God has been with us

God with us

Wednesday 04/24/19

Series: Thru the Bible

Message – God has been with us – Deut. 2b-3

God has been with us!

Chapter 2b:

“(26) So I sent messengers with an offer of peace to Sihon king of Heshbon from the Wilderness of Kedemoth, saying, (27) ‘Let us travel through your land; we will keep strictly to the highway. We will not turn to the right or the left. (28) You can sell us food in exchange for silver so we may eat, and give us water for silver so we may drink. Only let us travel through on foot, (29) just as the descendants of Esau who live in Seir did for us, and the Moabites who live in Ar, until we cross the Jordan into the land the LORD our God is giving us.’ (30) But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let us travel through his land, for the LORD your God made his spirit stubborn and his heart obstinate in order to hand him over to you, as has now taken place.”

Now, remember that so far in all of our studies on God and the hardening of the heart where details are given, it reveals that while God, as the architect and owner of each heart, exercised His Creator rights in hardening their hearts He always did so in response to the direction their hearts were already committed. While we have NO such evidence here, since this story does not give any details, it is the safest interpretation to assume God’s consistency in how He works with the human heart and we KNOW that it is not God’s desire that any perish but all come to the truth. So, with that in mind, God HAD to have given opportunities to King Sihon which were spurned and rejected which led to this inevitable outcome.

Now, as we will see in chapter 3 verse 2, King Sihon was king of the Amorites. The Amorites were the descendants of Ham through his son Canaan.

  • Noah begot Ham
  • Ham begot Canaan
  • Canaan begot Sidon (city of), Heth (Hittites), Jebus (Jebusite) & Emor
  • Emor was the founder of the Emonites later called the Amorites.

This is something I might have brought up at any point but here seemed best to me.

Q. Notice, what was the name of the land promised to the children of Israel through Abraham?

A. Canaan.

Q. Who was the father of Canaan?

A. Ham.

Q. Do you think this is a coincidence?

A. No!

1Chron. 1:8, “The sons of Ham were Cush (Ethiopia), Mizraim (Egyptians), Put (probably the Libyans), and Canaan (all the land the Israelites were taking).”

We have already seen Mizraim in Egypt, and now Canaan in the land bearing his name.

We know God gave these sons of Ham, land so that they might seek after Him and find Him according to Acts 17, and because, as we said earlier, it is God’s express desire that NONE perish but ALL come to the knowledge of the truth according to 1 Tim. 2:4. So these descendants of Ham, though still under the weight of a curse, still stood before God on their own and COULD turn to Him should they so desire. So while God, in His love, mercy and justice gave these people and nations a place and a time to seek Him and find Him – even though He knew they would not, He was also using them to prepare a land for His covenant people.

Gen. 9:25-27, HCSB “(25) Noah said: Canaan will be cursed. He will be the lowest of slaves to his brothers. (26) He also said: Praise the LORD, the God of Shem; Canaan will be his slave. (27) God will extend Japheth; he will dwell in the tents of Shem; Canaan will be his slave.”

Notice God was both seeking their salvation and Israel’s future provision generations before this event. God spoke to Abraham about this land nearly 600 years prior to this day! And so we see God is always working on multiple desired outcomes which are sometimes contradictory all at the same time. God was working for the salvation of Canaan which if effective would make their land NOT able to be possessed by Abraham’s descendants, but in God’s foreknowledge of their rejection of Him, He was simultaneously using the Canaanites to prepare the land for Abraham’s descendants.

So we have the proverb which states, “the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.” This passage is in a body of proverbial statements which all apply to this situation we are learning about here. Let’s read them,

Prov. 13:18-25, NKJV “(18) Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction, But he who regards a rebuke will be honored. (19) A desire accomplished is sweet to the soul, But it is an abomination to fools to depart from evil. (20) He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed. (21) Evil pursues sinners, But to the righteous, good shall be repaid. (22) A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous. (23) Much food is in the fallow ground of the poor, And for lack of justice there is waste. (24) He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly. (25) The righteous eats to the satisfying of his soul, But the stomach of the wicked shall be in want.”

Now the understanding of these things is VERY VERY important, because you can miss entirely the whole point & purpose of an intended lesson in scripture by misinterpreting what it is actually saying. God was watching over His prophetic words spoken over Ham and his descendants while at the same time, working for their salvation and the provision of land for His future covenant people.

Now, instead of getting this rather obvious truth from these accounts, people have gone out of their way to create all kinds of weird doctrines from these verses and one of the reasons for it is their offense at God killing everyone – including women and children as though they were somehow more innocent than the men – or as if the men are more disposable than the women and children. You see in order to side step a doctrine people find offensive, they create another which is at least as if not more offensive than they one they are trying to avoid!

Oh no, here come the giants again!

As you will see, some of these people where actual giants and some goofy doctrines connect these giants to the word “giants” used in Genesis 6. Let me assure you there is NO direct connection other than that they are humans….100% humans. The word translated as “giants” in Genesis 6, (which is the word Nephillim) was almost without question used metaphorically. It did NOT mean people of huge stature, but people of intimidating and imposing demeanor. The Colloquialism continues today as it is manifest in the English phrase, “larger than life”. If, as some people teach, the flood was brought on the world of the ungodly due to some abomination of creation where angels and mankind breed together producing literal giants – and the giants we read about here in Numbers & Deuteronomy are their descendants then God completely failed through the flood to accomplish His purpose in annihilating them all by actually inviting that blood line onto the ark! Of course the word for giants here in Numbers and Deuteronomy is the word Rapha which is a literal term for giants. Some people see the hole in that theory and rather than abandoning the entire silly argument as untenable, they claim that the abomination happened a second time following the flood and so God is annihilating them through Israel. They do this to “make an excuse for God” in having Israel “kill them all”. They claim that was only to destroy a polluted bloodline. This is wrong, verifiably wrong and just plain silly! There are MANY people God had Israel destroy completely who had NO giants in them at all! So, their reasoning is a complete failure before it even gets off the ground. Besides we have had people throughout history grow to over 11’. The most recent and famous among them was Robert Wadlow? He was born in Alton, Illinois, in 1918.

  • At 8 years old, he was 6’0″.
  • At 11 years old, he was 6’7″.
  • At 14 years old, he was 7’5″.
  • At 17 years old, he was 8’1/2″.
  • At 22 years old he was over 8’11″ — almost 9’ tall.

“(31) “Then the LORD said to me, ‘See, I have begun to give Sihon and his land to you. Begin to take possession of it.’ (32) So Sihon and his whole army came out against us for battle at Jahaz. (33) The LORD our God handed him over to us, and we defeated him, his sons, and his whole army. (34) At that time we captured all his cities and completely destroyed the people of every city, including the women and children. We left no survivors. (35) We took only the livestock and the spoil from the cities we captured as plunder for ourselves. (36) There was no city that was inaccessible to us, from Aroer on the rim of the Arnon Valley, along with the city in the valley, even as far as Gilead. The LORD our God gave everything to us. (37) But you did not go near the Ammonites‘ land, all along the bank of the Jabbok River and the cities of the hill country, everything that the LORD our God had commanded.”

Chapter 3

Deut. 3:1-22, NKJV “Then we turned and went up the road to Bashan; and Og king of Bashan came out against us, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei. (2) And the LORD said to me, ‘Do not fear him, for I have delivered him and all his people and his land into your hand; you shall do to him as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who dwelt at Heshbon.’ (3) “So the LORD our God also delivered into our hands Og king of Bashan, with all his people, and we attacked him until he had no survivors remaining. (4) And we took all his cities at that time; there was not a city which we did not take from them: sixty cities, all the region of Argob, the kingdom of Og in Bashan. (5) All these cities were fortified with high walls, gates, and bars, besides a great many rural towns.”

  1. Knowing the purpose of this monologue from Moses to the 2nd generation. What do  you think was his intention in mentioning that ALL of these cities were fortified with high walls, gates, bars and so on?
  2. To fortify their faith and cause them to realize that what they were about to do in taking the promised land they had done before.

“(6) And we utterly destroyed them, as we did to Sihon king of Heshbon, utterly destroying the men, women, and children of every city. (7) But all the livestock and the spoil of the cities we took as booty for ourselves. (8) “And at that time we took the land from the hand of the two kings of the Amorites who were on this side of the Jordan, from the River Arnon to Mount Hermon (9) (the Sidonians call Hermon Sirion, and the Amorites call it Senir), (10) all the cities of the plain, all Gilead, and all Bashan, as far as Salcah and Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan. (11) “For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of the giants. Indeed his bedstead was an iron bedstead. (Is it not in Rabbah of the people of Ammon?) Nine cubits is its length and four cubits its width, according to the standard cubit.”

NOTE: Depending on the measure used for a cubit which was varied in that day, this anywhere between 13.4-19’ so Og may have been about 12’.

One of the reasons for the above mentioned “theory” of the giants is this phrase “For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of the giants.” So they assume the words “remained or the remnant of the giants” means, those which remain from before the flood. Again this is silly, but if it does mean that, then we know the Bible to be incorrect, because we have MORE giants still to come AFTER this king is killed. Goliath is one of them and he existed nearly 1000 years after this event! He was between 9’ & 10’ 3”. So, more than likely this meant, all that remained of the giants in his land.

“(12) “And this land, which we possessed at that time, from Aroer, which is by the River Arnon, and half the mountains of Gilead and its cities, I gave to the Reubenites and the Gadites.”

  1. What were the conditions of giving this land to Reuben and Gad?
  2. They had to leave their wives and children on the wilderness side of Jordan and enter the land of Canaan to fight with their brothers until they had all settled in their land.

“(13) The rest of Gilead, and all Bashan, the kingdom of Og, I gave to half the tribe of Manasseh. (All the region of Argob, with all Bashan, was called the land of the giants. (14) Jair the son of Manasseh took all the region of Argob, as far as the border of the Geshurites and the Maachathites, and called Bashan after his own name, Havoth Jair, to this day.) (15) “Also I gave Gilead to Machir. (16) And to the Reubenites and the Gadites I gave from Gilead as far as the River Arnon, the middle of the river as the border, as far as the River Jabbok, the border of the people of Ammon; (17) the plain also, with the Jordan as the border, from Chinnereth as far as the east side of the Sea of the Arabah (the Salt Sea), below the slopes of Pisgah. (18) “Then I commanded you at that time, saying: ‘The LORD your God has given you this land to possess. All you men of valor shall cross over armed before your brethren, the children of Israel. (19) But your wives, your little ones, and your livestock (I know that you have much livestock) shall stay in your cities which I have given you, (20) until the LORD has given rest to your brethren as to you, and they also possess the land which the LORD your God is giving them beyond the Jordan. Then each of you may return to his possession which I have given you.’ (21) “And I commanded Joshua at that time, saying, ‘Your eyes have seen all that the LORD your God has done to these two kings; so will the LORD do to all the kingdoms through which you pass. (22) You must not fear them, for the LORD your God Himself fights for you.’”

The Honor and heartbreak of God

“(23) At that time I begged the LORD: (24) Lord GOD, You have begun to show Your greatness and power to Your servant, for what god is there in heaven or on earth who can perform deeds and mighty acts like Yours? (25) Please let me cross over and see the beautiful land on the other side of the Jordan, that good hill country and Lebanon. (26) “But the LORD was angry with me on account of you and would not listen to me. The LORD said to me, ‘That’s enough! Do not speak to Me again about this matter. (27) Go to the top of Pisgah and look to the west, north, south, and east, and see it with your own eyes, for you will not cross this Jordan. (28) But commission Joshua and encourage and strengthen him, for he will cross over ahead of the people and enable them to inherit this land that you will see.’ (29) So we stayed in the valley facing Beth-peor.”


I hope this message will bless you richly…not because I taught it, but because it reveals Christ. He alone is our blessing and if in any way – whether big or small, 100% accurate or even just partially so – I have revealed our great God and Savior to you in a relationally knowable way, then this was time well spent on both our parts.

We at Living Grace Fellowship encourage you to place your trust in Jesus Christ, deliberately choosing Him and bowing the knee to Him as your Master and Lord, so as to come to realize Him as your Savior.

You have a special place in God’s family & kingdom. The fact that you exist… that you are His creation, says you were in His heart, you are His delight!

If you do not know Him, please reach out to us. Give us a call at the number located on every page of this website or use our ‘Contact Us‘ page. We would be deeply honored, if you gave us the privilege of introducing you to the Lord. Neither money nor attendance at our church will EVER be mentioned.

If you HAVE been spiritually fed by this ministry and WANT to give, we truly appreciate that and you may do so here, but please understand that all the outreaches of this ministry are FREE for you and anyone to enjoy at no cost.


Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been shepherding in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it right...safety in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" that did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keep authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provides teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!