valley over against Bethpeor ( Deuteronomy 3:28-29 ).

So God said to Moses you can't go in but I will let you go up to the top of Mount Pisgah, and there you can look over the land. From Pisgah just take a look at the land that I promised. And then you charge Joshua and encourage Joshua and strengthen him because he will lead the people in.


Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 3". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/deuteronomy-3.html. 2014.
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