The Scriptorium

Canaan Warm-up

God's people flex their muscles. Deuteronomy 2.26-37

From Egypt to Moab: Deuteronomy 1, 2 (6)

Opening Prayer: Psalm 105.1-5
Oh, give thanks to the LORD!
Call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples!
Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him;
Talk of all His wondrous works!
Glory in His holy name;
Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the LORD!
Seek the LORD and His strength;
Seek His face evermore!
Remember His marvelous works which He has done,
His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth…

Psalm 105.1-5

(Warrington: Give to Our God Immortal Praise)
Give thanks unto the Lord Most High;
call on His Name, before Him cry!
Make known His deeds in every land;
sing praise for all the works of His hand.

Glory in God, rejoice in heart,
all you who seek His holy part.
Him and His strength and presence seek;
His works proclaim, His judgments speak.

Today’s Text: Deuteronomy 2.26-37

1. Why did Sihon resist the progress of Israel?

2. What was the result of this confrontation?

Everything went swell as Israel passed through Edom and Moab, but then they hit an obstacle to their progress into Canaan. Moses sent messengers to Sihon, the Amorite king, expecting, we can imagine, the same result as with Edom and Moab (vv. 26-29), that he would allow them to pass peaceably, paying their way as they went. But Sihon had other ideas. He refused to let them pass, leaving them thus stuck on the banks of the Arnon River (v. 30, cf. vv. 24, 25).

But this was all part of God’s plan for His people. God hardened the heart of Sihon for two reasons (v. 30). First, to give the people of Israel some experience in battle. When they entered the land of Canaan, the people would need to be battle-tested and ready, because nations would enter into leagues against them. Thus, some “scrimmage” was necessary to ready them for the larger task of conquering Canaan, and to encourage them in their military capabilities and in the Presence of the Lord.

Second, the defeat of Sihon gave the Jews their first taste of the land of promise, as all the cities, livestock, and spoil over which Sihon ruled became theirs once he and his armies were defeated (vv. 31-35). This would certainly have whetted their whistles for the promise of milk and honey on the other side of Jordan.

We must remember that God is sovereign, and His people are His plan for His glory. Sihon and the Amorites, as worshipers of pagan gods and scourges of their neighbors, came justly under the judgment of God at the hands of His people. Paul warns us against second-guessing God when He does things hard for us to understand (Rom. 9.14-18). God’s ways are not our ways, and His understanding exceeds ours (Is. 55.8, 9). We must let God be God, and rest in His will and decisions, trusting and obeying in whatever He calls us to do.

Now Israel had gained some land, but it was not strictly within the borders of Canaan. As we will see in chapter 3, the lands gained east of the Jordan would be divided among two-and-a-half of Israel’s twelve tribes.

Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
The work we’ve been given to do is spiritual in nature. We must prepare and “warm-up” for it every day by getting with the Lord in His Word and prayer. The Israelites had journeys to take and a land to conquer. We have been given a similar command, but with a different focus and intent. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit reign supreme. Jesus says to us, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt.28.18-20).


1. What does it mean for us to rest in the sovereign wisdom, power, and timing of God?

2. We do not need to fear those who oppose as we go about the work of making disciples. Why not?

3. How do you experience the Lord with you always? How does knowing His Presence help you in your walk with and work for Him?

The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof; and he gives it to whom he pleases; but when there is no express direction, none can plead his grant for such proceedings. Though God assured the Israelites that the land should be their own, yet they must contend with the enemy. What God gives we must endeavor to get.
Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Deuteronomy 2.24-37

Lord, give me grace to live toward Your promises today as I…

Closing Prayer: Psalm 105.26-45
Thank God for the wonderful ways He brought you to the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Thank Him for all His precious and very great promises, and set your mind on those promises as you serve Him today.

Psalm 105.26-45
(Warrington: Give to Our God Immortal Praise)
He brought His people from Egypt alive,
and made their joy and song revive.
He made the nations’ land their own,
and all the wealth that they had known.

To them He granted the promised land,
the portion of His gracious hand.
Though they were few, and wandered far,
He kept them close within His heart.

So let us all in our Savior confide,
and in His holy Law abide.
Let us observe His glorious Word,
and praise our sovereign, faithful Lord!

T. M. and Susie Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy: Ancient Christian Commentary Series III, Joseph T. Lienhard, S. J. ed. in collaboration with Ronnie J. Rombs, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2001). All quotations from John Calvin from John Calvin, Commentaries on The Four Last Books of Moses Arranged in the Order of A Harmony, Rev. Charles William Bingham M. A., tr. and ed. (Edinburgh: The Calvin Translation Society, 1863. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore