Israel and the Sovereignty of God

Israel Sovereignty

Wednesday 04/17/19

Series: Thru the Bible

Message – Israel & the Sovereignty of God – Deut. 2 Part 1

Israel and the Sovereignty of God

Chapter 2:

You may remember that I told you to pay attention to the following two things while we were going through the book of Numbers:

  1. MANY of the people Israel were going to encounter in their wanderings were family.
  2. As is clearly stated in Acts 17 – GOD is the One Who determines what land is owned by what people, the specific boundaries of their habitation and how long they are alloted permission to live there. This is a VERY difficult thing for most Christians to reconcile with the notion of freewill, determination and the power of war. But God is unambiguous about having the final call on everything concerning the existence of nations and their boundaries!
    1. Acts 17:24-27, HCSB “(24) The God Who made the world and everything in it–He is Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in shrines made by hands. (25) Neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives everyone life and breath and all things. (26) From one man He has made every nation of men to live all over the earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live, (27) so that they might seek God, and perhaps they might reach out and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.”
        1. The Ethiopic version, renders this verse like this, “and hath appointed his times, and his years, how long they shall dwell”
        2. Jamieson-Fausset & Brown’s commentary say this about this passage, “The apostle here opposes both Stoical Fate and Epicurean Chance, ascribing the periods and localities in which men and nations flourish to the sovereign will and prearrangements of a living God.”

Edom IS Esau

Q. Who was Esau?

A. The brother of Jacob through Isaac.

Deut. 2:1-37, HCSB “(1) Then we turned back and headed for the wilderness by way of the Red Sea, as the LORD had told me, and we traveled around the hill country of Seir for many days. (2) The LORD then said to me, (3) ‘You’ve been traveling around this hill country long enough; turn north. (4) Command the people: You are about to travel through the territory of your brothers, the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir. They will be afraid of you, so you must be very careful. (5) Don’t fight with them, for I will not give you any of their land, not even an inch of it, because I have given Esau the hill country of Seir as his possession. (6) You may purchase food from them with silver, so that you may eat, and buy water from them to drink. (7) For the LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this immense wilderness. (Moses breaks into teaching mode)The LORD your God has been with you this past 40 years, and you have lacked nothing.’ (8) “So we bypassed our brothers, the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir. We turned away from the Arabah road and from Elath and Ezion-geber. We traveled along the road to the Wilderness of Moab.”

Moab IS Lot

Q. Who was Lot?

A. The nephew of Abraham.

Gen. 19:36-38, NKJV “(36) Thus both the daughters of Lot were with child by their father. (37) The firstborn bore a son and called his name Moab; he is the father of the Moabites to this day. (38) And the younger, she also bore a son and called his name Ben-Ammi; he is the father of the people of Ammon to this day.”

Q. So what two nations came from Lot?

A. The Moabites and the Ammonites.

“(9) The LORD said to me, ‘Show no hostility toward Moab, and do not provoke them to battle, for I will not give you any of their land as a possession, since I have given Ar as a possession to the descendants of Lot.‘” (10) The Emim, a great and numerous people as tall as the Anakim, had previously lived there. (11) They were also regarded as Rephaim, like the Anakim, though the Moabites called them Emim. (12) The Horites had previously lived in Seir, but the descendants of Esau drove them out, destroying them completely and settling in their place, just as Israel did in the land of its possession the LORD gave them. (13) “The LORD said, ‘Now get up and cross the Zered Valley.’ So we crossed the Zered Valley. (14) The time we spent traveling from Kadesh-barnea until we crossed the Zered Valley was 38 years until the entire generation of fighting men had perished from the camp, as the LORD had sworn to them. (15) Indeed, the LORD’s hand was against them, to eliminate them from the camp until they had all perished.

Notice that God took the credit for their deaths, but there was mercy in His judgment over them in that He alloted 38 more years for their numbers to be reduced to ZERO.

Notice also that, in that God showed mercy He expects His people to show mercy and bear the burden of each others sins…not in terms of bearing the guilt of it, but the repercussions of it. The second generation had to wait to go into the promised land. God could have turned to the youth on the day they were defeated at the mouth of the promised land and said, “Your parents would not listen Me, nor obey My words…they would not trust in My promise so they will die in this wilderness, but you can go in and possess the land if you will trust in Me.” No, God caused the children to bear the burden of the passage of time (a good 3rd of their lifetime) wandering in the wilderness due to the unfaithfulness of their parents.

God does NOT see this as a waste of time, which is helpful and instructional for us. It reveals the true nature of this life – what it is about, what it is to produce in us and by us. God is looking for relationship which requires knowing Him and trusting Him. The time the 2nd generation spent in the wilderness was worth every second of those 38+ years if all it did was prepare their hearts to know and trust their God even a little.

Notice the answer Jesus gave to those following Him as to what the work with which mankind is to be busy…the works God has for them, in John 6:28-29.

John 6:28-29, NKJV “(28) Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” (29) Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”

The rest of this chapter is EXTREMELY helpful on this point…it even reveals that Israel’s heart had not changed at all in that they complained at the words of Christ.

“(16) “When all the fighting men had died among the people, (17) the LORD spoke to me, (18) ‘Today you are going to cross the border of Moab at Ar. (19) When you get close to the Ammonites, don’t show any hostility to them or fight with them, for I will not give you any of the Ammonites’ land as a possession; I have given it as a possession to the descendants of Lot.'” (20) This too used to be regarded as the land of the Rephaim. The Rephaim lived there previously, though the Ammonites called them Zamzummim, (21) a great and numerous people, tall as the Anakim. The LORD destroyed the Rephaim at the advance of the Ammonites, so that they drove them out and settled in their place. (22) This was just as He had done for the descendants of Esau who lived in Seir, when He destroyed the Horites before them; they drove them out and have lived in their place until now. (23) The Caphtorim, who came from Caphtor, destroyed the Avvim, who lived in villages as far as Gaza, and settled in their place.”

God fulfills His stated purpose

If you remember I taught you that God had His Own purposes in delivering Israel and bringing them to the promised land the way He did. God always has a purpose and an agenda. It is NOT always the same ones either. In Moses’ day it was to establish a people in a land they could inherit (which required conquering land and accumulating material wealth) which God was intending to use as an example for the generation of the Age of Grace – as 1Cor. 10:6, 11-12 tells us. God was also seeking to begin sending a message to the rest of the world about His greatness and power, which we also read about in the following two passages.

Exod. 9:16, HCSB “However, I have let you live for this purpose: to show you My power and to make My name known in all the earth.”


Rom. 9:17, HCSB “For the Scripture tells Pharaoh: For this reason I raised you up: so that I may display My power in you, and that My name may be proclaimed in all the earth.”

But just to bring this full circle. We know that God is doing something different today. God is establishing something He calls a “foolish nation” which you can see God had in His plans from the beginning because He mentions it even in this very book in chapter 32,

Deut. 32:21,  “They have provoked Me to jealousy by what is not God; They have moved Me to anger by their foolish idols. But I will provoke them to jealousy by those who are not a nation; I will move them to anger by a foolish nation.”

Who was God talking about? Well Rom. 10:17-21 tell us that He was talking about the Gentiles (meaning the rest of the world).  


So God today has set aside the Jews UNTIL the fullness of the Gentiles have come into the kingdom. So, where is God’s PRIMARY focus TODAY?

His CHURCH! Which is why the scriptures tell us that judgment MUST begin in the House of God BEFORE the world is judged – 1Peter 4:17.

This is another reason why we cannot simply take just ANY promise God has spoken in scripture and attempt to apply it to us today.

God told David that he would be the king of Israel. That was NOT a promise to ME – but to David. I cannot “claim” that promise, because it was not spoken to ME!

Now some of God’s promises are NOT tied to His purposes restricted to a given era, but are tied to His character, and those are timeless. For example, ALL who come to God in faith under and even BEFORE any covenant would and will be received. Any one who turns from their wicked ways to the Lord will be forgiven and receive mercy and abundant pardon. These promises are tied to God’s unchanging character and so apply to all people of all times! You have to be careful what promises in scripture you attempt to claim as your own!

But…returning to our study in Deuteronomy, God had a purpose with bringing Israel into the promised land and one of those purposes was to make His name famous and to cause His power to be known…and that is precisely what He did!

“(24) The LORD also said, ‘Get up, move out, and cross the Arnon Valley. See, I have handed Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his land over to you. Begin to take possession of it; engage him in battle. (25) Today I will begin to put the fear and dread of you on the peoples everywhere under heaven. They will hear the report about you, tremble, and be in anguish because of you.’

Notice God’s name and power is linked to the nations fear of Israel. Again we see ONENESS!



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 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!