Follow God Specifically not Approximately

Deuteronomy 3

Jerry A Collins




ō      What can we learn about Godís grace?

ō      How are we our brothers keeper?

ō      What is the process of discipleship?

ō      After judging my sin will God erase itís consequences?


Oftentimes in battle there are specific commands given relating to the timing of a movement or a position that must be taken and held that require precision or else the whole scheme can become jeopardized. Orders are never to be obeyed approximately or a disaster is in the making. The same is true for assembly lines or musical performances or athletic competition or wedding ceremonies. Spiritually, God expects us to be followed and obeyed specifically not approximately. We should never paraphrase Godís word to us or change it to fit our culture or our own desires. Moses reminds us of this through a very tough lesson he learned as he explains things to the Israelites on the verge of entering into the land God promised to them.


In his section God distributes the conquered territory beyond the Jordan river to the Israelites. This land was divided among the tribes of (1) Reuben received the Moabite territory. (2) Gad received the southern half of Gilead. (3) Manasseh received the northern portion of Gilead and also Bashan. This was the territory King Og formerly held. Here we stay for a moment and Jair is singled out for special recognition vs 14. Like Jabez, we would know nothing of him without this commentary. Jair had the courage to capture the whole region of Argobóthe place where the giants lived and Og their king. This region was even named after him vs 14. This was still true at this time Ďto this dayí. There was a marvelous change due to the grace of Godóthat these 60 fortified towns of the region belonging to King Og now belong to Jairís household. Again, we note the exploits of one person who courageously pursued and God was gracious. (Noah, Abe, Moses, Joshua, Esther, David, Jabez, John). You plus God are a majority. You can step out for the Lord all alone and follow Godís will and never fear what might happen. On the way to the promised land God gives them even more than he had promised. This land was fought for courageously and given by God graciously. We will need courage to take possession vs 12 of our positionóthe allotment of land given to the tribes beyond the Jordanóand God will graciously distribute to us not only what we need but even beyond that. His gracious provision will come as we dare to move in a godly direction from where we are to where he desires for us to go. You can move out in faith and courage no matter the situation in your life and trust in Godís bountiful grace to supply for you all and more than you will need. Your position in life is given to you by God and cannot be a detriment if you go in faith and courage (Nehru).


In Numbers 32 the request of these two and one-half tribes is recorded. The note in vs 19 (I know that you have much livestock) indicates that this new region they possess was well suited for raising their cattle and herds. In the Num 32 passage Moses is angry at their request fearing another defection at Kadesh-Barnea episode 40 yrs earlier when they asked for spies to search out the land and when these returned the leaders discouraged the people so that they did not enter the land. However, here we note that these tribes promised to enter the land and cross over the Jordan to fight with the rest of the tribes for their inheritance beyond the Jordan. They could leave their new homes and their families without fear because the Lord gave them this land and they could fight fearlessly for their brothers and return home afterward. Moses reminds them of this commitment as the time for battle now draws near. You are your brotherís keeper. We should never think ĎIíve got mine, you get yours.í We should assist one another to possess their position not just gain ours. This is what discipleship is all about. Equipping people to take possession of what God has for them not just concerned about what God has for me. People will need help to move to where God wants them to be. 1 Corinthians is a book about the conduct of believers being the responsibility of other believers. Donít practice isolation either. Donít restrict your Christianity to only one group. His is why God moved me and Ruth to London. We needed exposure to what God was doing way beyond the group we grew up as part of. It is not just about me but about me as I move into otherís lives to motivate them to fully follow. 3. FORGIVENESS DOES NOT ERASE CONSEQUENCES OF SIN

Moses prayer in 23-29 is a request to God that he change His mind and allow Moses to cross the Jordan too and enter the land with the people. Moses appeal to Godís grace was based on the manifestations he has begun to seeólike the allotment of land beyond the Jordan and the destruction of the Amorite kings Sihon and Og. Since God had already begun to show Moses His greatness and mighty handvs 23-24, so might He also show Moses the completion of His work vs 25. Moses makes a reasonable sounding request. But God is angry with it vs 26. This new turn of events was not going to remove the consequences of Mosesí sin against God in Numbers 20:8-13. The language implies that Moses had made this request again and again and God became furious and said Ďenough already.í (1) This exchange reveals the intimate relationship between Moses and God. (2) It also heightens the tragedy in the experience of a man who had devoted his life to fulfilling Godís promise but knew he would never see its completion. Moses was still Godís man but the consequences of his sin remained. Moses had received specific instructions from God and had decided at a heated moment to paraphrase that instruction so he could not enter. We should never do that with Godís word. We will be tempted to alter it to fit our culture or traditions with respect to a host of teaching with respect to qualifications of leaders, divorce and remarriage, living in luxury, sexuality, salvation.

4. DISCIPLESHIP IS THE KEY TO THE NEXT GENERATION Twice Joshua is mentioned vs 21 and 28. God reminds Moses of the responsibility to prepare Joshua for leadership and that succession to leadership is important for Israel. So we must teach our disciples to; (1) Observe Godís work in their lives so their fear is consumed by faith in God vs 21-22. As Joshua took notice in his heart of Godís dealings as they prepared to enter the land he would have the faith in God necessary to not only enter but conquer. (2) Personally charge, encourage and strengthen them. Have such a relationship that inspires them to pursue all God has for them. (3) Put them in active service for God. Being discipled by Moses meant that Joshua became the next leader of the Israelites. For Joshua that was primarily the military conquest of the Land of Canaan. So, we should equip our disciples (spouse, children, sphere of influence) in such a way that they are qualified for leadership with the people of God. That leadership today includes war against satanic influences in this world Eph 6:10-12.

(1) To believe is to obey. To not obey God specifically is to not believe God specifically. Our obedience and our faith is the same thing. Any time you are not obeying God you are not believing God. What you do is exactly consistent with what you believe.

(2) God expects His Word to be followed specifically not approximately. We are to keep it not paraphrase it change it to fit our culture or traditions or habit patterns. Moses did not enter the land because he paraphrased what God had told him to do.

(3) We must be sure our confidence is in God not in the methods we use to serve Him. God told him to speak to the rock and not hit it to show him and Israel that the over was not in the stick. It was in God.

(4) Just because God uses you does not necessarily mean He is pleased with you. He was displeased with Moses hitting the rock even tho God brot water when he did. God evaluates us based on our obedience not our success or effectiveness.