“The battle belongs to the Lord”
II.) Vs. 20-33 The blessings of liberty
Last week we just about rapped up the explanation of the ten words, better known as the “Ten Commandments”. As I studied this section I was amazed at how practical they are. If we, as well as society, would just put these into practice the world would be a much better place to live. In Mark 12:28-31 Jesus would answer the scribe’s question concerning “Which is the first commandment of all?” His response was, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” He then followed that by saying, “And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
III.) Vs. 20-33 The blessings of liberty
Vs. 20-23 It was God’s desire that the nation would remain at Sinai for about 11 months then they would journey to Kadesh-Barnea where they would enter the promised land. Now of coarse that did not happen as they were unwilling to trust the Lord and instead wondered 40 years in the wilderness until that generation died out.
The word angel here is the word messenger and we are told that He will have “My name in Him”. This is what we call a theophany as it is a preincarnate manifestation of Jesus. Because it says here that God’s name is in the messenger. The name of the Lord is YHVH or Yahweh. Jesus’ name is literally; Yahweh is salvation or Yeshuah. So God is declaring that His presence would always lead them and that they should follow Him as they would follow God. These guys were readying themselves to enter in to the land of promise and God is showing three ways that He is ready for them to have all that He has promised for them now.
- From chapter 20 – 23:19 He has told them how they are to live in the land of promise. Why would God spend all of this time explaining the rules of how to live together as a nation if He had no intention of letting this generation enter the land?
- Second, in verses 23:20-33, He tells them that He himself is going to lead them to victory. The purpose is told us right here in the 20 verse, “to bring you into the place that I have prepared for you.” God was revealing this to them to give them confidence to follow Him into the land of promise.
- Lastly, in chapter 24 and the first part of chapter 25 God confirms His covenant with them and then instructs Moses to encourage the nation to give to the construction of the sanctuary so that He might dwell among them. Again why tell folks that the nation is formed and set aside finances to build if you are not going to do so?
The failure to enter into the land was not because God did not want them there at that time. No, it was because they refused to trust Him to do what He said He would do! I firmly believe that this is what causes us to fail to reach all of what God has for us, we don’t trust Him for it. Now we say we trust Him but our actions or the lack of them says the opposite.
A lot of folk’s are into this guarding angel stuff and I do believe that angel’s are out there. But what a great truth it is to realize more importantly that we don’t just have a guarding angel we have a guarding God! Jesus was to go before them and if they obeyed Him then they would posses all of what He had for them. So too in our lives as we surrender our lives to Him then we will take procession of all He has for us. Obedience was tied to their blessing and so to in our lives as we step out onto His grace we will see His provision.
Vs. 23 Six nations are listed here and the Lord says he is going to take care of each one of them. God is saying how He will handle their enemies:
- He will go before you and bring you into the land: That’s what He will do in your heart. He is going to put the Getty up in your go! That’s the preparation. Many times we have people tell us that something like, “Well I can get you there, but once you’re there you’re on your own.”
- And I will cut them off: Now here we see that once they are in the land he is going to fight the enemies through them. He will root out the things that would hinder them from enjoying all that He has for them.
How about it what enemies do you face? Are you willing to follow Him and allow Him to cut them off in your life? If not, then you will never enter in to all that He has for you.
Vs. 24-26 In these next two sections God promises to deal with those things that hinder them inwardly as well as outwardly.
Vs. 24 Now as long as Israel stayed true to the Lord then He would stay true to them. But notice that they had a part to play in this as well. It was two fold:
- The first part of this verse reveals what they should not be doing, “bowing down, serving, doing according to their works”. The blessing was tied to what they did not do. In other words, their lives were to be seen as separate in as much as they did not do what non-believers did.
- Second, their lives were seen as going after the things in the land that did not belong. Get rid of anything that would hinder them from serving the true God.
I think we often wait around for God to work when He would have us to participate with Him. So He says so that He would bless them materially (bless their bread and water) and physically (take sickness away, no miscarriages). Wow what a promise. I can’t tell you how many times, in my own life as well as in the lives as others, that I’ve seen folks who have struggled materially and physically because they have refused to trust the Lord.
Vs. 27-31 God promises here to rid them of their external enemies. He will do this by causing confusion upon the enemy as well as sending hornets to drive them out. He will do it super naturally as well as naturally. There is a true story of this taking place in Israel’s recent history. In the Golan Heights near Mount Hermon in the area where in 1973 Syria and Egypt launched a dual attack called “The War of Annihilation,” as they were planning to annihilate Israel, and almost did. When they began their attack against Israel, they had incredible successes. The Israelis had built in the Suez Canal area what they called the barlev line, after General Lev. It was supposed to be a sort of, marginal line or if you will an impenetrable kind of defense. And they figured that they could hold out with this line of defense along the Suez. However, the Egyptians overran the barlev defenses in 24 hours. Up in the Golan Heights, Syria attacked with eight thousand tanks; which is 800 more than Hitler had when he started his war against Russia. All of this took place in a little, narrow, twenty-mile area. These tanks finally overran the Israeli lines, and they were moving down along the Golan Heights, and were within a half-mile of the Golan Heights headquarters, when, without explanation, they stopped their advance. Even to this day, no one knows why Syria stopped. At the time they stopped Israel had only two operational tanks. Syria had a tank brigade, which was made up of over 100 tanks, plus armored personnel carriers. Now there was, a young Israeli lieutenant named Zvki, who hitchhiked up to the Golan headquarters and said, “I’m a tank commander. Do you have any tanks?” He was told that they had one and if he waited a ½ hour, he would get a second one. So he helped unload the dead bodies out of the one tank refueled it, and took off with the two tanks to face the Syrians. As he turns the corner, just a ½ mile away, here’s the whole armored brigade. He orders the tanks to start firing, then notices that his tank was the only one firing. He popped the hatch and sees that the other tank was already knocked out of commission. And thought, “This is no place for me,” so he headed over the hill.” This area is really just a series of hills, so he began to race up and down along what is known as the tap line road. He would come up over a hill, shoot a couple Syrian tanks and bank down then race to another hill, coming over the top and shoot a couple more. As he was doing this he was reporting back to the Golan headquarters saying, “The Zvki brigade just destroyed two more tanks and every time he shot a tank he would report back the same way.” Back in the Golan Heights headquarters, they thought, “Where in the world did he pick up the rest of the tanks?” The Syrians figured there must be a whole armored division on the other side of the hill because he kept popping up over different hills. So they turned, and began to retreat. God put them to confusion. Had the Syrians known, they could have come right down to the Sea of Galilee and taken Tiberias. The two tanks in the Golan Headquarters were the only things that stood between them and taking Tiberias. But God put them to confusion. Mean while down on the Suez, where the Egyptians had taken the barlev line, they were confused because they had planned a three-day assault and instead took it within 24 hours. They were so surprised that they didn’t have any further orders at the present time. So they just sort of started to dig in, and that’s when the Israelis were then able to muster their reserves, they began to move against their entrenched positions. What the Egyptians didn’t know is that there were only ninety tanks between them and Tel Aviv. Had they continued their movement, they could have come right on up to Tel Aviv, facing only ninety tanks.
But God put them to confusion as He says here, “I will confuse your enemies. Those that are against you, I’ll confuse them.” And He does to the present day. So those areas of our lives that have some pretty big foes we can see the Lord work if we yield to Him in obedience.
Vs. 30 He will do this “little by little”. That describes the work of sanctification in our lives as God changes us “little by little”. Now I like this because we often are waiting for some “big” thing to happen or our ship to come in when in reality God works little by little. In all of this there is a step of faith as they are to go into the land of promise. So to in our lives as we step out in faith God will work in our lives little by little so don’t get all discouraged about your struggles just continue to allow the Lord to work in your life.
Vs. 31 We see how much land he gave to them; “from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea and from the wilderness of where they were at to the Euphrates River.” The currant dispute in Israel is over such a small amount of land. In a recent article by an Arab American he points out some interesting facts that most of the world is not aware of through the news media. They’re is no such thing as Palestine. The first time that name was ever used was in A.D. 70 by the Romans after they committed genocide against the Jews. It was from then on that the Romans referred to the land as Palestine, which comes from the name Philistine. It never existed before or since! There is no language or culture known as Palestinian. Never has there been a land know by or governed by Palestinians until now. You can trace the roots of this to 1967 Arab-Israel war. And it is interesting to realize that the land captured, Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem, was captured from Jordan’s King Hussein and not from Yasser Arafat. In fact, there was no interest in Palestinian nationality until after Israel won the war. Now there is a lot of talk as well about Jerusalem being the sight of the third most holy sight in all of the world. But again the truth is that Jerusalem is never mentioned in the Koran. So what is all of the fighting about? It is about the greed of the Arabs for all of the land which they already possess 99 percent of it. Israel only represents 1/10 of 1% of the landmass. So God here gives them much more land then they ever possessed.
I’ve got to wonder how much of what God wants me to have do I really possess? One of the things in heaven we are all going to have to face is the waste of our lives. Israel had so much given them and a guarantee to have it all if they would just trust the Lord and yet they never even possessed what little they choose. How about you?
Vs. 32-33 Lastly they were to make no covenant with the enemies in the land. So God tells them you will not succeed if you compromise. Now Folk’s let us leave this section of scripture with this admonition, “We must not make any covenant with our flesh because if we do it will only be a snare to us.” That is always the reason for our inability to possess all of what God has for us.