1. ISRAEL THREATENED WITH DESTRUCTION
a. What directions did the Israelites receive concerning the Moabites and the Ammonites? Deuteronomy 2:9, 19.
b. When Israel reached the land of the Amorites, what message did Moses send to Sihon, their king, and what was his answer? Deuteronomy 2:26–30; Numbers 21:21–23.
“The answer [of Sihon] was a decided refusal, and all the hosts of the Amorites were summoned to oppose the progress of the invaders. This formidable army struck terror to the Israelites, who were poorly prepared for an encounter with well-armed and well-disciplined forces. So far as skill in warfare was concerned, their enemies had the advantage. To all human appearance, a speedy end would be made of Israel.
“But Moses kept his gaze fixed upon the cloudy pillar, and encouraged the people with the thought that the token of God’s presence was still with them. At the same time he directed them to do all that human power could do in preparing for war. Their enemies were eager for battle, and confident that they would blot out the unprepared Israelites from the land.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 433, 434.
2. THE AMORITES ARE CONQUERED
a. What instruction came from the Possessor of all lands to the leader of Israel? Deuteronomy 2:31.
b. What had been prophesied concerning the Amorites in the time of Abraham? Genesis 15:16.
“Although the Amorites were idolaters, whose life was justly forfeited by their great wickedness, God spared them four hundred years to give them unmistakable evidence that He was the only true God, the Maker of heaven and earth. All His wonders in bringing Israel from Egypt were known to them. Sufficient evidence was given; they might have known the truth, had they been willing to turn from their idolatry and licentiousness. But they rejected the light and clung to their idols.
“When the Lord brought His people a second time to the borders of Canaan, additional evidence of His power was granted to those heathen nations. They saw that God was with Israel in the victory gained over King Arad and the Canaanites, and in the miracle wrought to save those who were perishing from the sting of the serpents. . . . In all their journeyings and encampments, past the land of Edom, of Moab and Ammon, they had shown no hostility, and had done no injury to the people or their possessions. On reaching the border of the Amorites, Israel had asked permission only to travel directly through the country, promising to observe the same rules that had governed their intercourse with other nations. When the Amorite king refused this courteous solicitation, and defiantly gathered his hosts for battle, their cup of iniquity was full, and God would now exercise His power for their overthrow.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 434, 435.
c. What was the result of the battle? Deuteronomy 2:32–35; Numbers 21:24.
“The Israelites crossed the river Arnon and advanced upon the foe. An engagement took place, in which the armies of Israel were victorious; and, following up the advantage gained, they were soon in possession of the country of the Amorites. It was the Captain of the Lord’s host who vanquished the enemies of His people; and He would have done the same thirty-eight years before had Israel trusted in Him.”—Ibid., p. 435.
3. HAVING CONFIDENCE IN GOD
a. How does David aptly describe the attitude Moses would have had when hearing of the great armies of Canaan? Psalm 112:7, 8.
“Help and grace sufficient for every circumstance are promised by Him whose word is truth. His everlasting arms encircle the soul that turns to Him for aid. In His care we may rest safely, saying, ‘What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee.’ Psalm 56:3. To all who put their trust in Him, God will fulfill His promise.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 467.
b. What could Moses confidently say after conquering Sihon, king of Heshbon? Deuteronomy 2:36. How were the people inspired?
“The Hebrews now remembered how once before, when their forces had gone to battle, they had been routed, and thousands slain. But they had then gone in direct opposition to the command of God. They had gone out without Moses, God’s appointed leader, without the cloudy pillar, the symbol of the divine presence, and without the ark. But now Moses was with them, strengthening their hearts with words of hope and faith; the Son of God, enshrined in the cloudy pillar, led the way; and the sacred ark accompanied the host.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 437.
c. Of what can we be confident as we journey through life on this earth? Philippians 1:6.
“Those who live amid the perils of the last days may realize that just as at the beginning of their experience the truth united them to the Saviour, so He who is the author and finisher of their faith will perfect the work He has begun for them. God is faithful, by whom we are called to fellowship with His Son. As men and women cooperate with God in doing the work He has given them, they go forward from strength to greater strength. As they exercise simple faith, believing day by day that God will not fail to establish them in Christ, God says to them as He did to ancient Israel: ‘Thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.’ Deuteronomy 7:6.”—Our High Calling, p. 24.
4. OG, KING OF BASHAN, IS CONQUERED
a. What was the next target of the Israelites after the victory over Sihon? Deuteronomy 3:1. Describe the land and the people of Bashan.
“Filled with hope and courage, the army of Israel eagerly pressed forward, and, still journeying northward, they soon reached a country that might well test their courage and their faith in God. Before them lay the powerful and populous kingdom of Bashan, crowded with great stone cities that to this day excite the wonder of the world—‘threescore cities . . . with high walls, gates, and bars; besides unwalled towns a great many.’”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 435.
b. What message did the Lord send to Moses concerning Og and his army, and what was the result of the battle? Numbers 21:34, 35; Deuteronomy 3:2–7.
“Not mighty giants nor walled cities, armed hosts nor rocky fortresses, could stand before the Captain of the Lord’s host. The Lord led the army; the Lord discomfited the enemy; the Lord conquered in behalf of Israel. The giant king and his army were destroyed, and the Israelites soon took possession of the whole country. Thus was blotted from the earth that strange people who had given themselves up to iniquity and abominable idolatry.”—Ibid., p. 436.
c. How did the Lord help His people in the war against the two Amorite kings, Sihon and Og? Joshua 24:12. How did the new generation of Israelites see the mistake of their fathers?
“In the conquest of Gilead and Bashan there were many who recalled the events which nearly forty years before had, in Kadesh, doomed Israel to the long desert wandering. They saw that the report of the spies concerning the Promised Land was in many respects correct. The cities were walled and very great, and were inhabited by giants, in comparison with whom the Hebrews were mere pygmies. But they could now see that the fatal mistake of their fathers had been in distrusting the power of God. This alone had prevented them from at once entering the goodly land.”—Ibid.
5. LESSONS FOR US
a. What lesson can we learn when seeing how Israel, greatly outnumbered from a human perspective, triumphed over their enemies? Zechariah 4:6.
“In comparison with the millions of the world, God’s people will be, as they have ever been, a little flock; but if they stand for the truth as revealed in His word, God will be their refuge. They stand under the broad shield of Omnipotence. God is always a majority.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 590.
“Is not God a majority? If we are on the side of the God who made the heaven and the earth, are we not on the side of the majority? We have the angels that excel in strength on our side.”—Temperance, p. 258.
b. What lesson does this event teach us? Psalm 37:1–3, 5.
“This experience has a lesson for us. The mighty God of Israel is our God. In Him we may trust, and if we obey His requirements He will work for us in as signal a manner as He did for His ancient people. Everyone who seeks to follow the path of duty will at times be assailed by doubt and unbelief. The way will sometimes be so barred by obstacles, apparently insurmountable, as to dishearten those who will yield to discouragement; but God is saying to such, Go forward. Do your duty at any cost. The difficulties that seem so formidable, that fill your soul with dread, will vanish as you move forward in the path of obedience, humbly trusting in God.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 437.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. In preparing to fight against the Amorites, how did Israel show a faith that works?
2. Why does God still spare the wicked inhabitants of this world today?
3. Just as God wanted to establish Israel in Canaan, in what does He want to establish us today? What does this mean?
4. What did the next generation of Israelites realize about the focus of their fathers?
5. What will happen when we do our duty regardless of the obstacles in our way?