Deuteronomy 3

Deuteronomy 3

Deuteronomy 3 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

They told Moses, “We explored the land and found it to be rich and fertile; and here is some of its fruit. 28 But the people who live there are powerful, and their cities are very large and well fortified. Even worse, we saw the descendants of the giants there.

Numbers 13:27-28 GNB

The giants the people were referring to were called Rephaim. These larger-than-life warriors were dispersed all throughout Canaan, and the Bible uses many terms to describe them including Nephilim, Zuzim, Emim, and Anakim. Based on Genesis 6:1–4, one perspective is that fallen angels (the sons of God) had sexual relations with women, resulting in the birth of giants (Nephilim). We do not know if the Raphaim were remnants of the Nephilim or not, but the main fact to take away is that they were gigantic, fearsome warriors. Even ancient Egyptian documents refer to giants who lived in Canaan.

These people were led by Og king of Bashan. Deuteronomy 3:11 states that his coffin was made of iron and measured 13 feet 6 inches long by 6 feet wide. He was truly a giant!

The problem with the former generation was that they were scared of these people and did not believe God would lead them to victory.

Then Caleb quieted the people in the presence of Moses and said, “We must go up and take possession of the land because we can certainly conquer it!”  31  But the men who had gone up with him responded, “We can’t go up against the people because they are stronger than we are!”

Numbers 13:30-31 HCSB

As we see here in Deuteronomy 3, their fear was unfounded. God leads people who trust Him into battles they have no business fighting. He does this for His glory, to reveal to us that He is over all things and that no one can thwart His plans. This is such an interesting aspect of God’s character. The promise to defeat His enemies and lead His people into the Promised Land was guaranteed. It was His sovereign plan. However, we also see that God will not force us to trust and obey that plan. The first generation didn’t trust Him, so… He waited… and waited… and waited.

God could have swiftly and aggressively wiped these negative people from His presence. He could have purged the people one by one until He found a group that really trusted in Him. Instead, He simply allowed them to experience the fruit of their choices. This brings to mind two applications for us.

  1. God’s plans will never fail.
  2. If we don’t trust Him, He will patiently wait until we either repent or perish.

Our God is a patient God. Repentance was always an option for the older generation of Numbers. They could have changed their mind and their behavior and turned back to God. Instead, they perished. As this new generation sprung up, they decided to put their full trust in God, and the results speak for themselves. God led them to slay the giants.

What are the giants in your life that you are fearful of? What plan of God is possibly being delayed because you don’t trust Him? Our God is a patient and loving God. He meets us where we are and calls us forward despite our fears. What does this mean for you today?

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