Hear, O Israel: [b]The Lord our God, the Lord is one! 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. 6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. Deuteronomy 6:4-7
The books of Numbers and Deuteronomy deal largely with laws, both civil and ceremonial, the size of the population and their holdings along with the overall narrative mixed in. Suffice it to say that there are conflicts and battles during the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. It was this time that God was working to grow them from being a population of slaves into a nation and a fighting army.
They were going to need that training!
The Land of Canaan was populated by giants. Remember that the 12 spies that originally went in there reported that they seemed like grasshoppers compared to these giants. These were the product of fallen angels mating with human women, an abomination that God wanted wiped out. He wasn’t being unnecessarily cruel. He wanted the land cleansed of evil.
Unfortunately, Israel did not just complain to God, they also turned their backs on God during the 40 years of wandering to worship the false gods of some of those people. Tempted by the women of the land, they were enticed away and began worshipping the false god Baal.
Eventually they got themselves squared away enough when it was time to officially go in and occupy Canaan and clean it out. It was also time for Moses to pass his role over to Joshua. There’s a review in Deuteronomy of everything that happened since Egypt. I found it very interesting that, after the Ten Commandments and countless laws for different offerings as well as civil laws, we find just one law that is highlighted. It’s the law about love that is quoted above.
Jesus recalled this in Matthew 21:37-40, saying, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
Before moving on, let’s take a retrospective. I’ve been writing a timeline starting with Creation and counting the years since. I call the timeline “Creation Plus” or CP.
Moses was born in 2585 CP. By God’s grace he was found by Pharaoh’s barren daughter and adopted into that household. He became a prince of Egypt and a renowned general in that army. He became feared and hated, both for his successes and for his true heritage. When he killed an Egyptian task master, he gave Pharaoh and his court reason to kill him, so he fled to Midian where he met and married his wife, Zipporah.
God called to him from the burning bush and sent him to Egypt to lead the Hebrews out of Egypt. Time references in the Bible put this at about 2665-2666 CP with the Exodus happening in 2666 CP. They crossed the Red Sea (Yam Suph) and the desert to reach Mt. Sinai in 2666 CP and stayed through to at least 2667 CP.
After that they wandered, battling at least a couple of belligerent kings they came across as well as enduring the poisonous snakes until God finally directs to possess Canaan. The land is divide in advance, each tribe of Israel getting its portion.
It was only about a year when, in 2668 CP that they griped against God again. He sent poisonous snakes into their midst and the instructed Moses to erect a bronze serpent on a pole; anyone bitten could look on it and live.
2706 CP was the big year when they could finally possess the land of Canaan. That’s also when Aaron died. He stood by Moses side before Pharaoh to speak when Moses couldn’t. Moses gave Joshua his blessing and then ascended Mt. Nebo.. God showed him the land he would not enter. Moses died there, but let’s hear it from the source. This is one of the my favorite passages in the Bible. Is among the most poignant. Deuteronomy 34 –
Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is across from Jericho. And the Lord showed him all the land of Gilead as far as Dan, 2 all Naphtali and the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the [a]Western Sea, 3 the South, and the plain of the Valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar. 4 Then the Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to give Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have caused you to see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.”
5 So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord. 6 And He buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth Peor; but no one knows his grave to this day. 7 Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died. His [b]eyes were not dim nor his natural vigor [c]diminished. 8 And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days. So the days of weeping and mourning for Moses ended…
10 But since then there has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, 11 in all the signs and wonders which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, before Pharaoh, before all his servants, and in all his land, 12 and by all that mighty power and all the great terror which Moses performed in the sight of all Israel.