The Scriptorium

Defeat of Og

Another confidence-builder. Deuteronomy 3.1-20

Hearing God’s Word: Deuteronomy 3, 4 (1)

Opening Prayer: Psalm 78.1-5
Give ear, O my people, to my law;
Incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings of old,
Which we have heard and known,
And our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children,
Telling to the generation to come the praises of the LORD,
And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.
For He established a testimony in Jacob,
And appointed a law in Israel,
Which He commanded our fathers,
That they should make them known to their children…

Psalm 78.1-5

(Foundation: How Firm a Foundation)
Give ear, O my people, attend to my word,
dark sayings and parables sent from the Lord,
things we have before by our fathers been told,
which we would not dare from our children withhold.

The glorious deeds of our God in His might,
and all of the works He has done in our sight,
together with all of the words of His Law,
would we on ourselves and our children bestow.

Today’s Text: Deuteronomy 3.1-20

1. What did the Israelites achieve in their defeat of Og, king of Bashan?

2. To which tribes did Moses give the land east of the Jordan River?

In chapters 3 and 4, Moses wraps up his history lesson for the new generation of Israelites. Some of this history they would have lived through themselves, especially the conquests on the east side of the Jordan River over Sihon, king of the Amorites, and Og, king of Bashan.

Og was a descendant of “the giants” (v. 11). He must have been a rather imposing figure, and was probably accustomed to imposing his will on anyone he liked. Perhaps the Israelites had heard of him, and might have been tempted to fear (v. 2). But this history lesson was about not fearing and instead trusting and obeying God and His Word. God promised that what the people had done to Sihon, they would do to Og as well (v. 2). The deliverance of Og to the people of Israel was a foregone conclusion (v. 2), but it would not be realized without effort (v. 3).

God was teaching the people about how to gain the land of promise: Hear His Word, trust Him to defeat their enemies, and go obediently into battle, fighting for complete victory. Moses reminded the people of this because he knew that the conquest of the land – achieving all the promises of God – would be a lengthy and difficult struggle. Moses wanted the people not to forget the failures of their forebears, and not to forsake the promises of God.

The victory over Og and all his people achieved impressive results (vv. 4-7), and this would have spurred on the people to overcome their fears and enter the land, trusting in God’s promises and Presence. Two-and-a-half of the twelve tribes had approached Moses about settling this conquered land (Num. 32.25-41), and so here Moses recounted that event as well, detailing the tribes and their parcels. But they must first accompany all the other tribes in conquering the land west of the Jordan. Then they could return to their land and families (vv. 18-20).

Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
God prepared this land, all this work, and all these victories for the children of Israel. They only had to trust, obey, and get busy. He expects the same from us: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2.10). We too must march forward in courage each day, ready to take on the Ogs and Sihons in our lives. These things are not surprising to Him. He knows, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16.33).


1. What would be some examples of “Ogs and Sihons” you have to face each day?

2. What can you do to make sure the Word of the Lord is always on your mind, and His Presence is real to you throughout your day?

3. How can believers encourage one another in the work of trusting, obeying, and going forward into the promises of God?

He says that sixty, well-fortified cities were taken, besides the villages. Hence we infer both the extent of the country, and also the special power of God in the aid He afforded them, in that they took, in so short a time, so many cities well closed in, and begirt with high walls; as if they were merely travelling, through a peaceful land in security, and with nothing to do.
John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Deuteronomy 3.4

Nothing is impossible with You, O Lord! Help me today as I…

Closing Prayer: Psalm 78.6-16.
Pray that the Lord will impress the lessons of Israel’s obedience and disobedience on you, and ask Him for guidance today in realizing more of His precious and very great promises.

Psalm 78.6-16.
(Foundation: How Firm a Foundation)
Lord, let all our children arise and declare
the truth of the Lord every day, everywhere,
and set all their hopes in God’s wonderful Word,
and never forget all the works of the Lord.

Our fathers were stubborn; they would not obey;
when faced with their foes they in fear turned away.
God’s work of redemption they wholly despised,
forgetting the pow’r He had shown to their eyes.

T. M. and Susie Moore

Listen to our summary of last week’s study in Deuteronomy by clicking here. You can download all the studies in the series by clicking here.

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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