Then we turned, and went up the way to Bashan: and Og the king of Bashan came out against us, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei. And the Lord said unto me, Fear him not: for I will deliver him, and all his people, and his land, into thy hand; and thou shalt do unto him as thou didst unto Sihon king of the Amorites, which dwelt at Heshbon. — Deuteronomy 3:1-2
Have you ever had a task that seemed impossible? A few years back, my brother-in-law built a house and did some tile work in it. Then he put a little advertisement in the yellow pages of the telephone book: “Ben’s Tile Work.” The first job he received was for a five-story hotel building downtown. It had two hundred rooms! After the first day, I went down there to check on him, and he was overwhelmed. The job had not gone well that day, and he was discouraged. Successfully completing that job seemed unlikely. However, we enlisted some friends to help, and pretty soon he had a system going. It took some time, but room by room and floor by floor, he completed the job.
In today’s passage, the Children of Israel faced something that, no doubt, seemed an impossible task. They had advanced to the Jordan River and ahead of them was the well-trained army of Og, the powerful Amorite king of Bashan. This king had conquered the northern half of Gilead and all of Bashan. By any military standards, the Israelites hardly stood a chance. However, God encouraged them not to fear this mighty king, because they would defeat Og just as they had defeated Sihon earlier — and they did! They won the battle because God fought for them.
What kind of problem or impossible situation are you facing today? When God says, “Fear not,” we can have confidence, because He fights on our side. No matter how insurmountable the obstacle may seem, remember that God is sovereign, and He will keep His promises. Furthermore, conquering in an “impossible” situation will help us grow spiritually. The victory over Og opened fertile and beautiful pasturelands to the Israelites, including Hermon and Gilead. When we triumph in the Lord, new vistas of opportunities and expanded usability in God’s service will be ours!
In Deuteronomy 1, God speaks through Moses saying, “Ye have dwelt long enough in this mount.” Chapter 2 of this book of remembrances begins with: “Then we turned, and took our journey into the wilderness . . .” After leaving the mount, and going through the wilderness, the Children of Israel conquered Sihon, king of Heshbon, and destroyed all of his cities and his people.
Today’s text begins, “Then we turned, and went the way up to Bashan . . .” where the Israelites faced the giant king named Og and his army. These wicked neighbors of God’s chosen people were without excuse. They had heard of the power that the God of Israel possessed and how He fought for them, but they continued to sacrifice their children to false gods and include promiscuity in their worship. If they had not been exterminated, Israel would have likely been tempted to sin and more souls would have been lost.
The word Bashan means “soft and level.” Archaeological finds have proven the existence of strong, fortified cities in that territory, verifying Moses’ words in verse 5 about cities with “high walls, gates, and bars.”
This passage records the commission of Joshua to take Moses’ place. The commission came from God; He appointed the man who would succeed Moses as leader of the people. Moses challenged his successor to vigilance; Joshua was reminded of the victories he had seen and was encouraged by God’s promise to help him win every battle.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I. The first discourse: Historical review
B. The wilderness sojourn
2. From Kadesh to Moab
e. The conquest of Og (Bashan) (3:1-11)
f. The settlement of Transjordan (3:12-20)
g. The commission of Joshua (3:21-29)
Our leader today is not Moses, but Jesus Christ. Let us remember that whatever we face, the battle is the Lord’s. We can complete our earthly assignment through His power and strength.