August 12, 2019

Where You've Been Helps You to Appreciate Where You're Going!

Deuteronomy 2

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The Wilderness Years

“Then we turned and journeyed into the wilderness in the direction of the Red Sea, as the LORD told me. And for many days we traveled around Mount Seir. Then the LORD said to me, ‘You have been traveling around this mountain country long enough. Turn northward and command the people, “You are about to pass through the territory of your brothers, the people of Esau, who live in Seir; and they will be afraid of you. So be very careful. Do not contend with them, for I will not give you any of their land, no, not so much as for the sole of the foot to tread on, because I have given Mount Seir to Esau as a possession. You shall purchase food from them with money, that you may eat, and you shall also buy water from them with money, that you may drink. For the LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He knows your going through this great wilderness. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you. You have lacked nothing.”’ So we went on, away from our brothers, the people of Esau, who live in Seir, away from the Arabah road from Elath and Ezion-geber.

“And we turned and went in the direction of the wilderness of Moab. And the LORD said to me, ‘Do not harass Moab or contend with them in battle, for I will not give you any of their land for a possession, because I have given Ar to the people of Lot for a possession.’ 10 (The Emim formerly lived there, a people great and many, and tall as the Anakim. 11 Like the Anakim they are also counted as Rephaim, but the Moabites call them Emim. 12 The Horites also lived in Seir formerly, but the people of Esau dispossessed them and destroyed them from before them and settled in their place, as Israel did to the land of their possession, which the LORD gave to them.) 13 ‘Now rise up and go over the brook Zered.’ So we went over the brook Zered. 14 And the time from our leaving Kadesh-barnea until we crossed the brook Zered was thirty-eight years, until the entire generation, that is, the men of war, had perished from the camp, as the LORD had sworn to them. 15 For indeed the hand of the LORD was against them, to destroy them from the camp, until they had perished.

16 “So as soon as all the men of war had perished and were dead from among the people, 17 the LORD said to me, 18 ‘Today you are to cross the border of Moab at Ar. 19 And when you approach the territory of the people of Ammon, do not harass them or contend with them, for I will not give you any of the land of the people of Ammon as a possession, because I have given it to the sons of Lot for a possession.’ 20 (It is also counted as a land of Rephaim. Rephaim formerly lived there—but the Ammonites call them Zamzummim—21 a people great and many, and tall as the Anakim; but the LORD destroyed them before the Ammonites,1 and they dispossessed them and settled in their place, 22 as he did for the people of Esau, who live in Seir, when he destroyed the Horites before them and they dispossessed them and settled in their place even to this day. 23 As for the Avvim, who lived in villages as far as Gaza, the Caphtorim, who came from Caphtor, destroyed them and settled in their place.) 24 ‘Rise up, set out on your journey and go over the Valley of the Arnon. Behold, I have given into your hand Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his land. Begin to take possession, and contend with him in battle. 25 This day I will begin to put the dread and fear of you on the peoples who are under the whole heaven, who shall hear the report of you and shall tremble and be in anguish because of you.’

The Defeat of King Sihon

26 “So I sent messengers from the wilderness of Kedemoth to Sihon the king of Heshbon, with words of peace, saying, 27 ‘Let me pass through your land. I will go only by the road; I will turn aside neither to the right nor to the left. 28 You shall sell me food for money, that I may eat, and give me water for money, that I may drink. Only let me pass through on foot, 29 as the sons of Esau who live in Seir and the Moabites who live in Ar did for me, until I go over the Jordan into the land that the LORD our God is giving to us.’ 30 But Sihon the king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him, for the LORD your God hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, that he might give him into your hand, as he is this day. 31 And the LORD said to me, ‘Behold, I have begun to give Sihon and his land over to you. Begin to take possession, that you may occupy his land.’ 32 Then Sihon came out against us, he and all his people, to battle at Jahaz. 33 And the LORD our God gave him over to us, and we defeated him and his sons and all his people. 34 And we captured all his cities at that time and devoted to destruction2 every city, men, women, and children. We left no survivors. 35 Only the livestock we took as spoil for ourselves, with the plunder of the cities that we captured. 36 From Aroer, which is on the edge of the Valley of the Arnon, and from the city that is in the valley, as far as Gilead, there was not a city too high for us. The LORD our God gave all into our hands. 37 Only to the land of the sons of Ammon you did not draw near, that is, to all the banks of the river Jabbok and the cities of the hill country, whatever the LORD our God had forbidden us.


[1] 2:21 Hebrew them
[2] 2:34 That is, set apart (devoted) as an offering to the Lord (for destruction)

Where You've Been Helps You to Appreciate Where You're Going!

Key Verse | Deuteronomy 2:7

"For the Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He knows your going through this great wilderness. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you. You have lacked nothing."

Bio | Barrett Lemmons

Hello, Journeyers! I am honored to be the husband to my gracious wife Tracy for 21 years and dad to Avery and Lilah. I have the privilege of serving in re:generation (Watermark's recovery and discipleship ministry) at the Fort Worth campus on Monday nights with an exceptional group of broken, humble, and loving folks. I finally stopped running from God and trying to be a rule-follower (I was terrible at this) in February 2015. God has used re:generation, community, and the body of believers at Watermark to change the trajectory of my life, family, marriage, and eternity. He is so good.

Central Truth

God wants us to trust Him and believe that He wants to lead us to abundant life. So many times our trials, failings, heartbreak, and pain are due to us demanding to do things our way. He's a loving Father and patiently waits for us to turn back to Him. 

Devotional | Deuteronomy 2

How many times has this happened to you: someone wiser or more experienced than you (parent, grandparent, teacher, coach, mentor, boss) attempts to help you make a wise decision or choice, but you decide to go your...

How many times has this happened to you: someone wiser or more experienced than you (parent, grandparent, teacher, coach, mentor, boss) attempts to help you make a wise decision or choice, but you decide to go your own way, and it ends in some form of pain and suffering? In my own life, the desire to go my own way has had consequences ranging from broken bones to failed college courses and ultimately to making a wreck of my life and marriage.

In the first two chapters of Deuteronomy, Moses is recounting the 40 years of wandering that the nation of Israel has undergone. He is talking to the children of the previous faithless generation that did not trust God to go before them and help them take the Promised Land from the different peoples who were living there. God had already demonstrated His power by freeing them from bondage in Egypt, destroying Pharaoh's pursuing army, guiding them with a pillar of fire by night and of cloud by day, fed them with food from heaven, and made water spring forth from rocks! And they didn't believe that He could give them a land of their own? As a result of their unbelief, God had decreed that Israel would not possess the land of His promise until all the members of that generation had perished.

The good news is that our loving Father does not leave us in our wandering. Just like with the Israelites, He was disciplining, loving, and protecting me even when I had rebelled and wandered away from Him. ‭‭God wants us to understand that sin is a big deal and that it causes pain and separation. My wife and I discipline our daughters because we love them, not because we desire to frustrate them or make them suffer. "For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." (Hebrews 12:11) Take time today to thank God for any healing and restoration that He has brought to you and share the story!

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Discussion Questions

1. Do you have a story of wandering away from the Lord? Does it end with you being restored to life and fellowship with your family and/or a community of believers? If it does, then whom can you share this story of hope with today to encourage them in their walk? If your story does not end that way, see question 3 below.

2. How has God disciplined you in the past in order to lovingly restore you to Himself or to help bring about healing and reconciliation?

3. Do you have any hurts, habits, or hang-ups (hint: we all do!) that you want God to reveal, heal, and restore? re:generation is a safe place to work on these issues surrounded by other imperfect people whose stories God has completely rewritten and given them "a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit . . . ." (Isaiah 61:3)

4. What other verses can you find that speak to God choosing to discipline us because He loves us? I'd recommend starting in Proverbs. There are a wealth of verses regarding discipline to be found there!

10 Comments available

Jay Caruso 12 months ago

Thanks mike for taking the time to put this chapter into perspective. God has brought me out of a lot and the last tens years have been wonderful but I still fall short but with Regen I am finding a better way

Tracy Lemmons about 1 year ago
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Thanks Mike. Love and appreciate you, brother.

Linda Green about 1 year ago

Love stories of God mending us when we are so broken- thanks for sharing yours, Barrett. God IS good!

carol larson about 1 year ago

Q4 - a pre discipline verse for stubborness. see the end first!

“I hear the Lord saying, “I will stay close to you, instructing and guiding you along the pathway for your life. I will advise you along the way and lead you forth with my eyes as your guide. So don’t make it difficult; don’t be stubborn when I take you where you’ve not been before. Don’t make me tug you and pull you along. Just come with me!”” Psalms 32:8-9 TPT

Sue Bohlin about 1 year ago

Thanks so much for your devo, Barrett, and for serving in Re:gen.

Two things struck me. First, the Lord’s provision and protection for the family of Esau shows that the biblical use of “hate” (as in “Jacob I loved, Esau I hated”) doesn’t always mean “intense dislike.” As here, it also means “to prioritize less.” Which helps us understand passages like Luke 14:26, “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”

Second, in reading about how one people group exercised conquest over another by killing off the population and taking their homes, I thanked the Lord today for the blessing of never having been threatened with someone kicking me out of my house so they can have it. I’ve never thanked Him for that before!

Michael Scaman about 1 year ago

God is sovereign even over how their enemies felt about them putting fear in their hearts

In this chapter “… This day I will begin to put the dread and fear of you on the peoples who are under the whole heaven, who shall hear the report of you and shall tremble and be in anguish because of you.’…”

Later in Joshua 11, the book also says that except for the Gibeonites no one else made treaties with them as a people because God hardened their hearts as so the rest of the Canaanites fought Joshua and lost the land.

Michael Macomber about 1 year ago

The title had caught my interest, and low and behold it’s my ReGen leader! Thanks for the reminder and encouragement Barrett. I am reminded how God was with me and chasing me down all the years I was taking advice from people I looked up to only to make my own decision based on my own thinking and understanding. It wasn’t until ReGen and step 4 that I was shown a pattern of lying and deceit only to lift up my own self image. God has been gracious in His discipline with me, bringing me back to Him. I am still in the process of recovering from my choices but I have His promises to lean on, and the evidence of His presence in my life in the past to move forward in the future. Proud of you Barrett and thanks for sharing!

Lindsey Driscoll about 1 year ago

It’s interesting to read Deuteronomy 2:7 and see that Israel did not lack anything, even during 40 years of their unfaithfulness; God was faithful. Even in the wandering, sin, lack of trusting the Lord, Israel still received provision from the Lord. How undeserving!? Even in our sin, the Lord has still provided. We know he provides our physical needs of daily bread (proverbs 30:8), provides boundaries for protection (Numbers 34), and a way out of temptation (1 Cor 10:13).

Hope Harris about 1 year ago

GM JTJ I have been reading along with you all but dividing my reflection prayer time in the morning to seek Gods direction on a pressing matter over the last 10 or so days.

Deuteronomy is one of my favorite books in the Torah. Moses gives us inspiration and a different view of the last 38 years of the Israelites journey.

Moses the man and his leadership abilities have caused me to pause and think about my own life.

Todays reflections show that the children of Israel could have entered the promise land 38 years sooner but unbelief and rebellion caused Gods blessing to wait for entire generation.

One key question I am asking is: How can I lead well even when I want to respond with emotions in conflict?

Hugh Stephenson about 1 year ago

2 Timothy 3:16 - What has God given me as a “possession”?

Despite their failings God gave Lot, Esau & their descendants land as a “possession” - in Hebrew “yerušâ”. From Strongs (partly) “a patrimony, heritage, inheritance.”

Alcorn notes (paraphrasing) - in ancient times land was key to survival as it produced food to support a person and their descendants. In modern times a good education might be the equivalent.

I love verse 7. In 61 years, I have spent a lot of time in the wilderness; seemingly always chosen in rebellion. I look back and see His protection and provision for me even though I felt abandoned then.

He loved me enough to let me have my way, (Romans 1:22-32), and reap the harvest I sowed, (Galatians 6:7, Hosea 8:7). I lived Hebrews 12:11. Among my most cherished blessings is that he stayed faithful and patient, (2 Peter 3:9).

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