A Review of God's Faithfulness
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

What we are going to find in Deuteronomy, chapters 2-3, reminds us of a New Testament passage of Scripture that I would like for you to turn to by and by and perhaps mark in your Bibles if you have not already done so.

Keep in mind, in what we have already learned about the book of Deuteronomy, we have found it to be a record of what Moses said to the people who were about to go into the land of promise. Primarily, what he had to say is contained in three speeches. In addition to those three addresses, there is a song which Moses wrote and which will be sung someday around the throne of God. Then there was a blessing that he pronounced upon the twelve tribes of Israel; and unique to the book, and something that presents a problem for the so called critics, is the obituary which Moses wrote concerning himself.

We found that in the first discourse, which comprises chapters 1-4, there was a review of past failures. Moses, in chapter 1, went over some of the outstanding failures of the children of Israel as they wandered about through the wilderness. The purpose of reviewing these failures was to remind the new generation, because all the old generation had died out with the exception of Moses, Joshua and Caleb, that they were just as capable of failure in the same areas as were their forefathers. Moses felt that if he could remind them of how they had failed, then they would be forewarned because as we always say, “to be forewarned is to be forearmed.”

As we continue thinking about this first discourse, we are going to find emphasized for us in chapters 2 and 3 a review of God's faithfulness. Get those two facts fixed firmly in your minds if you will—a review of man's failures in chapter 1 and a review of God's faithfulness in chapters 2-3.

If you are not familiar with our God, you might be prone to say, “But isn't there some kind of contradiction? How can you talk about man's failures and God's faithfulness in the same address?” The answer is found in the Word of God. Many of you know by experience this is true, but you know it from the Word of God whether you know it from experience or not. And if you haven't learned it from experience, you will by and by.

Keep a marker here in Deuteronomy and turn with me in your Bibles to Paul's second letter to Timothy, for there is a precious verse that I suppose many of you have marked in your Bibles. If you don't have it marked, you ought to mark it if you are in the habit of marking your Bibles. It would be good to mark it in your heart even if you have not marked it in your Bibles. This is a precious verse indeed. Notice II Timothy, chapter 2, verse 13:

II Timothy 2:

13If we believe not, yet he [God] abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

The first statement, “If we believe not,” keeping in mind the grammatical construction in the original text, could be read, “If we are unbelieving, if we fail to believe, yet God is faithful.”

The reason I asked you to turn to this passage of Scripture is that everything that we are going to say is summed up in that one passage of Scripture. Everything we are going to say is but an illustration of that principle that even though we are unbelieving, God abides faithful because He cannot deny Himself. So go back with me to the book of Deuteronomy and notice chapters 2-3, as we recognize how Moses reviews the faithfulness of God in the midst of Israel's failure. Notice verses 1-3:

Deuteronomy 2:

1Then 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.
2And the Lord spake unto me, saying,
3Ye have compassed this mountain long enough: turn you northward.

Into those three verses the Holy Spirit crowds thirty-eight years of wilderness wandering. My, we are wordy aren't we? It takes us so many words to say so little, yet the Holy Spirit could crowd into those three verses thirty-eight years of wilderness wandering because that is what those three verses are actually talking about. He said, “You stayed in the wilderness long enough. Turn northward now and go into the land that I have promised.”

As we go through the book of Deuteronomy, you will become more conscious of the fact that the conquest of Canaan as a future thing is one thing and the conquest of Canaan as a present thing is another. The conquest of Canaan was a very difficult thing. There were many enemies to face. There was yet much land to be possessed and if these young and inexperienced people—remember they were a new generation—were to have the victory, then they had to be reminded and they had to be encouraged in relation to God's faithfulness. That is the reason you are going to find Moses calling to mind the things which we find in these two chapters.

Faithful to His Promise

These are not all the instances in which God was faithful, but they are select instances to illustrate certain facets of God's faithfulness. I have tabulated them and given them a word that I trust will enable you in remembering what is emphasized. Let me suggest to you that in verses 1-23 you find the fact that God is faithful to His promise. God is faithful to His promise. Follow in your Bibles as we read and then we will go back and point out why we say this is true. Verse 4:

Deuteronomy 2:

4And 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:
5Meddle 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.
6Ye 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.
7For 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.
8And 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 Eziongaber, we turned and passed by the way of the wilderness of Moab.
9And 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.
10The Emims dwelt therein in times past, a people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakims;
11Which also were accounted giants, as the Anakims; but the Moabites call them Emims.
12The 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.
13Now rise up, said I, and get you over the brook Zered. And we went over the brook Zered.
14And the space in which we came from Kadeshbarnea, 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.
15For indeed the hand of the Lord was against them, to destroy them from among the host, until they were consumed.
16So it came to pass, when all the men of war were consumed and dead from among the people,
17That the Lord spake unto me, saying,
18Thou art to pass over through Ar, the coast of Moab, this day:
19And 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;
21A 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:
22As 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:
23And the Avims which dwelt in Hazerim, even unto Azzah, the Caphtorims, which came forth out of Caphtor, destroyed them, and dwelt in their stead.)

Usually when we read a passage of Scripture like this with all these strange sounding words and words difficult to pronounce, we get bogged down and say, “Surely there is nothing in that paragraph that could be of any real value to me. Surely there is nothing in that paragraph that could be of any real blessing to me.” I would like to re-emphasize what I have said before we read the paragraph—that in this paragraph, we find a wonderful truth and that is: God is faithful to His promise. If He makes a promise, He is going to keep it, no matter what. What a thrilling thought that is! Let me illustrate for you why I say that. Glance down at verses 4-5. God said to Moses:

Deuteronomy 2:

4And 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:
5Meddle 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.

Remember who Esau was? He was the brother of Jacob. He was a profane man. He sold his birthright for a mess of pottage. Oh, he begged to have it back, but God wouldn't let him have it back, and God said, concerning Esau, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau I have hated,” and He wasn't talking about hating the soul of Esau. He was talking about hating everything about Esau.

Where Jacob was a spiritual man who reached out toward God, Esau was a carnal man who reached out toward the earth and toward the flesh. There wasn't anything appealing about Esau, but when Esau lost what he could have had, God dealt with him in mercy. He said, “Esau, I am not going to leave you without some place to live. I am going to give you all the territory of Mount Seir. It is yours. Nobody will ever take it away from you.”

The children of Israel, as they were going into the land of Canaan, would have found it so easy to march right through the land of Seir and take everything they wanted. God said, “I'm going to let you go through the land, but you are going to pay for every bit of food that you eat and you are going to pay for every drop of water that you drink because I made a promise to Esau, and even though you are my chosen people, even though Esau has disappointed me, even though he has displeased me, and you are doing what I want you to do, I won't give you even a foot of their land.” That is how particular God is, and that is how particular God was about keeping His promises.

We are pretty good at rationalizing, aren't we? We could have said, “Why God, Esau and his people are almost heathen. We need that land. Why don't You give it to us? It would be so much easier. They don't deserve it.” God said, “I know they don't. I know they don't deserve it, but I gave My word, and I don't back down on My word.”

Isn't it a wonderful thing to know that God keeps His promise, even if in keeping His promise to somebody else, He is denying you something that you would like to have? Wouldn't it be a horrible thing to find out that God was two-faced, that God didn't keep His promise, that God said, “Oh well, I did say that, but you are a pretty good fellow. I will just forget I said that and do this for you.” No, God doesn't work that way, and this is so important that it is emphasized not only one time, but it is emphasized two more times—three times in all. In verses 4-5, God said, “I won't give you a foot of the land of Edom because I promised it to Esau.” Then if you will look down in verse 9, He said, “After you go through the land of Edom, you are going to have to go through the land of the Moabites, but notice verse 9:

Deuteronomy 2:

9And 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.

Somebody said, “Wait a minute, God. Have you forgotten who Moab is? They don't deserve anything like that.” You do remember who Moab was, don't you? It might be wise for us to look down at verse 19, where God said:

Deuteronomy 2:

19And 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.

You remember who Ammon was, don't you? Moab and Ammon—they are designated here as children of Lot, but you know the sad situation in which they came into this world. The daughters of Lot got their father drunk on wine and he became the father of these two boys—an incestuous relationship, condemned by God, which brought them into this world. Somebody would say, ‘They don't deserve a thing. We are better than they are. We ought to have it.” God said, “I know they don't deserve it, but I gave My word, and I am going to keep My promise.”

I don't know how this affects you, but it really rejoices my heart to know that God keeps His word, and He doesn't keep it on the basis of our goodness, and He doesn't keep it on the basis of our faithfulness. He keeps His word simply because He gave it. My, wouldn't we be standing on uncertain soil if God took back His promise every time we failed Him? You know, there are some of God's dear people who live with that hanging over their heads all the time. Some of God's dear people live in constant fear that God is going to go back on His word. God is faithful to keep His promise.

Faithful to His Provision

I would like for you to notice something else—that God is faithful in His provision. He is faithful to provide. Look at verse 7:

Deuteronomy 2:

7For 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.

For forty years they had walked through the wilderness and what was it Moses reminded this young generation? He said to them, in so many words, “You folk have just started to live and you are not going to live in a wilderness. You are going to live in a land that flows with milk and honey, and you might not understand how faithful God can be because when things come easy, seldom are they appreciated.” Moses said, “I want to tell you young folk that your fathers and I walked through the wilderness and we never lacked for one thing, not one thing. God was faithful in His provision.”

I am so glad that I don't just have to talk about the Israelites who lived so long ago. I am glad that I can give testimony to God's faithfulness. I am glad that I can say that I have walked many years with the Lord in this wilderness world, and you know, I can give the same testimony: I haven't lacked for anything. I said to someone today that I have heard folk talk about what they have given up for the Lord, how they have had to sacrifice, and I have to say, “I haven't given up anything for the Lord. I haven't had to sacrifice a thing. I don't know of anything in the world that I want that I don't have, and I don't know of a thing in the world that I have asked God for that He hasn't given me.” God is faithful. He has not failed.

Here is the thing that is marvelous in my eyes. God was faithful in His provision, even in the midst of chastening. Do you realize that what we read here in verse 7 is a description of God's chastening hand? God caused the children of Israel to wander through the wilderness because He chastened them. Their wilderness wandering was part of His chastening, and yet (This touches my heart to realize it.) do you realize that even while He was chastening them, He was providing for them? Even while His hand was resting heavily upon them, He wouldn't let them want for anything.

Those of you who are parents, don't you find it difficult sometimes to convince your children when you have to chasten them that you love them and you are still going to provide for them and you are still going to meet their needs? It is so hard to strike a happy medium between chastening and chastening in love, but here is God setting an example for us. To be true to His principles, He could not permit the children of Israel to go into the land of promise. He had to lay His chastening hand upon them, but He never let them want for anything. He provided for every need they had. As we shall see before we are through, again, God, in judgment, always remembers mercy. Look at verse 7 again, because there is a phrase in it I love:

Deuteronomy 2:

7For the Lord thy God hath blessed thee in all the works of thy hand: these forty years the LORD thy God hath been with thee; thou hast lacked for nothing. .

Wait just a minute. Is it possible for God to bless you when you are not in the very center of His will? Yes. Isn't that encouraging to know? You see, they were not where He wanted them to be. He wanted them to be in the Promised Land. They weren't. They were wandering in the wilderness, but He blessed them. He blessed the work of their hands. This is not to say that we should not be concerned about being in the very center of God's will because only eternity will reveal what we have lost by not being in the center of His will. But isn't it good to know that God will bless the work of the hands of his children even though they are in the wilderness?

I have emphasized for years the truth that is found in Jeremiah, chapter 18, the story of the potter. God wanted to teach Jeremiah a lesson and He said, “You go down to the potter's house and I will tell you something.” So he went down to the potter's house, you will recall, and he saw the potter making a vessel upon the wheel. He was working the wheel, shaping the vessel. All at once the wheel stopped. A shadow passed across the face of the potter and he took the clay from off the wheel, and Jeremiah wondered what he was going to do with it. You wait almost with baited breath to see if he was going to throw it out on the trash heap, but he didn't. You know what he did? He made it into another vessel, as it pleased him to make it.

Oftentimes I have emphasized that that is an illustration of the fact that we do miss God's first plan for our lives. So often we do. I have often wondered what that first vessel would have been if the potter could have finished it. I don't know what it could have been, but the Lord has spoken to my heart, in a very real way just while I was dealing with this passage of Scripture and it is so plain I don't know why I missed it before. Somebody needed the message, I'm sure. But the Lord brought it to my mind and I passed it on to the people. The wonderful thing is that he made it into another vessel. It was still a vessel. It was still something He could use. He wasn't through. It was still something that could be used. Then I said something like this. “Isn't it good to know that God can make you into another vessel that He can use?”

I didn't know what I had said and why I hadn't emphasized it before until in a testimony meeting a man stood up and said, “I wondered why I came to this place.” I didn't know. All week long I don't think he had said more than three words to anybody. He touched my heart deeply as I saw him about the place there because I knew something of his story. He was there with his children. His wife, a Christian woman, suddenly got up and left him and left her children and went off somewhere and nobody knew where she was except she didn't want to have anything more to do with her loved ones or her family.

Seldom before have I seen a man so crushed. He didn't know what to think, and he didn't know what to do. He didn't know why it had to happen. It was one of those things where he had lived for the Lord and this happened. Why? He wondered, “Where did I fail?” He was completely pushed down to the ground by this. I knew that, though many people didn't know it. He stood up and he said, “I know why I have come to this place. I found out that God can still use me, that God can make us into another vessel.” He said, “My life won't be the way I planned, and it won't be the way I hoped it would be, but I am so glad that He can still use me.”

Aren't you glad for that? God blessed the children of Israel while they were yet in the wilderness, but the real phrase that I wanted you to notice is here in verse 7:

Deuteronomy 2:

7For the Lord thy God hath blessed thee in all the works of thy hand: [notice carefully now] he knoweth thy walking through this great wilderness: these forty years…

The reason that that phrase interests me is that it has such wide application to so many of God's dear children. Keep a marker here in Deuteronomy and turn to the book of Job for just a moment. This dear man suffered so very, very much. So many things happened in his life that he couldn't explain. He didn't know why. He despaired of his life. He felt so alone so many times. Notice what he says here in chapter 23, verse 8:

Job 23:

8Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him:
9On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:

Maybe you haven't lived deeply enough to have an experience like this. I don't know, but I want to tell you something. If you live very deeply with God, if you haven't already gone through the valley, you will go through the valley, and there will be a time when you will be like Job. The presence of the Lord that is so very real to you, perhaps won't be very real, and you won't even be able to sense the presence of the Lord. Like Job, you will go forward and you won't be able to find Him. You will go backward, you'll go to the left, you'll go to the right. Oh, don't misunderstand me, He hasn't left you. He has given you problems, but He understands.

If you don't get anything else from what I am saying, you get this. It will be worth hearing this message to know that He understands. Have you ever had pain—physical pain—and you have said to someone, “You have no idea how I hurt. You don't understand how I am suffering.”? Have you ever said that to someone? You felt that way, and you were probably right, but I want to remind you that God understands. There has never been a pain that God doesn't understand.

Do you know anything about fear? Do you know anything about apprehension? You may say, “No, I am one of these people who is not afraid of anything. You name it and I am not afraid of it.” I know, but you may be called upon sometime to face fears that you can't describe. You may be called upon sometime to face fears that keep you in a constant state of apprehension, and there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that will dispel the fear. Yes, you can even get out the Word of God. You can read it. You can claim the promises. You can preach to yourself, and that fear is still there. That apprehension is still there. You can even ask God to take it away. You can pray about it, but it is still there. Have you ever been like that? Well, I have been there, and I hope you never are. I hope you never have to have an experience like that. I would spare every one of you the experience like that if I could. I have been there. I know.

The greatest comfort in the midst of all that apprehension is the fact that God knows. God understands. Maybe nobody else does, but He does and because He does, you can say to Him, “God, I know You understand, and when I am through this, I will be the better for it.”

I would like to emphasize something. Did you notice what Job said when he got through it? Sometimes folk go around and gleefully say, “Well, there is something wrong with your faith. You just haven't prayed enough about it.” Well, you can pray about it and God, for His own purposes, can let you go through it. But it is good to know that He understands.

Faithful in His Protecting Power

I would like to suggest that God is not only faithful to His promise, He is not only faithful in His provision, but God is faithful in His protecting power. In relation to the conquest of Canaan, the Israelites had been fearful of the Anakims because ten of the spies came back and said, “We can't go into Canaan. Why, there are giants up there and they are greater and taller than we are, and we couldn't possibly defeat them.”

Here was a new generation. They hadn't seen the giants, but they had heard the story, and I suspect the story grew in the telling. Most stories do. So what does God do? He tells Moses, “When you talk to these people about giants, I want you to tell them about some of the giants that I have defeated on behalf of My people, and I want you to tell them that they were greater giants than the Anakims. The Anakims look small in comparison.” Look at verses 10 and 12:

Deuteronomy 2:

10The Emims dwelt therein in times past, a people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakims [that is, taller than the Anakims];

Then down in verse 12, He said, “The Horims also dwelt in Seir…” You don't need to believe in giants if you don't want to. You don't have to believe in cavemen if you don't want to, but the Bible recognizes their existence. This word Emims means “the terrible ones.” They were so great and big that they struck terror in everybody's heart, and the word Horims literally means “the cave men.” Some lived in caves. They scared everybody to death that they came in contact with, but when God was ready to move the sons of Lot into the land that He gave them, He defeated those fellows. In verse 20, you will notice:

Deuteronomy 2:

20(That also was accounted a land of giants: giants dwelt therein in old time; and the Ammonites call them Zamzummims;

This word Zamzummims means “noisy ones.” They weren't only big; they made a big noise. They scared everybody to death. What happened? God defeated them. If you wonder if they were really giants, you look over at chapter 3 and you read the first eleven verses. You will find out how big they were because you are told that they captured the bed upon which their king slept. He was a pretty big fellow because we read:

Deuteronomy 3:

11For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of giants; behold his bedstead was a bedstead of iron [yes, they had iron then]; 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.

The cubits of a man is eighteen inches, so that meant that this bed was thirteen and one half feet long and six feet wide. Remember now, it wasn't a king size bed for two people; it was a single bed. Six feet wide and thirteen and one half feet long. Pretty big fellow, but not too big for God because what did you read? God could defeat these giants, and God is faithful Who will not fail to protect His own. He said, “You go on up there in the land and even when you meet the giants, I will take care of them.”

I would like to suggest to you that God is faithful, in addition to the things that I have mentioned, in His providence. I am using the word providence to describe the act of God which brings about His purpose. You see, God sets down a purpose and then He brings about everything to work in relation to that divine purpose. For example, if you will look down at verse 24, God said:

Deuteronomy 2:

24Rise 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.

What was this that God said? “Pass over. I am giving you the king of Sihon for a victory.” This was God's purpose, but how was this motley group of people who had spent forty years wandering in the wilderness going to defeat a king who was living in a well fortified city? How was He going to bring it about? Look at verse 30:

Deuteronomy 2:

30But 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.

Get the picture now: Here was a crowd of people coming up to a city and God had already said, “I am going to give you this city. You are going to conquer it. You won't have a bit of trouble at all.” The king said, “Well, that is silly. We are stronger than they are. They cannot begin to defeat us.” Then God began to work on the heart of this king and He hardened his heart. What does that mean? It means that He turned his heart away from trusting God and he put his trust in man, and what happened? He was defeated because any individual who does not put his trust in God is always defeated. We repeat: God is faithful in relation to His purposes.

This should bring courage to your hearts. You are familiar with what is written in Romans, chapter 8, verses 27-29, are you not? Read all of those verses together when you have time. God established His purpose, and after He established His purpose, He said, “I'm going to see to it that all things work together for good to the accomplishment of that divine purpose.” That is why you can be sure that if God purposes in His heart, then God will bring to pass that which He purposes.

Faithful to His Principles

The last thing I want to say to you is found in the last part of chapter 3, verses 23-29. It is a rather sad paragraph, but it illustrates something else in relation to the faithfulness of God, and that is that God is faithful to His principles. You know, you cannot sway God once He has made His pronouncement. Once again, those of you who are parents have had the experience, perhaps, of making a statement or taking a stand and then your children, thinking maybe they can change your mind about it, will say, “Oh now Dad, look, it is this way, etc., etc.” Of course, some parents weaken, and they are not faithful to their principles, so they yield, and the child get to do what they want to do. They talked their dad into it as the case may be. Some people try to do God that way, and Moses tried to do God that way. You see, God had said that Moses would not enter the Promised Land. He said, “Moses, you can't go in. You brought reproach upon My name. You can't go in.” Over here in chapter 3, if you will look down at verse 23, Moses said:

Deuteronomy 3:

23And I besought the Lord at that time, saying,
24O 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?
25I pray thee, let me go over, and see the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain, and Lebanon.

Can't you almost hear the pathos in the prayer of Moses? “Lord, let me go. You told me I couldn't, but Lord, won't You please let me go into the land?” Look at verse 26:

Deuteronomy 3:

26But the Lord was wroth with me for your sakes, and would not hear me: and the Lord said unto me, [notice now] Let it suffice thee; speak no more unto me of this matter.

What did He say? “Now, Moses, just hush. Just hush. Don't say any more about it. You can't do it.” Haven't you had to say that to your children sometime? “I don't want to hear any more about it. You can not do it.” Well, that is what God said to Moses. He said that to the Apostle Paul one time. Paul had his thorn in the flesh, and you recall in II Corinthians, chapter 12, it is recorded that three times he asked God to remove the thorn. That doesn't' mean one, two, three. It is an idiom of speech that meant that he just kept on at the Lord. “Lord, take this thorn away.”

I don't know what the thorn was, The Bible says it was a messenger of Satan to buffet him, and you would think if Satan was buffeting him with it, God would have delivered him. Wouldn't you think that? But what did God say? He said, “No, I am not going to take it away.” And if you didn't read any further, you might say, “God is mean.” If you didn't read any further than we have read here in this book of Numbers, Moses the faithful servant of God saying, “Please God, let me go into the Promised Land,” and God saying “Don't talk to Me any more about it,” if you stopped right there, you might say that God is mean. But you know what he said to the Apostle Paul, don't you? He said, “I am not going to remove the thorn, but My grace is sufficient for thee. My strength is made perfect in weakness.” He gave Paul an insight into the thing, and do you know what Paul said? It is a bit contrary to some of the emphasis on public healing meetings that you hear today, but Paul said, “You know, I had rather have this thorn than be free from it because God gets the glory.”

That is the secret of it. What about Moses? Did God just say to Moses, “Moses, don't talk to me about it any more. You can't go. Now hush.”? No, look at verse 27. He didn't change His mind, but in judgment, He remembered mercy. He said:

Deuteronomy 3:

27Get 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.

Conclusion

You see, God was tenderhearted, wasn't He? He said, “Moses, I can't let you go; I have taken My stand, and if I go back on My stand, nobody would believe anything I would say. But I will let you do something that nobody else has done yet. I will let you see what nobody else has seen yet. You go up on Mount Pisgah and you drink in that land with your eyes. Drink deep of it—northward, southward, eastward, westward. Catch a view from Mount Pisgah that nobody else has ever seen.”

God is kind, isn't He? What do the songwriters say? “From Mount Pisgah's lofty heights I view my home and take my flight.” God is faithful. Remember that.


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