Pithy and Life-Changing Lessons from Deuteronomy Chapters One to Three

Deuteronomy 1:29, He will fight for you. How does Elohim fight for us? Let’s look at the example of the children of Israel. We can learn a lot from them (1 Cor 10:11). How many examples are there of the Israelites sitting down and doing nothing while YHVH fought for them? Few if any. What then does YHVH require? We must do our part, and he will do the rest. What is the part we are to do? That depends. Sometimes it depends on what we we’re capable of doing. Often he requires us to come to the end of our resources and abilities, and then he will step in and finish off fight on our behalf to the victorious end. We also have to fight only the battles he has told us to fight. Sometimes we choose to fight battles he has not instructed us to fight. This was the case with the Israelites who chose to go up and take the Promised Land when YHVH told them not to do so. They were defeated (Deut 1:42–45). YHVH will not support his people in a battle he has not sanctioned. When YHVH tells us to go to battle we have to fight how he tells us to fight, who he tells us to fight, and when he tells us to fight. If the Israelites had gone up against Jericho using conventional warfare tactics, they would have been defeated because that’s not how YHVH instructed them to defeat that city. The same is true of Gideon’s unconventional method of defeating the Midianites. Often YHVH will fight for us when we submit to his battle plans and fight the enemy his way. The Israelites defeated the Amalakites when Moses stood on a hill with his arms outstretched in a cross-like formation. Likewise, they overcame Jericho by marching around it blowing shofars. Gideon used lamps and shofars to defeat the enemy. David used a slingshot. Sometimes the Israel defeated their enemy with the help of the ark of covenant, through prayer and praise and so on. The biblical list of unconventional methods of YHVH’s people defeating their enemies is a long and inspiring one! What can we learn from all of this? For YHVH to fight for us, we must first do things his way so that he’ll fight for us. This means knowing when and who to fight and how to fight. Often we have to wait on YHVH for the answers to these questions even as a military officer has to wait for headquarters to give him his marching orders. Headquarters won’t back or support the soldier who takes matters into his own hands. Conversely, headquarters won’t tolerate a solider who refuses to obey orders. The same is true of YHVH.

Deuteronomy 1:39, Little ones…knowledge of good and evil. “Little ones” were those under the age of 20 (see Num 14:29; 32:11). Certainly, children under the age of 20 should have by then, if they were raised properly, have a sense of the difference between good and evil. However, YHVH is extremely gracious. He gives children ample time choose to follow him. By age 20, children will have had enough time to learn the difference between good and evil, and have had enough experience to have made an informed and intelligent choice whether to follow the path of good or evil. Those who reject YHVH at this age can no longer plead ignorance of his ways or inexperience in coming to an understanding the consequences of their actions. If they choose to go against YHVH it’s because they have stiff-necks, and hard and rebellious hearts.

Deuteronomy 2:7, Lacked nothing. A major lesson the Israelites had to learn while trekking across the wilderness for forty years en route to the Promised Land was to trust YHVH for their physical provision (food, clothing and water). Similarly, redeemed believers are on the same journey (although a spiritual one) through the wilderness of life en route to the Promised Land of their spiritual inheritance, which is eternal life in YHVH’s everlasting kingdom in the New Jerusalem, which will be on the new earth. For forty years, YHVH instructed the Israelites in the laws of cause and effect. When they loved, obeyed and trusted him, they automatically received the blessings of his physical provision. When they were rebellious and stiffnecked and refused to love and obey him they received curses and judgment and suffered great lack. The same principles work for us today except that YHVH has added a spiritual dimension to this paradigm. To the degree we love, serve and obey YHVH-Yeshua and keep his commandments we not only will be blessed and provided for in this physical life as were the children of Israel, but we have the blessing, through faith in Messiah Yeshua, of obtaining eternal life and becoming literal sons of Elohim (John 1:11; Rom 8:14–15, 23; 9:4; 2 Cor 6:18; Gal 4:5–6; Eph 1:5; 1 John 3:1–2; Rev 2:13–16). The saint becoming a son (and daughter) of Elohim is something the apostles taught about a lot, but a concept the Western church hardly mentions. It’s time this truth be rediscovered and taught again, for this is the ultimate spiritual blessing that comes from serving and obeying YHVH. Lack leads to death. Provision leads to life — and for the saint, it leads to eternal life.

Deuteronomy 3:22, Must fear them. The Scriptures reveal an interesting, and counter-intuitive spiritual principle that humans have a hard time wrapping their heads and hearts around. It is this: When we fear Elohim, we won’t fear our enemies. When we don’t fear Elohim, we will fear and be tormented by our enemies. What is it to fear Elohim? It is to walk in the wisdom of his commandments or his loving instructions in righteousness. Rebellious humans have a hard time doing this, since their sin nature is opposed to submitting to YHVH legal instructions (Jer 17:9; Rom 8:7). Once, however, they get their sin nature under control with the help of Yeshua, and they begin to love and fear Elohim by keeping his commandments, suddenly the physical things they once feared no longer have any hold on their hearts and minds. Having defeated the greatest enemy of all — one’s sin nature — with Elohim’s help effectively empowers and emboldens the saint. He now realizes he can, with Elohim’s help, overcome any enemy. So now what is there to fear? Moreover, at the end of his life, the overcomer saint has the ultimate victory in his possession. That is the victory over death, which is the mother of all fears!


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