In Deuteronomy chapter 3, Moses continues his speech to a new generation of Israelites, calling them to remember both the tragedy of unbelief and the victory of faith.
We saw in the last chapter that God had led His people to defeat King Sihon of Heshbon and to take control of the territory of his kingdom. In today’s chapter we will see how the Israelites were commanded to possess the pasture-land east of the Jordan — and how Moses was forbidden to enter the Promised Land west of the Jordan.
As Israel pressed northward toward a region called Bashan, they ran squarely into a frightening adversary: King Og. Og was an enormous man, a descendant of a race of freakishly large people called the Rephaim. Moses mentioned that Og required a bed made of iron and over 13 feet long (v.11). He ruled over sixty large cities and had a well-trained army to defend them. Og and his people were powerful and intimidating. The Israelites stood little chance to defeat them.
But the Lord said, “Do not be afraid of them…I have given them into your hand” (v.2)! The Israelites trusted that promise, defeated Big Og, and took possession of the cities and villages of Bashan. No matter what “Ogs” you may face today (difficult people, obstacles at work or school, or attacks of Satan), remember that God is bigger and He will fight for you (v.22)!
Although Moses was able to witness the initial victories on the doorstep of Canaan, he would never see the victories in Canaan itself. God had made that clear in Numbers 20:12. Imagine Moses’ disappointment as he was able to see the Promised Land from a distance, and yet because of a temper tantrum years before he could not go there.
There is a warning for us here: if we are not careful to obey God completely and to honor God faithfully, we may forfeit blessings in the future.