Posts Tagged 'Promised Land'

Joshua Chapter 23

The role of a prophet, in ancient times as well as today, has been to “act as God’s messenger and make known God’s will.” (see Bible Dictionary: Prophet) What we read of Joshua up to this point, includes the directions he gave from the Lord, to fight their enemies, and to settle the promised land. I am sure that along the way, Joshua was frequently delivering messages of doctrine to the Israelites as well, but those words would most likely be found in the laws and commandments given through the prophet Moses. In this chapter, I believe we receive the parting words of the prophet Joshua to the people. It reads as follows:

1 And it came to pass a long time after that the Lord had given rest unto Israel from all their enemies round about, that Joshua waxed old and stricken in age.
2 And Joshua called for all Israel, and for their elders, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers, and said unto them, I am old and stricken in age:
3 And ye have seen all that the Lord your God hath done unto all these nations because of you; for the Lord your God is he that hath fought for you.
4 Behold, I have divided unto you by lot these nations that remain, to be an inheritance for your tribes, from Jordan, with all the nations that I have cut off, even unto the great sea westward.
5 And the Lord your God, he shall expel them from before you, and drive them from out of your sight; and ye shall possess their land, as the Lord your God hath promised unto you.
6 Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left;
7 That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them:
8 But cleave unto the Lord your God, as ye have done unto this day.
9 For the Lord hath driven out from before you great nations and strong: but as for you, no man hath been able to stand before you unto this day.
10 One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the Lord your God, he it is that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you.
11 Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the Lord your God.
12 Else if ye do in any wise go back, and cleave unto the remnant of these nations, even these that remain among you, and shall make marriages with them, and go in unto them, and they to you:
13 Know for a certainty that the Lord your God will no more drive out any of these nations from before you; but they shall be snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until ye perish from off this good land which the Lord your God hath given you.
14 And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.
15 Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all good things are come upon you, which the Lord your God promised you; so shall the Lord bring upon you all evil things, until he have destroyed you from off this good land which the Lord your God hath given you.
16 When ye have transgressed the covenant of the Lord your God, which he commanded you, and have gone and served other gods, and bowed yourselves to them; then shall the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and ye shall perish quickly from off the good land which he hath given unto you.

I believe that the tradition of the time, was for a man to gather his family together before he passed away, to deliver a final message to his posterity, and oftentimes to leave them with a blessing. It seems that this same tradition occurred with the prophets to the people of the Lord as well. Joshua grew old when Israel had received rest in the promised land. In his age, he gathered the elders and leaders of Israel together. First, he reminds them of the blessings from the Lord. It was the Lord, who had given them this land by subduing their enemies and delivering them into the hands of Israel. They are reminded that the land had been divided and given to them for an inheritance, and also, that the Lord would continue to dispel their enemies so that they might continue to gain the land of promise. However, this is not without an expectation of the people of Israel.

Joshua gives and exhortation to the elders, that they lead the people in righteousness. He tells them to be courageous and keep the commandments. He tells them that they need to avoid being part of the other nations that still remained in the land. They should not mention or worship the gods of those other nations, but they should continue to love the Lord by cleaving to Him. He reminds them, that they have been promised that the Lord would fight for them and make them mighty and strong. No nation could stand against even one man with God on His side. They needed to love the Lord wholly, or else they would turn to the false gods of other nations. If they did this, they would begin to marry people of these other nations, even those that remained among them. If they chose that path, the Lord would no longer fight for them. Instead, the Lord would allow those nations to be a temptation in their lives, until the Israelites were removed from the land. Joshua reminded the elders, that God had fulfilled all that He had promised them. All the good that they had been promised, had been given to them. Because they knew this, they could know that everything bad that had been promised if they would be disobedient, would also be given to them.

It takes courage to keep the commandments of God, especially when the ways of the world are so far from them. It takes courage to follow the prophets called to lead us today. I believe as time passes and we draw nearer to the second coming of the Savior and the millennium, that it will take greater courage than ever before. We are preparing for the day when all the wicked will be done away, and the Lord will reign on this earth. Only those who can live in this world, but avoid becoming part of the world, will be able to stand at that day. This message for the ancient Israelites, is the message that all of us need to hear. If we desire to be called the people of the Lord, we must be willing to give up the pleasures of the world and give our whole hearts to the Lord. If we do not follow His commandments and love Him, He will allow us to experience greater temptations. I think that I have enough temptation in my life now, and hope to be able to have the courage to do what is right, so that the Lord will help me to fight my personal enemies.

Joshua Chapter 21

When the children of Israel were promised an inheritance in the land of Canaan, the tribe of Levi were not included. This was because, this tribe was chosen by the Lord and dedicated to the service of the Lord. Their inheritance would come from the other tribes, and as long as the children of Israel were righteous and faithful in their devotions, the Levites would be provided for by the Lord and through the offerings of the people. This chapter covers the giving of land to the Levites. It begins:

1 Then came near the heads of the fathers of the Levites unto Eleazar the priest, and unto Joshua the son of Nun, and unto the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel;
2 And they spake unto them at Shiloh in the land of Canaan, saying, The Lord commanded by the hand of Moses to give us cities to dwell in, with the suburbs thereof for our cattle.
3 And the children of Israel gave unto the Levites out of their inheritance, at the commandment of the Lord, these cities and their suburbs.
4 And the lot came out for the families of the Kohathites: and the children of Aaron the priest, which were of the Levites, had by lot out of the tribe of Judah, and out of the tribe of Simeon, and out of the tribe of Benjamin, thirteen cities.
5 And the rest of the children of Kohath had by lot out of the families of the tribe of Ephraim, and out of the tribe of Dan, and out of the half tribe of Manasseh, ten cities.
6 And the children of Gershon had by lot out of the families of the tribe of Issachar, and out of the tribe of Asher, and out of the tribe of Naphtali, and out of the half tribe of Manasseh in Bashan, thirteen cities.
7 The children of Merari by their families had out of the tribe of Reuben, and out of the tribe of Gad, and out of the tribe of Zebulun, twelve cities.
8 And the children of Israel gave by lot unto the Levites these cities with their suburbs, as the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses.

The leaders of the Levites, went to Joshua and Eleazar in Shiloh, where the tabernacle was raised. They spoke of the commandment given through Moses, that the tribes were to give a portion of their lands to the Levites for their homes and cattle (see Numbers 35). They then received 48 cities with suburbs, from the tribes of Israel.

9 And they gave out of the tribe of the children of Judah, and out of the tribe of the children of Simeon, these cities which are here mentioned by name,
10 Which the children of Aaron, being of the families of the Kohathites, who were of the children of Levi, had: for theirs was the first lot.
11 And they gave them the city of Arba the father of Anak, which city is Hebron, in the hill country of Judah, with the suburbs thereof round about it.
12 But the fields of the city, and the villages thereof, gave they to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for his possession.

The first land went to the children of Aaron, the Kohathites, who received the city of Arba and a portion of the land around it.

13 Thus they gave to the children of Aaron the priest Hebron with her suburbs, to be a city of refuge for the slayer; and Libnah with her suburbs,
14 And Jattir with her suburbs, and Eshtemoa with her suburbs,
15 And Holon with her suburbs, and Debir with her suburbs,
16 And Ain with her suburbs, and Juttah with her suburbs, and Beth-shemesh with her suburbs; nine cities out of those two tribes.
17 And out of the tribe of Benjamin, Gibeon with her suburbs, Geba with her suburbs,
18 Anathoth with her suburbs, and Almon with her suburbs; four cities.
19 All the cities of the children of Aaron, the priests, were thirteen cities with their suburbs.

The city of Hebron was given as a city of refuge, to the children of Aaron, as well as 12 other cities for dwelling.

20 And the families of the children of Kohath, the Levites which remained of the children of Kohath, even they had the cities of their lot out of the tribe of Ephraim.
21 For they gave them Shechem with her suburbs in mount Ephraim, to be a city of refuge for the slayer; and Gezer with her suburbs,
22 And Kibzaim with her suburbs, and Beth-horon with her suburbs; four cities.
23 And out of the tribe of Dan, Eltekeh with her suburbs, Gibbethon with her suburbs,
24 Aijalon with her suburbs, Gath-rimmon with her suburbs; four cities.
25 And out of the half tribe of Manasseh, Tanach with her suburbs, and Gath-rimmon with her suburbs; two cities.
26 All the cities were ten with their suburbs for the families of the children of Kohath that remained.

The next land given to the Levites, in particular the families of the children of Kohath, came from the tribe of Ephraim and half of Manasseh. These included 10 cities and their suburbs.

27 And unto the children of Gershon, of the families of the Levites, out of the other half tribe of Manasseh they gave Golan in Bashan with her suburbs, to be a city of refuge for the slayer; and Beesh-terah with her suburbs; two cities.
28 And out of the tribe of Issachar, Kishon with her suburbs, Dabareh with her suburbs,
29 Jarmuth with her suburbs, En-gannim with her suburbs; four cities.
30 And out of the tribe of Asher, Mishal with her suburbs, Abdon with her suburbs,
31 Helkath with her suburbs, and Rehob with her suburbs; four cities.
32 And out of the tribe of Naphtali, Kedesh in Galilee with her suburbs, to be a city of refuge for the slayer; and Hammoth-dor with her suburbs, and Kartan with her suburbs; three cities.
33 All the cities of the Gershonites according to their families were thirteen cities with their suburbs.

The Levites of the Gershon family, received 13 cities and suburbs to dwell in, with 2 cities of refuge among them. These came from the tribes of Manasseh, Issachar, Asher, and Naphtali.

34 And unto the families of the children of Merari, the rest of the Levites, out of the tribe of Zebulun, Jokneam with her suburbs, and Kartah with her suburbs,
35 Dimnah with her suburbs, Nahalal with her suburbs; four cities.
36 And out of the tribe of Reuben, Bezer with her suburbs, and Jahazah with her suburbs,
37 Kedemoth with her suburbs, and Mephaath with her suburbs; four cities.
38 And out of the tribe of Gad, Ramoth in Gilead with her suburbs, to be a city of refuge for the slayer; and Mahanaim with her suburbs,
39 Heshbon with her suburbs, Jazer with her suburbs; four cities in all.
40 So all the cities for the children of Merari by their families, which were remaining of the families of the Levites, were by their lot twelve cities.
41 All the cities of the Levites within the possession of the children of Israel were forty and eight cities with their suburbs.
42 These cities were every one with their suburbs round about them: thus were all these cities.

The Levite children of Merarri received land from the tribes of Zebulun, Reuben, and Gad. They received 12 cities, with 1 city of refuge among them.

43 And the Lord gave unto Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein.
44 And the Lord gave them rest round about, according to all that he sware unto their fathers: and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; the Lord delivered all their enemies into their hand.
45 There failed not ought of any good thing which the Lord had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.

Finally, the entire nation of Israel, had been given land and the Lord gave them rest as their fathers had been promised. No enemies remained in the land and all the promises that the Lord had made to the Israelites, had come to pass.

This must have been a time of joy and rejoicing for the people of Israel. They were finally in their place of rest and hopeful peace. Now was the time, when they could establish their lives in one place and they were no longer facing enemies and the hardships of journeying. The greatest thing, was that the Lord had fulfilled the covenant he had made with the Israelites, that their enemies would be delivered into their hands and they would be victorious in gaining the promised land. The promise remained still, that they would need to be faithful to the laws of God, if they were to be blessed in the land. God will fulfill the covenants that we make with Him as well, and if we are faithful, we will receive all the promised blessings that He has in store for us.

Deuteronomy Chapter 11

Moses continued to instruct the Israelites on the laws, statutes, and ordinances of the Lord, in preparation for their gaining the promised land. These things were so important for them in that day, just as they are important for us to learn of now. This chapter begins as follows:

1 Therefore thou shalt love the Lord thy God, and keep his charge, and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments, alway.
2 And know ye this day: for I speak not with your children which have not known, and which have not seen the chastisement of the Lord your God, his greatness, his mighty hand, and his stretched out arm,
3 And his miracles, and his acts, which he did in the midst of Egypt unto Pharaoh the king of Egypt, and unto all his land;
4 And what he did unto the army of Egypt, unto their horses, and to their chariots; how he made the water of the Red sea to overflow them as they pursued after you, and how the Lord hath destroyed them unto this day;
5 And what he did unto you in the wilderness, until ye came into this place;
6 And what he did unto Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, the son of Reuben: how the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their households, and their tents, and all the substance that was in their possession, in the midst of all Israel:
7 But your eyes have seen all the great acts of the Lord which he did.
8 Therefore shall ye keep all the commandments which I command you this day, that ye may be strong, and go in and possess the land, whither ye go to possess it;
9 And that ye may prolong your days in the land, which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give unto them and to their seed, a land that floweth with milk and honey.

This message was directed towards those adults, who had experienced the miracles and wonders of the Lord during the long journey in the wilderness. Because they had witnessed so much and been greatly blessed by the Lord, He could have greater expectations of them. It is such a blessing and a huge responsibility to have made covenants with the Lord. When we do this, and learn truth through the whisperings of the Holy Spirit, we are held to a higher standard than those who have not. One of the things that gives me great peace of mind, is knowing that we will each be judged for what the Lord knows we have a knowledge of. I will not be judged for the same understanding as the prophets who have witnessed greater things, but I will be judged for an understanding that is greater than those who have gone without the gospel in their lives. The Lord was not going to hold the children of the Israelites to the same standard as those who had seen the waters of the Red Sea part, and had witnessed the ground open up when men had openly rebelled against Moses and the word of the Lord.

The Lord wanted the people to follow His commandments, so that they could be blessed with strength. The strength they needed was both physical and spiritual strength (strong of heart, strong in the faith, and strong in spirit). If they did this, the Lord could answer his promise to their ancestors and allow them to inherit the promised land. This was a promise of a loving God, who desired to give blessings. I believe this promise of the fathers, is still a promise today that will be fulfilled completely, when all the people will come to know that Jesus is the Christ, and will turn to Him in faith. Our Father in Heaven loves us also and desires to give us all the blessings He has. Likewise, we are expected to keep His commandments. Modern revelation teaches us of this same commandment to love the Lord. In Doctrine and Covenants 59:5 we read, “Wherefore, I give unto them a commandment, saying thus: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy might, mind, and strength; and in the name of Jesus Christ thou shalt serve him.” Our own promised land will be the blessing for those who remember to keep these things.

10 For the land, whither thou goest in to possess it, is not as the land of Egypt, from whence ye came out, where thou sowedst thy seed, and wateredst it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs:
11 But the land, whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven:
12 A land which the Lord thy God careth for: the eyes of the Lord thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.

The promised land was beautiful and had plenty of rain water to provide for the land and people. As the land of promise, the Lord watched over it and cared for it. I am sure that He continues to watch over that land today. I believe that there is a “promised land” awaiting us after this life. We are promised that the blessings of the celestial kingdom will be the greatest that God gives. He has prepared it for us, and is caring for it now, so that it will be a beautiful place of plenty for all those who earn that reward.

13 And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the Lord your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul,
14 That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil.
15 And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full.
16 Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them;
17 And then the Lord’s wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the Lord giveth you.

The children of Israel received a promise of the Lord, that if they would obey the commandments, particularly to love the Lord and serve Him completely, they would have rain in its season. The land would bring forth good harvest, and the fields would be good for their cattle. The people were warned to watch for being deceived in their hearts, to turn to other gods. Serving other gods would bring the wrath of God upon them and remove these promised blessings, leaving them to perish. I think that the fulfillment of either of these promises would show that the earth is the Lord’s and He has power over it and the elements which provide for it. He still has this power today, and I know that we can be blessed with rain and good harvest for our righteousness today.

18 Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.
19 And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
20 And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates:
21 That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.

These great promises required that they remember and cherish the words of the Lord, teaching them to their children at all times of the day, and keeping memorials on their person and around themselves as reminders. In doing this, they would be blessed with a multiplying of their days in the land, as well as the days of their children. This is another power and gift from God that he offered to the Israelites and can provide for His people today. I think that we will receive great blessings if we treasure the words of the Lord, both from the ancient and modern prophets. I believe that we are also greatly blessed by teaching our children and keeping reminders of these things around us as often as possible.

22 For if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him;
23 Then will the Lord drive out all these nations from before you, and ye shall possess greater nations and mightier than yourselves.
24 Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the uttermost sea shall your coast be.
25 There shall no man be able to stand before you: for the Lord your God shall lay the fear of you and the dread of you upon all the land that ye shall tread upon, as he hath said unto you.

If they were obedient to the commandments, they were promised that nations would be driven out of the land. The Israelites would gain the land of great and mighty nations, wherever they would go. With the help of the Lord, nations would fear them even before they got there to drive them out of the land.

26 Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse;
27 A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day:
28 And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.
29 And it shall come to pass, when the Lord thy God hath brought thee in unto the land whither thou goest to possess it, that thou shalt put the blessing upon mount Gerizim, and the curse upon mount Ebal.
30 Are they not on the other side Jordan, by the way where the sun goeth down, in the land of the Canaanites, which dwell in the champaign over against Gilgal, beside the plains of Moreh?
31 For ye shall pass over Jordan to go in to possess the land which the Lord your God giveth you, and ye shall possess it, and dwell therein.
32 And ye shall observe to do all the statutes and judgments which I set before you this day.

Obedience would bring a blessing from the Lord and disobedience would bring a curse. The Israelites were to place a blessing on mount Gerizim, and a curse on mount Ebal. They would do this later, by reading the law of Moses and in a sense, dedicating the land to the Lord and to righteousness. They would be able to cross the Jordan River, posses the land and live there, as long as they were obedient.

Their is an eternal law of blessings, which teaches that when the Lord promises a blessing for a commandment, He is bound to give that blessing. It is found in Doctrine and Covenants 130, where we can read:

20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—
21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.

I think also, that when he promises a curse for failure to keep the commandments, He is bound to that curse, because the promises of God are perfect and complete. This is especially poignant for those who have made covenants with the Lord. Modern revelation found in verses such as Doctrine and Covenants 41:1, teach us this principle. “Hearken and hear, O ye my people, saith the Lord and your God, ye whom I delight to bless with the greatest of all blessings, ye that hear me; and ye that hear me not will I curse, that have professed my name, with the heaviest of all cursings.”

The mercy of the Lord, however, can be extended when we turn back to Him and keep His commandments. That mercy does not mean that we will not suffer something for our initial disobedience, but it does allow for us to receive forgiveness and eventual relief from the suffering we bring upon ourselves. I am grateful for the hope that promised blessings brings to my life. Moroni 10:32 reads, “Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.” This gives me a great source of strength, when choosing to live righteously can seem so challenging.

Deuteronomy Chapter 7

The children of Israel were to be entering the promised land soon, at this point in the bible. Moses was commanded to teach them in preparation for their living in this land. This is because they were to be a holy people, who stood out among the nations. The instruction continues:

1 When the Lord thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;
2 And when the Lord thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:
3 Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.
4 For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.
5 But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire.
6 For 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.
7 The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people:
8 But because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
9 Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;
10 And repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face.
11 Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them.

The Israelites starts off with a little reminder again, that they will gain this land, only by the strength of the Lord, and not on their own strength. The seven nations who lived there at this point, were much greater than the Israelites. But, the Lord would provide the way for them, and those other nations would be destroyed. As part of this act to gain the promised land, Moses teaches them that they must not make any deals, agreements, promises or likewise, with those people among the other nations they would conquer. They were not to give mercy to the people, because mercy was only the Lord’s to give at this point. The nations who inhabited the promised land at this time, were not righteous people, but were wicked and far from the Lord. If they allowed the wicked to live in the land, the temptation to turn from the Lord, would be too great for them to resist. There is no commandment for us today, to separate ourselves from those who have different faiths. We are mostly caused to live in the world, and yet, find the strength to not live of the world. This can be really difficult. We cannot stand to invite temptation into our lives, so we ourselves, must live worthy of the guidance of the spirit in order to avoid allowing things to creep in.

The people were commanded that they should not marry anyone from the other nations, because their children would be drawn away from the Lord and serve the false gods of those other nations. If they went against this law and their children were to fall away, sudden destruction was promised to them. Instead, when they took over the land, they were commanded to destroy all the altars, idols, and anything else designed to worship other gods. They were only to worship the Lord, and leave nothing remaining that would draw them away. This strict law was necessary in order to preserve the righteousness of the people as a whole. The Lord knew the hearts of the Israelites and how quickly they would forget Him, if they allowed apostasy to creep into their land. Today it is very common to marry another of a different faith. I know from my own personal experience, that there is great strength to be found in dating and marrying someone who believes in the same God. I don’t think less of those who marry outside their faith, but personally, I know now that I could not live happily without the amazing blessings that have come from choosing someone who has the same beliefs as I do.

The Lord would set the nation of Israel above all other nations, because the Lord loves those who follow Him. The Israelites would be the blessed nation, because of the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. These promises would be theirs, if they chose to keep the laws of the Lord as Moses commanded. The Israelites were a blessed and chosen nation, separated from others and shown great miracles and wonders, but they eventually fell away into apostasy. However, these promises are available to all of God’s children, even though we are not physically separated from others. We can be a blessed people today, if we love the Lord and keep his commandments.

12 Wherefore it shall come to pass, if ye hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that the Lord thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy which he sware unto thy fathers:
13 And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee.
14 Thou shalt be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle.

I cannot imagine what this blessing would be like. They were promised that they would multiply, their children would be blessed, and that their crops of grain, food, drink, and flocks would all be blessed. They were also promised, that if they would be obedient to the law, none would be barren. This would mean that their smaller and weaker nation, would become incredibly strong and great as a result.

15 And the Lord will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them upon all them that hate thee.
16 And thou shalt consume all the people which the Lord thy God shall deliver thee; thine eye shall have no pity upon them: neither shalt thou serve their gods; for that will be a snare unto thee.
17 If thou shalt say in thine heart, These nations are more than I; how can I dispossess them?
18 Thou shalt not be afraid of them: but shalt well remember what the Lord thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt;
19 The great temptations which thine eyes saw, and the signs, and the wonders, and the mighty hand, and the stretched out arm, whereby the Lord thy God brought thee out: so shall the Lord thy God do unto all the people of whom thou art afraid.
20 Moreover the Lord thy God will send the hornet among them, until they that are left, and hide themselves from thee, be destroyed.

The Lord promised to remove sickness from the Israelites and give it to them who stood against them. Knowing that the other nations would only bring temptation and sin among them, they were to show no pity when the Lord delivered them into their hands. They needed to remember continually, that the Lord would be their strength, and provide miracles for them as He had in Egypt. If the were obedient, the Lord would bring about the destruction of all of their enemies in the land.

21 Thou shalt not be affrighted at them: for the Lord thy God is among you, a mighty God and terrible.
22 And the Lord thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee.
23 But the Lord thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed.
24 And he shall deliver their kings into thine hand, and thou shalt destroy their name from under heaven: there shall no man be able to stand before thee, until thou have destroyed them.
25 The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the Lord thy God.
26 Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing.

The nations would be delivered by the Lord, a little at a time, and not all at once. This was the wisdom of the Lord. Otherwise, the task would be too great for them. The Israelites needed to practice patience and see that the Lord would provide the way. When they destroyed the people, they were reminded again to destroy those things that would bring their own destruction if allowed to remain among them. These words to the people of Israel were not knew. These are the promises and conditions, which the Lord gave the people before they began their wandering 40 years earlier, when the elders of the Israelites were young. I think these words are being repeated, so that they might remember them with greater strength.

The Israelites had not always shown that they were willing to put their trust in the Lord. In fact, that is what earned them the many years of wandering and the loss of their parents. They were about to enter lands where greater people lived and would be willing to put up a great fight. The people needed their faith to be fortified before they entered, so that they would not falter and turn away from the true source of their strength. If they trusted in the Lord, He would provide the way, and in some cases the Israelites would not even have to put up a fight. The scriptures are filled with passages which teach us that the Lord will give strength and blessings to those who love Him, trust Him, and follow His commandments. These promises are not dead, but remain true for us today. Our own personal enemies, temptations, trials, and sorrows, will not have the power to destroy us, if we will remain faithful and obedient to the Lord. I know this is true, because I have felt his strength in my life. I am so grateful for this promise and for the knowledge that the Lord is the one, true God, with power to overcome all things.

Deuteronomy Chapter 3

Moses was commanded to teach the Israelites before he left them and they continued on to gain the land of promise. These were the younger generation, who had not experienced much, if any life at all, in the land of Egypt. As a group, they had traveled through the wilderness for about forty years. Through it all, they had been guided and directed by the Lord, and Moses, who was his chosen prophet. Moses continues his teachings in this chapter.

1 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.
2 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.
3 So the Lord our God delivered into our hands Og also, the king of Bashan, and all his people: and we smote him until none was left to him remaining.
4 And we took all his cities at that time, there was not a city which we took not from them, threescore cities, all the region of Argob, the kingdom of Og in Bashan.
5 All these cities were fenced with high walls, gates, and bars; beside unwalled towns a great many.
6 And we utterly destroyed them, as we did unto Sihon king of Heshbon, utterly destroying the men, women, and children, of every city.
7 But all the cattle, and the spoil of the cities, we took for a prey to ourselves.
8 And we took at that time out of the hand of the two kings of the Amorites the land that was on this side Jordan, from the river of Arnon unto mount Hermon;
9 (Which Hermon the Sidonians call Sirion; and the Amorites call it Shenir;)
10 All the cities of the plain, and all Gilead, and all Bashan, unto Salchah and Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan.
11 For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of giants; behold, his bedstead was a bedstead of iron; is it not in Rabbath of the children of Ammon? nine cubits was the length thereof, and four cubits the breadth of it, after the cubit of a man.
12 And this land, which we possessed at that time, from Aroer, which is by the river Arnon, and half mount Gilead, and the cities thereof, gave I unto the Reubenites and to the Gadites.
13 And the rest of Gilead, and all Bashan, being the kingdom of Og, gave I unto the half tribe of Manasseh; all the region of Argob, with all Bashan, which was called the land of giants.
14 Jair the son of Manasseh took all the country of Argob unto the coasts of Geshuri and Maachathi; and called them after his own name, Bashan-havoth-jair, unto this day.
15 And I gave Gilead unto Machir.
16 And unto the Reubenites and unto the Gadites I gave from Gilead even unto the river Arnon half the valley, and the border even unto the river Jabbok, which is the border of the children of Ammon;
17 The plain also, and Jordan, and the coast thereof, from Chinnereth even unto the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, under Ashdoth-pisgah eastward.

The children of Israel were guided to Bashan, where they fought against the people and King Og. The Lord was once again, on their side, and promised them victory. The Israelites destroyed that people completely and took all their fortified lands, the land between, and all their possessions. They had gained a large area of land, with the help of the Lord. It sounds like, this was the last people that had been considered giants. (I think they are describing this man as around 13 feet tall.) A portion of the land gained, was given to the tribe of Reuben and the tribe of Gad. The rest, which had been called the land of giants, was given to part of the tribe of Manasseh. The villages in the land of the tribe of Manasseh, were called Bashan-havoth-jair.

18 And I commanded you at that time, saying, The Lord your God hath given you this land to possess it: ye shall pass over armed before your brethren the children of Israel, all that are meet for the war.
19 But your wives, and your little ones, and your cattle, (for I know that ye have much cattle,) shall abide in your cities which I have given you;
20 Until the Lord have given rest unto your brethren, as well as unto you, and until they also possess the land which the Lord your God hath given them beyond Jordan: and then shall ye return every man unto his possession, which I have given you.

Moses reminded these tribes that they were given the land of the Lord, with their covenant to send their armies with the remaining Israelites, to gain the promised land. Their covenant would be fulfilled when the host of Israel had succeeded in claiming Canaan for themselves. Then, these tribes would be able to return to their families and the land the Lord gave to them.

21 And I commanded Joshua at that time, saying, Thine eyes have seen all that the Lord your God hath done unto these two kings: so shall the Lord do unto all the kingdoms whither thou passest.
22 Ye shall not fear them: for the Lord your God he shall fight for you.
23 And I besought the Lord at that time, saying,
24 O Lord God, thou hast begun to shew thy servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand: for what God is there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works, and according to thy might?
25 I pray thee, let me go over, and see the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain, and Lebanon.
26 But the Lord was wroth with me for your sakes, and would not hear me: and the Lord said unto me, Let it suffice thee; speak no more unto me of this matter.
27 Get thee up into the top of Pisgah, and lift up thine eyes westward, and northward, and southward, and eastward, and behold it with thine eyes: for thou shalt not go over this Jordan.
28 But charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him: for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which thou shalt see.
29 So we abode in the valley over against Beth-peor.

Joshua, was called to continue the leadership of the host of Israel, and was told that all the nations who inhabited canaan at that time, would be delivered into their hands, just as the two nations they had just conquered. He was promised that the Lord would be with them and would fight for them. Moses pleaded with the Lord at that point, to see the promised land by entering it. Moses was not to see it that way, but was told to go up into the mountain, and there he could view the land from a distance. Moses was commanded to give counsel and encouragement to Joshua, so that he would be better prepared to lead the people to their inheritance. The Lord was not going to call Joshua to lead the people into battles, without the support and guidance he needed.

The thing that stands out the most to me in this chapter, is the Lord’s promise to be with the people and to fight for them. I believe that this promise remains true for the saints today. All those who choose to make covenants with God, choose to be in the ranks of His army. When we are faithful and righteous, he will help us to have victory over our enemies. One of our greatest enemies is temptation. I have felt the empowering strength that the Lord can give us through his Atonement, and I know that through righteous living, the Lord will make us so much stronger than those temptations. I believe that as long as I choose the right, the Lord is on my side and I cannot fail. No matter how strong or great an enemy is, the Lord is always stronger and greater.

Deuteronomy Chapter 2

The prophet Moses, taught the Israelites those things which the Lord wanted them to know and remember. As a people, they had traveled for many years and had many experiences to learn from. These sermons were being given to the younger generation, who had not made the original covenants at Mount Sinai, because the older generation had already passed away as promised by the Lord. In the last chapter, Moses began to recount the journey of the children of Israel from when they left Egypt, until they had rebelled and fought against the Amorites against the word of the Lord. This had been in response to the promise that the adults would not live to see the promised land. The teachings of Moses continue as follows:

1 Then we turned, and took our journey into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea, as the Lord spake unto me: and we compassed mount Seir many days.
2 And the Lord spake unto me, saying,
3 Ye have compassed this mountain long enough: turn you northward.
4 And command thou the people, saying, Ye are to pass through the coast of your brethren the children of Esau, which dwell in Seir; and they shall be afraid of you: take ye good heed unto yourselves therefore:
5 Meddle not with them; for I will not give you of their land, no, not so much as a foot breadth; because I have given mount Seir unto Esau for a possession.
6 Ye shall buy meat of them for money, that ye may eat; and ye shall also buy water of them for money, that ye may drink.
7 For the Lord thy God hath blessed thee in all the works of thy hand: he knoweth thy walking through this great wilderness: these forty years the Lord thy God hath been with thee; thou hast lacked nothing.
8 And when we passed by from our brethren the children of Esau, which dwelt in Seir, through the way of the plain from Elath, and from Ezion-gaber, we turned and passed by the way of the wilderness of Moab.
9 And the Lord said unto me, Distress not the Moabites, neither contend with them in battle: for I will not give thee of their land for a possession; because I have given Ar unto the children of Lot for a possession.
10 The Emims dwelt therein in times past, a people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakims;
11 Which also were accounted giants, as the Anakims; but the Moabites call them Emims.
12 The Horims also dwelt in Seir beforetime; but the children of Esau succeeded them, when they had destroyed them from before them, and dwelt in their stead; as Israel did unto the land of his possession, which the Lord gave unto them.
13 Now rise up, said I, and get you over the brook Zered. And we went over the brook Zered.
14 And the space in which we came from Kadesh-barnea, until we were come over the brook Zered, was thirty and eight years; until all the generation of the men of war were wasted out from among the host, as the Lord sware unto them.
15 For indeed the hand of the Lord was against them, to destroy them from among the host, until they were consumed.

The Israelites began their journey into the wilderness, going around mount Seir and then when they had gone far enough, they were led to the North. They were warned of the Lord, about the people of Seir, who would fear them. The Lord told them to pass through without issue, because the land of the children of Esau, the posterity of the brother of Jacob (Israel), was not the land for them. They were only to buy food and drink from them. Moses teaches them, that the Lord provided for them all the years of their journey, because He knew them and had been with them the entire time. The Israelites went through the land of Seir, passing part of the land of the Moabites, which belonged to the posterity of Lot. Again they were told not to take issue with the Moabites in the wilderness, because it was not the land for the Israelites. They were led over the brook Zered. By this time, thirty-eight years had passed and all of the older generation had passed away.

16 So it came to pass, when all the men of war were consumed and dead from among the people,
17 That the Lord spake unto me, saying,
18 Thou art to pass over through Ar, the coast of Moab, this day:
19 And when thou comest nigh over against the children of Ammon, distress them not, nor meddle with them: for I will not give thee of the land of the children of Ammon any possession; because I have given it unto the children of Lot for a possession.
20 (That also was accounted a land of giants: giants dwelt therein in old time; and the Ammonites call them Zamzummims;
21 A people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakims; but the Lord destroyed them before them; and they succeeded them, and dwelt in their stead:
22 As he did to the children of Esau, which dwelt in Seir, when he destroyed the Horims from before them; and they succeeded them, and dwelt in their stead even unto this day:
23 And the Avims which dwelt in Hazerim, even unto Azzah, the Caphtorims, which came forth out of Caphtor, destroyed them, and dwelt in their stead.)

At that time, the Lord led them into the land of Moab, with a warning that they should not fight with the people of Ammon who dwelt there. The people of Ammon were also their extended family, as more of the posterity of Lot, and were not in the land of promise for the Israelites. I find it interesting that each of these lands, were the land of some other children of those we learn about in the scriptures. The Lord had given some of the land for the children of Esau and some for the children of Lot. This to me, is an example, that the Lord is there for all of his children, guiding all to the places best for them. Then, according to His will, they may remain there, or be removed based on their choices and the order of the plan of the Lord. I think that this may have all been because of the righteousness of Abraham, who cared for Lot and his posterity, as well as the righteousness of Isaac, who cared deeply for Esau as well. I believe that later in the bible, we see destruction and scattering come to these nations due to wickedness, just as it comes to the children of Israel. They will then loose the land, but this was not the time for that, because the Israelites had their own promised land to gain.

24 Rise ye up, take your journey, and pass over the river Arnon: behold, I have given into thine hand Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his land: begin to possess it, and contend with him in battle.
25 This day will I begin to put the dread of thee and the fear of thee upon the nations that are under the whole heaven, who shall hear report of thee, and shall tremble, and be in anguish because of thee.

When they came to the land of the Amorites, they were instructed to fight them and take their land, which was prepared for them by the Lord. The Lord caused that the nations around, would be able to learn of the Israelite army, and fear them. This is probably why rulers, such as Balak, who had attempted to hire Balaam to curse Isreal, and caused their blessing instead, were afraid of their power and what they would do to their land.

26 And I sent messengers out of the wilderness of Kedemoth unto Sihon king of Heshbon with words of peace, saying,
27 Let me pass through thy land: I will go along by the high way, I will neither turn unto the right hand nor to the left.
28 Thou shalt sell me meat for money, that I may eat; and give me water for money, that I may drink: only I will pass through on my feet;
29 (As the children of Esau which dwell in Seir, and the Moabites which dwell in Ar, did unto me;) until I shall pass over Jordan into the land which the Lord our God giveth us.
30 But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him: for the Lord thy God hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate, that he might deliver him into thy hand, as appeareth this day.
31 And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have begun to give Sihon and his land before thee: begin to possess, that thou mayest inherit his land.
32 Then Sihon came out against us, he and all his people, to fight at Jahaz.
33 And the Lord our God delivered him before us; and we smote him, and his sons, and all his people.
34 And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain:
35 Only the cattle we took for a prey unto ourselves, and the spoil of the cities which we took.
36 From Aroer, which is by the brink of the river of Arnon, and from the city that is by the river, even unto Gilead, there was not one city too strong for us: the Lord our God delivered all unto us:
37 Only unto the land of the children of Ammon thou camest not, nor unto any place of the river Jabbok, nor unto the cities in the mountains, nor unto whatsoever the Lord our God forbad us.

Men of Israel were sent to request peaceful passage through the land, planning to pay for all the food and drink they used both for themselves and for their herds. I think the Lord knew that the Amorites would be stubborn and not allow this because of the hardness of his heart, so the Lord allowed his heart to remain hard. The Amorites fought against them, beginning at Jahaz, and the Lord helped the Israelites to smite and defeat them in all their lands, except where He had forbidden it. Part of these lands they gained was the area that was later given to the tribes of Reuben, Gad and part of the tribe of Manasseh. All this was done, with the help of the Lord, and not on the part of the Israelites alone.

It was important for Moses to remind the Israelites that they had been continually blessed by the Lord. I am a firm believer in gratitude being an important trait to any who desire to follow the Lord. When we are grateful, especially to the Lord for his countless blessings, we become more devoted and loving because of increased humility. If the Israelites had been led to believe that they had done these things by their own strength and wisdom, they would have fallen away from the Lord because of pride. When I remember the blessings and tender mercies of the Lord in my life, I remember that I owe all that I have and all that I am, to Him. This gives me the desire to do all that I am able to further His work, and show my gratitude to Him in all that I do.

Deuteronomy Chapter 1

The book of Deuteronomy, is the fifth book of Moses found in the Bible. The children of Israel have reached their final stop before entering and gaining the promised land. To start this book, Moses rehearses the journey of the Israelites during the forty years in the wilderness. This first chapter begins as follows:

1 These be the words which Moses spake unto all Israel on this side Jordan in the wilderness, in the plain over against the Red sea, between Paran, and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Dizahab.
2 (There are eleven days’ journey from Horeb by the way of mount Seir unto Kadesh-barnea.)
3 And it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spake unto the children of Israel, according unto all that the Lord had given him in commandment unto them;
4 After he had slain Sihon the king of the Amorites, which dwelt in Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, which dwelt at Astaroth in Edrei:
5 On this side Jordan, in the land of Moab, began Moses to declare this law, saying,
6 The Lord our God spake unto us in Horeb, saying, Ye have dwelt long enough in this mount:
7 Turn you, and take your journey, and go to the mount of the Amorites, and unto all the places nigh thereunto, in the plain, in the hills, and in the vale, and in the south, and by the sea side, to the land of the Canaanites, and unto Lebanon, unto the great river, the river Euphrates.
8 Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them.

Moses was commanded to speak to the Israelites while they were encamped in the land of Moab. He began by reminding them that when they were in the area of Sinai (Horeb), they were commanded to leave and journey to the land of their inheritance, the land of the Canaanites.

9 And I spake unto you at that time, saying, I am not able to bear you myself alone:
10 The Lord your God hath multiplied you, and, behold, ye are this day as the stars of heaven for multitude.
11 (The Lord God of your fathers make you a thousand times so many more as ye are, and bless you, as he hath promised you!)
12 How can I myself alone bear your cumbrance, and your burden, and your strife?
13 Take you wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you.
14 And ye answered me, and said, The thing which thou hast spoken is good for us to do.
15 So I took the chief of your tribes, wise men, and known, and made them heads over you, captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, and captains over fifties, and captains over tens, and officers among your tribes.
16 And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him.
17 Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God’s: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it.
18 And I commanded you at that time all the things which ye should do.

He reminded them that rulers and judges were chosen from among the tribes, in order to help Moses in the burden of leadership. Those judges were instructed to do their duty in righteousness, hearing every plea of the people and showing no prejudice among them. Any issue that was too difficult to judge, was to be taken to Moses.

19 And when we departed from Horeb, we went through all that great and terrible wilderness, which ye saw by the way of the mountain of the Amorites, as the Lord our God commanded us; and we came to Kadesh-barnea.
20 And I said unto you, Ye are come unto the mountain of the Amorites, which the Lord our God doth give unto us.
21 Behold, the Lord thy God hath set the land before thee: go up and possess it, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged.

When they had arrived in Kadesh-barnea, they were commanded to prepare themselves to take the land of promise from those who inhabited it.

22 And ye came near unto me every one of you, and said, We will send men before us, and they shall search us out the land, and bring us word again by what way we must go up, and into what cities we shall come.
23 And the saying pleased me well: and I took twelve men of you, one of a tribe:
24 And they turned and went up into the mountain, and came unto the valley of Eshcol, and searched it out.
25 And they took of the fruit of the land in their hands, and brought it down unto us, and brought us word again, and said, It is a good land which the Lord our God doth give us.

They followed the commandment and sent men from each of the tribes, as spies, to go into the land and report to them the condition of the land. They returned to say that the land was good.

26 Notwithstanding ye would not go up, but rebelled against the commandment of the Lord your God:
27 And ye murmured in your tents, and said, Because the Lord hated us, he hath brought us forth out of the land of Egypt, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us.
28 Whither shall we go up? our brethren have discouraged our heart, saying, The people is greater and taller than we; the cities are great and walled up to heaven; and moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakims there.
29 Then I said unto you, Dread not, neither be afraid of them.
30 The Lord your God which goeth before you, he shall fight for you, according to all that he did for you in Egypt before your eyes;
31 And in the wilderness, where thou hast seen how that the Lord thy God bare thee, as a man doth bear his son, in all the way that ye went, until ye came into this place.
32 Yet in this thing ye did not believe the Lord your God,
33 Who went in the way before you, to search you out a place to pitch your tents in, in fire by night, to shew you by what way ye should go, and in a cloud by day.

The Israelites rebelled against the commandment, out of fear of the people in the land, because the spies also said that the people and cities there were too great for the Israelites to be successful. Moses had told them not to fear them, because the Lord would be on their side to fight for them as he had done before. The people did not believe Moses, they murmured in their homes, and they did not believe that God would do this thing for them.

34 And the Lord heard the voice of your words, and was wroth, and sware, saying,
35 Surely there shall not one of these men of this evil generation see that good land, which I sware to give unto your fathers,
36 Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him will I give the land that he hath trodden upon, and to his children, because he hath wholly followed the Lord.
37 Also the Lord was angry with me for your sakes, saying, Thou also shalt not go in thither.
38 But Joshua the son of Nun, which standeth before thee, he shall go in thither: encourage him: for he shall cause Israel to inherit it.
39 Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it.
40 But as for you, turn you, and take your journey into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea.

Moses reminded the Israelites, that because of their rebellion, the Lord promised all the adults of that generation, that they would not live to see the promised land. The only exceptions were Caleb, for following the Lord, and Joshua, who would lead them to their inheritance. Only the children of that generation would posses the land. It was at this time, that the Lord caused them to journey into the wilderness.

41 Then ye answered and said unto me, We have sinned against the Lord, we will go up and fight, according to all that the Lord our God commanded us. And when ye had girded on every man his weapons of war, ye were ready to go up into the hill.
42 And the Lord said unto me, Say unto them, Go not up, neither fight; for I am not among you; lest ye be smitten before your enemies.
43 So I spake unto you; and ye would not hear, but rebelled against the commandment of the Lord, and went presumptuously up into the hill.
44 And the Amorites, which dwelt in that mountain, came out against you, and chased you, as bees do, and destroyed you in Seir, even unto Hormah.
45 And ye returned and wept before the Lord; but the Lord would not hearken to your voice, nor give ear unto you.
46 So ye abode in Kadesh many days, according unto the days that ye abode there.

Instead of going into the wilderness as they had been commanded, they sent their men in to fight and take the land, because of the promise that they would not inherit it. Moses was commanded to tell them not to fight, or they would be killed, because the Lord was not with them. In rebellion, they went ahead with their plan to fight, and were beaten by the Amorites. The people who remained, mourned for their loss, and cried to the Lord, but would not be heard for their rebellion.

These are stories that have been told in the books and chapters previous to the book of Deuteronomy. In the Bible Dictionary, it teaches that deuteronomy means “repetition of the law”. I think that the Israelites, who were about to gain the land, needed to hear of the blessings as well as the wickedness of their fathers. They needed to know what they had gone through to get where they were and they needed to understand that rebellion from the commandments of God, and allowing their faith to be weak, had brought them lives of difficulty and hardship. This is part of the reason why those of us who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, learn of the stories of the early pioneers. We need to learn of the times when they had faith and were greatly blessed with miracles and the companionship of the Lord. We need to learn of the times when they allowed temptations and weaknesses to shadow their lives, and how they struggled because they had rebelled against the commandants of the Lord. When we learn of these things, we can learn that we should have greater faith in the Lord in our lives.

Numbers Chapter 34

The Israelites were encamped to the East of the Jordan River, across from Jericho. Moses had been instructed to give the people the final details of preparations, before they entered the promised land. This included instructions on how they were to divide the lands of inheritance in Canaan. The tribes of Reuben, Gad, and a portion of the tribe of Manasseh, had already taken the lands they desired. This chapter begins:

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Command the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land of Canaan; (this is the land that shall fall unto you for an inheritance, even the land of Canaan with the coasts thereof:)
3 Then your south quarter shall be from the wilderness of Zin along by the coast of Edom, and your south border shall be the outmost coast of the salt sea eastward:
4 And your border shall turn from the south to the ascent of Akrabbim, and pass on to Zin: and the going forth thereof shall be from the south to Kadesh-barnea, and shall go on to Hazar-addar, and pass on to Azmon:
5 And the border shall fetch a compass from Azmon unto the river of Egypt, and the goings out of it shall be at the sea.
6 And as for the western border, ye shall even have the great sea for a border: this shall be your west border.
7 And this shall be your north border: from the great sea ye shall point out for you mount Hor:
8 From mount Hor ye shall point out your border unto the entrance of Hamath; and the goings forth of the border shall be to Zedad:
9 And the border shall go on to Ziphron, and the goings out of it shall be at Hazar-enan: this shall be your north border.
10 And ye shall point out your east border from Hazar-enan to Shepham:
11 And the coast shall go down from Shepham to Riblah, on the east side of Ain; and the border shall descend, and shall reach unto the side of the sea of Chinnereth eastward:
12 And the border shall go down to Jordan, and the goings out of it shall be at the salt sea: this shall be your land with the coasts thereof round about.

A portion of Bible Map 2

A portion of Bible Map 2

In Genesis 17:8, we read of the covenant and promise made with Abraham, that his posterity would inherit the land of Canaan. “And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” In part of the fulfillment of this, Moses was given the specific borders of the land of inheritance. This included borders of the Salt Sea and the Great Sea (the Mediterranean Sea). The South border I think was in the wilderness of Zin, from the side or border of the land of Edom to the River of Egypt. The Northern border was perhaps a little above the Northern part of the Salt Sea, where they would be crossing the Jordan to enter the land.

13 And Moses commanded the children of Israel, saying, This is the land which ye shall inherit by lot, which the Lord commanded to give unto the nine tribes, and to the half tribe:
14 For the tribe of the children of Reuben according to the house of their fathers, and the tribe of the children of Gad according to the house of their fathers, have received their inheritance; and half the tribe of Manasseh have received their inheritance:
15 The two tribes and the half tribe have received their inheritance on this side Jordan near Jericho eastward, toward the sunrising.
16 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
17 These are the names of the men which shall divide the land unto you: Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun.
18 And ye shall take one prince of every tribe, to divide the land by inheritance.
19 And the names of the men are these: Of the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh.
20 And of the tribe of the children of Simeon, Shemuel the son of Ammihud.
21 Of the tribe of Benjamin, Elidad the son of Chislon.
22 And the prince of the tribe of the children of Dan, Bukki the son of Jogli.
23 The prince of the children of Joseph, for the tribe of the children of Manasseh, Hanniel the son of Ephod.
24 And the prince of the tribe of the children of Ephraim, Kemuel the son of Shiphtan.
25 And the prince of the tribe of the children of Zebulun, Elizaphan the son of Parnach.
26 And the prince of the tribe of the children of Issachar, Paltiel the son of Azzan.
27 And the prince of the tribe of the children of Asher, Ahihud the son of Shelomi.
28 And the prince of the tribe of the children of Naphtali, Pedahel the son of Ammihud.
29 These are they whom the Lord commanded to divide the inheritance unto the children of Israel in the land of Canaan.

Moses was given the names of the princes, or leaders of the tribes, which would be responsible for dividing the land. Eleazar, the high priest, and Joshua, who would lead them after Moses left, were to help divide the land. The princes were, Caleb of Judah, Shemuel of Dan, Elidad of Benjamin, Bukki of Dan, Hanniel of Manasseh (half of the tribe), Kemuel of Ephraim, Elizaphan of Zebulun, Paltiel of Issachar, Ahihud of Asher, and Pedahel of Naphtali.

This is a step in the process of the Lord giving the land of inheritance to the people. Something I get from reading this chapter, is that the Lord prepares us with our faith in action. It would have been simple for the Lord to remove the existing people from the land of Canaan and He could have placed each of the tribes where they would have the best fit. This is not the way that the Israelites would learn to have greater faith in the Lord. They had been given the promise and the Lord would help them by giving them instruction and commandments to follow. However, in order to gain greater understanding, the Israelites needed to do the work of removing the people, and dividing the land according to the instructions that had been given to them. If they acted in faith to the words of the Lord, they would have greater blessings. This is how the Lord works for us in our lives as well. There are times, when we could easily be taken care of by the Lord. Instead, He allows us the opportunity to grow from our own choices and experiences. Like the Israelites, if we can live faithful to the promptings of the spirit and the teachings of the gospel, we will receive greater blessings than we can even imagine.

Numbers Chapter 33

The children of Israel were led by the hand of the Lord from Egypt towards Canaan, which was the promised land of their fathers. It took them the better part of 50 years to make this journey, mostly due to their rebellious and disobedient nature. This chapter begins with a review of the journey they took.

Israel’s Exodus from Egypt and Entry into Canaan (Bible Map 2)

1 These are the journeys of the children of Israel, which went forth out of the land of Egypt with their armies under the hand of Moses and Aaron.
2 And Moses wrote their goings out according to their journeys by the commandment of the Lord: and these are their journeys according to their goings out.
3 And they departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians.
4 For the Egyptians buried all their firstborn, which the Lord had smitten among them: upon their gods also the Lord executed judgments.
5 And the children of Israel removed from Rameses, and pitched in Succoth.
6 And they departed from Succoth, and pitched in Etham, which is in the edge of the wilderness.
7 And they removed from Etham, and turned again unto Pi-hahiroth, which is before Baal-zephon: and they pitched before Migdol.
8 And they departed from before Pi-hahiroth, and passed through the midst of the sea into the wilderness, and went three days’ journey in the wilderness of Etham, and pitched in Marah.
9 And they removed from Marah, and came unto Elim: and in Elim were twelve fountains of water, and threescore and ten palm trees; and they pitched there.
10 And they removed from Elim, and encamped by the Red sea.
11 And they removed from the Red sea, and encamped in the wilderness of Sin.
12 And they took their journey out of the wilderness of Sin, and encamped in Dophkah.
13 And they departed from Dophkah, and encamped in Alush.
14 And they removed from Alush, and encamped at Rephidim, where was no water for the people to drink.
15 And they departed from Rephidim, and pitched in the wilderness of Sinai.
16 And they removed from the desert of Sinai, and pitched at Kibroth-hattaavah.
17 And they departed from Kibroth-hattaavah, and encamped at Hazeroth.
18 And they departed from Hazeroth, and pitched in Rithmah.
19 And they departed from Rithmah, and pitched at Rimmon-parez.
20 And they departed from Rimmon-parez, and pitched in Libnah.
21 And they removed from Libnah, and pitched at Rissah.
22 And they journeyed from Rissah, and pitched in Kehelathah.
23 And they went from Kehelathah, and pitched in mount Shapher.
24 And they removed from mount Shapher, and encamped in Haradah.
25 And they removed from Haradah, and pitched in Makheloth.
26 And they removed from Makheloth, and encamped at Tahath.
27 And they departed from Tahath, and pitched at Tarah.
28 And they removed from Tarah, and pitched in Mithcah.
29 And they went from Mithcah, and pitched in Hashmonah.
30 And they departed from Hashmonah, and encamped at Moseroth.
31 And they departed from Moseroth, and pitched in Bene-jaakan.
32 And they removed from Bene-jaakan, and encamped at Hor-hagidgad.
33 And they went from Hor-hagidgad, and pitched in Jotbathah.
34 And they removed from Jotbathah, and encamped at Ebronah.
35 And they departed from Ebronah, and encamped at Ezion-gaber.
36 And they removed from Ezion-gaber, and pitched in the wilderness of Zin, which is Kadesh.
37 And they removed from Kadesh, and pitched in mount Hor, in the edge of the land of Edom.
38 And Aaron the priest went up into mount Hor at the commandment of the Lord, and died there, in the fortieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the first day of the fifth month.
39 And Aaron was an hundred and twenty and three years old when he died in mount Hor.
40 And king Arad the Canaanite, which dwelt in the south in the land of Canaan, heard of the coming of the children of Israel.
41 And they departed from mount Hor, and pitched in Zalmonah.
42 And they departed from Zalmonah, and pitched in Punon.
43 And they departed from Punon, and pitched in Oboth.
44 And they departed from Oboth, and pitched in Ije-abarim, in the border of Moab.
45 And they departed from Iim, and pitched in Dibon-gad.
46 And they removed from Dibon-gad, and encamped in Almon-diblathaim.
47 And they removed from Almon-diblathaim, and pitched in the mountains of Abarim, before Nebo.
48 And they departed from the mountains of Abarim, and pitched in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho.
49 And they pitched by Jordan, from Beth-jesimoth even unto Abel-shittim in the plains of Moab.

I can’t help but add some additional things to this review. The Israelites left Egypt, more specifically the land of Rameses, the day following the first passover, and camped in a place called Succoth. They followed the cloud of the Lord, which led them each day, and camped in Etham, Migdol, and then escaped Pharoah’s army by crossing over the dry land of the Red Sea. They traveled to Marah, where the waters were bitter and they could not drink anything. There Moses showed them the power of the Lord when he turned the water sweet and they were able to drink. They traveled next to Elim, and then they left the area of the Red Sea and went on to the wilderness of Sin. Here they complained about the lack of food and the Lord began to give them manna from heaven. From there, they traveled to Dophkah, Alush, and Rephidim, where there was no water, so the Lord opened the rock in Horeb and provided water for the people. They also fought and won against Amalek, because the Lord provided His strength through Moses holding his arms up to heaven. From there, they took their journey into the wilderness of Sinai. This is where the Lord revealed the commandments and many other great and wonderful things to Moses, such as the instructions for the building of the tabernacle. The people made covenants with the Lord, but then returned to idolatry in the Moses’ absence.

When the children of Israel left Sinai, they headed into the wilderness of Paran, camping in Kibroth-hattaavah. This is where they complained for want of something else to eat and they were given quail and a plague, which brought death to those who lusted after the meat. Next, they encamped in Hazeroth, where Miriam and Aaron desired to have the same power that Moses had been given. Miriam was cursed with leprosy for seven days and afterward, the Israelites journeyed to Rithmah. At Rithmah, Moses sent spies into Hebron in Canaan, and of those who went, only Caleb brought back a report and desire to go in and take the land. All the people murmured, except for Caleb and Joshua, and for this, the rest of the adults were promised that they would not enter the land of promise. The rebels among them were destroyed and this is where the forty years of wandering begins.

The Israelites headed back into the wilderness and camped in Rimmon-parez, Libnah, Rissah, Kehelathah, mount Shapher, Haradah, Makheloth, Tahath, Tarah, Mithcah, Hashmonah, Moseroth, Bene-jaakan, Hor-hagidgad, Jotbathah, Ebronah, Ezion-gaber, and then Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin. As they wandered, there was more rebellion against Moses and the Lord, the rebels were destroyed, and many miracles were performed by the power of God. Kadesh (Meribah) was where Miriam died and where Moses and Aaron sinned against the Lord in taking claim to bringing forth water from the rock. The Israelites tried to go through the land of Edom, but were refused by it’s leader. Instead, they left Kadesh and traveled around the land, headed for mount Hor, where Aaron died, a little more than forty years after they left Egypt. Eleazar, his son, became the high priest in his stead. At this point, Arad, the Canaanite king, became aware of the Israelites heading their way. When the Israelites left mount Hor, they passed through Arad’s land and after he fought them and took some of the Israelites captive, they were blessed with the Lord’s hand in battle against the people of Arad in Hormah. As they traveled from mount Hor, they had the experience with the plague of fiery serpents, because they complained about the manna of the Lord again. They continued on camping in Zalmonah, Punon, Oboth, Ije-abarim (Iim), Dibon-gad, and Almon-diblathaim. Amid these places, the Israelites had to fight some of the inhabitants of the land. With the Lord on their side, they were able to destroy their enemies and take the lands. Next, they camped in the Abarim mountains near mount Nebo.

The final stop on the Israelite journey so far, was in the plains of Moab on the eastern side of the Jordan, across the river from the city of Jericho. Here some returned to idolatry, were tempted by the Midianite women, and experienced a plaque among them. By this time, those who had been promised not to see the promised land, had died. Only Moses, who would see the promised land, but not enter it, was remaining. Moses was called into mount Nebo, where the Lord told him, he was to be taken from the people, and Joshua was called to be his successor in leading the Israelites. Before he was to leave them, the people were commanded to destroy the Midianites. Then, the tribes of Reuben, Gad and part of Manasseh, took their inheritance in the land where they were camped.

50 And the Lord spake unto Moses in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying,
51 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye are passed over Jordan into the land of Canaan;
52 Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places:
53 And ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein: for I have given you the land to possess it.
54 And ye shall divide the land by lot for an inheritance among your families: and to the more ye shall give the more inheritance, and to the fewer ye shall give the less inheritance: every man’s inheritance shall be in the place where his lot falleth; according to the tribes of your fathers ye shall inherit.
55 But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell.
56 Moreover it shall come to pass, that I shall do unto you, as I thought to do unto them.

Moses was told to command the people that when they crossed the Jordan, they were to drive the inhabitants out of the land. They were to destroy all of their idols, temples or shrines, and other things the people in the land worshipped. This was to be the land of their possession, the promised land which was given to their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They were to divide the land as their inheritances with larger portions going to the larger tribes or families. The Lord told them that, if they were to leave any of the inhabitants, they would vex the Israelites and the Lord would treat the children of Israel as the other people would be treated. This is something the Lord does with the willingly rebellious. He removes His hand of protection and guidance and allows the world to do what it will, which usually means some kind of affliction or torment. Then, if they return and repent, he draws them into his protecting arms and blesses them for righteousness.

I think of how much the children of Israel had to experience in order to escape bondage and inherit the promised land. They were tested by the Lord and tempted sorely by the adversary and his angels. Even greater still, they experienced mighty miracles beyond what I can even imagine. Many witnessed the glory of the Lord in some way or another. They watched as the power of God was used to do marvelous wonders, such as dividing the waters of the Red Sea. More than of few of them died from their choices to turn from the Lord, to choose rebellion and wickedness, to murmur against their leaders and against the Lord, and from their lack of faith in God. Still, hundreds of thousands lived to this point of the book of Numbers, when they were just about to gain the home they hoped for. I can’t quite fathom this amount of trial and hardship in life. I know that enduring each day with faith and hope in the blessings, would have been very difficult for even those with the strongest testimonies in the Lord. They must have spent a lot of time pleading for strength from the Lord. I know that if I had lived through that, as I am now, I would have been on my knees a lot.

One of the things that this chapter teaches me, is the importance of reviewing the trials of life that I’ve experienced, in order to see the hand of the Lord in my life. I wonder just how often these people thought about the daily blessing that the Lord was to them. I can say that life can draw my attention away from that very thing, and I know that it is so important. This is possibly part of the reason we should pray at the end of our days. So that we can look back, remember what we have experienced, and be grateful for the things that the Lord has done for us. I know that through this, we can gain greater strength to endure the next day. I am so grateful for the path that I am traveling on, to my own hoped for Home. I know that the Lord will be our guide each day, if we allow Him to be. He will bless us for our faithfulness and also allow us to learn from our choices of disobedience and rebellion. I know that He loves us and truly desires for us to return Home to His presence.

Numbers Chapter 32

Moses and the children of Israel, were still encamped in the land of Moab, on the eastern side of the Jordan River. They had succeeded, with the help of the Lord, in destroying the Midianite people who had tempted many of the Israelites into sin. They had not lost any of their men in the fight, which was an great blessing. This chapter begins as follows:

1 Now the children of Reuben and the children of Gad had a very great multitude of cattle: and when they saw the land of Jazer, and the land of Gilead, that, behold, the place was a place for cattle;
2 The children of Gad and the children of Reuben came and spake unto Moses, and to Eleazar the priest, and unto the princes of the congregation, saying,
3 Ataroth, and Dibon, and Jazer, and Nimrah, and Heshbon, and Elealeh, and Shebam, and Nebo, and Beon,
4 Even the country which the Lord smote before the congregation of Israel, is a land for cattle, and thy servants have cattle:
5 Wherefore, said they, if we have found grace in thy sight, let this land be given unto thy servants for a possession, and bring us not over Jordan.

The herdsmen of the tribe of Reuben, Gad and part of Manasseh, saw that the land they were near at this point, was good land for their cattle. The went to Moses to ask for this land as their inheritance, instead of the land across the Jordan.

6 And Moses said unto the children of Gad and to the children of Reuben, Shall your brethren go to war, and shall ye sit here?
7 And wherefore discourage ye the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the Lord hath given them?
8 Thus did your fathers, when I sent them from Kadesh-barnea to see the land.
9 For when they went up unto the valley of Eshcol, and saw the land, they discouraged the heart of the children of Israel, that they should not go into the land which the Lord had given them.
10 And the Lord’s anger was kindled the same time, and he sware, saying,
11 Surely none of the men that came up out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob; because they have not wholly followed me:
12 Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite, and Joshua the son of Nun: for they have wholly followed the Lord.
13 And the Lord’s anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation, that had done evil in the sight of the Lord, was consumed.
14 And, behold, ye are risen up in your fathers’ stead, an increase of sinful men, to augment yet the fierce anger of the Lord toward Israel.
15 For if ye turn away from after him, he will yet again leave them in the wilderness; and ye shall destroy all this people.

Moses was concerned for the welfare of the remainder of the people, who were still headed into battle over the land of Canaan. He knew that the men would be worried that they could not do it without their armies, so they might hold back from entering the land of promise. This had been the same trial that faced the Israelites 40 years earlier, when they doubted that the Lord could help them gain the promise land. As a result, those people had been promised that they would not live to enter the promised land. Moses saw that this decision could bring destruction to the whole of Israel.

16 And they came near unto him, and said, We will build sheepfolds here for our cattle, and cities for our little ones:
17 But we ourselves will go ready armed before the children of Israel, until we have brought them unto their place: and our little ones shall dwell in the fenced cities because of the inhabitants of the land.
18 We will not return unto our houses, until the children of Israel have inherited every man his inheritance.
19 For we will not inherit with them on yonder side Jordan, or forward; because our inheritance is fallen to us on this side Jordan eastward.

The men promised Moses that if he would allow them to build homes for their children and places for their herds, their armies of men would continue on with the rest of the Israelites. They promised that they would not return to their homes until all of the Israelites had claimed the land of inheritance.

20 And Moses said unto them, If ye will do this thing, if ye will go armed before the Lord to war,
21 And will go all of you armed over Jordan before the Lord, until he hath driven out his enemies from before him,
22 And the land be subdued before the Lord: then afterward ye shall return, and be guiltless before the Lord, and before Israel; and this land shall be your possession before the Lord.
23 But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the Lord: and be sure your sin will find you out.
24 Build you cities for your little ones, and folds for your sheep; and do that which hath proceeded out of your mouth.
25 And the children of Gad and the children of Reuben spake unto Moses, saying, Thy servants will do as my lord commandeth.
26 Our little ones, our wives, our flocks, and all our cattle, shall be there in the cities of Gilead:
27 But thy servants will pass over, every man armed for war, before the Lord to battle, as my lord saith.
28 So concerning them Moses commanded Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the chief fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel:
29 And Moses said unto them, If the children of Gad and the children of Reuben will pass with you over Jordan, every man armed to battle, before the Lord, and the land shall be subdued before you; then ye shall give them the land of Gilead for a possession:
30 But if they will not pass over with you armed, they shall have possessions among you in the land of Canaan.
31 And the children of Gad and the children of Reuben answered, saying, As the Lord hath said unto thy servants, so will we do.
32 We will pass over armed before the Lord into the land of Canaan, that the possession of our inheritance on this side Jordan may be ours.
33 And Moses gave unto them, even to the children of Gad, and to the children of Reuben, and unto half the tribe of Manasseh the son of Joseph, the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites, and the kingdom of Og king of Bashan, the land, with the cities thereof in the coasts, even the cities of the country round about.

Moses agreed and told them that if they would hold to their promise, they would be able to return to this land afterward, and have it as an inheritance from the Lord. If they broke their covenant and promise, it would be known by the Lord. Moses gave them permission to build cities for their families and places for their herds. Their inheritance was in the land of Gilead, where the kingdoms of Sihon and Og were, on the eastern side of the Jordan. Moses told the leaders of Israel what they had covenanted, knowing that he would not remain with them to enter the promised land and fight. If they were to follow through, their inheritance would be as they had desired. If they did not keep their covenant, they were to receive their inheritance with the rest of the Israelites, in the land of Canaan.

34 And the children of Gad built Dibon, and Ataroth, and Aroer,
35 And Atroth, Shophan, and Jaazer, and Jogbehah,
36 And Beth-nimrah, and Beth-haran, fenced cities: and folds for sheep.
37 And the children of Reuben built Heshbon, and Elealeh, and Kirjathaim,
38 And Nebo, and Baal-meon, (their names being changed,) and Shibmah: and gave other names unto the cities which they builded.
39 And the children of Machir the son of Manasseh went to Gilead, and took it, and dispossessed the Amorite which was in it.
40 And Moses gave Gilead unto Machir the son of Manasseh; and he dwelt therein.
41 And Jair the son of Manasseh went and took the small towns thereof, and called them Havoth-jair.
42 And Nobah went and took Kenath, and the villages thereof, and called it Nobah, after his own name.

The tribe of Gad rebuilt and fortified the cities of Dibon, Ataroth, Aroer, Atroth, Shophan, Jaazer, Jogbehah, Beth-nimrah, and Beth-haran. The tribe of Reuben rebuilt, built and fortified Heshbon, Elealeh, Kirjathaim, Nebo, Baal-meon, and Shibmah. The portion of the tribe of Manasseh, took the city of Gilead from the Amorites, as well as Havoth-jair, and Kenath (Nobah).

I think that these men of Israel, took the lesser part of what the Lord could have provided for them. The promise and covenant had been, that they would inherit the land of Canaan, as their fathers had before them. However, when they saw what this land had to offer them, they chose to remain with it. I think that a lesson in this, is that we often choose something that we think is better for us, because we can see potential and promise in it, instead of having faith that the promise of the Lord will end up being the greater part. The Lord in not going to stop us, if we choose something else. We are here to use the gift of agency that was given to us before we were born. If the Lord forced us, that agency would be without purpose. The Lord promises us great blessings beyond what we could possibly imagine. We cannot see these blessings, they are given to us based on our faithfully living this life and enduring to the end. It is very easy to choose the things that we can see and enjoy right now. I’m not saying that the land they inherited was bad, or that they were bad for choosing it. But I am sure that they missed out on something greater. I believe that when we choose the lesser part in life, we miss out on the much greater things that the Lord desires to give us. There are a lot of really good things for us in this world. If we live in faith of the blessings for living righteously, keep our covenants, and choose the better part, we will receive the greatest blessings that the Lord has to give us.


About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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