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Deuteronomy: The Second Law - Speech 1

A commentary on the first speech of Moses in Deuteronomy 1-4. The book of Deuteronomy is a series of 12 speeches that Moses gave just before his death at the end of Israel's wilderness journey.

Category - Bible Commentaries

Chapter 7

Beware of Moabites

Moses continues his speech in Deut. 2:8,

8 So we passed beyond our brothers the sons of Esau, who live in Seir, away from the Arabah road, away from Elath [now the Israeli port of Eilat] and from Ezion-geber. And we turned and passed through by the way of the wilderness of Moab.

Israel had camped at Kadesh, and then marched east to Mount Hor at the border of Edom. Being refused passage, they went south to the top of the Gulf of Aqaba. From there the land of Midian lay on the east side of Aqaba, the Sinai Peninsula on the west, and Edom to the north. Israel journeyed around Edom to the wilderness of Moab.

9 Then the Lord said to me, “Do not harass Moab, nor provoke them to war, for I will not give you any of their land as a possession, because I have given Ar to the sons of Lot as a possession.”

Lot was the nephew of Abraham. He came along when Abraham left Haran, because Lot's father had already died. Lot is the one who was saved from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. As they fled the destruction, Lot's daughters apparently thought it was the end of the world, and that they were the only survivors. So when their father got drunk, they each had an incestuous relationship with him.

Each daughter bore a son from this. One son was named Moab, which means “of his father.” The other was named Ammon, or Ben-ammi, whose name means “son of my kindred.” Both sons and subsequent nations were named to remember their incestuous beginnings.

This is important when considering the prophetic meaning and application of this today, toward the end of our journey around Edom on our way to the Promised Land.

The detour around Edom began in 1948. The next encounter is Moab, who represents sexual perversions that cast aside the lawful boundaries that God has established. This began fully in the 1960's and has only increased to this day. And because they came out of Sodom, it is apparent that the homosexuality of that city had made incest seem trifling to Lot's daughters.

Righteous Lot” Represents the Church

We must note also that Lot is mentioned in 2 Peter 2:7, saying, “He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men.” Lot was a believer who left Ur of the Chaldees with Abraham to seek the same heavenly city not built by human hands. He represents the Church (actually, a portion of the Church). Lot did not like the immorality of Sodom, but neither did he leave the city, having chosen the well-watered plain (Gen. 13:10) for economic reasons.

In this way, while Abraham represents the overcomers, Lot represents the Church. Abraham did not lose his vision of the heavenly city. Lot chose to settle down in another city, and though God spared him, he lost nearly everything when God brought judgment upon Sodom. Perhaps he is the prime example that Paul was contemplating when he wrote in 1 Cor. 3:15,

15 If any man's work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire.

It appears that we today are the generation prophesied by this journey to the Promised Land. We have reached the border of Moab and its sexual perversion. Moab is one of our final obstacles between us and the Promised Land.

The Counsel of Balaam

Though Moses does not give further details in his speech, we know from Numbers 22-25 that when Israel arrived at the border of Moab, Balaam gave counsel to King Balak of Moab about how to seduce the Israelites into participating in their sexual freedom (Num. 31:16). Numbers 25:1 says,

1 While Israel remained at Shittim, the people began to play the harlot with the daughters of Moab. 2 For they [the prostitutes of Baal] invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. 3 So Israel joined themselves to Baal of Peor, and the Lord was angry against Israel.

As a result, the Lord brought a plague upon Israel, which killed 24,000 of them (Num. 25:9).

In 2 Peter 2:15 we are told that Balaam “loved the wages of unrighteousness.” In other words, he used his gift of prophecy in an unrighteous manner. It is interesting that nowhere in Scripture was Balaam ever called a false prophet. In fact, all that he prophesied came true, and his prophecies about Israel are included in the truth of Scripture. His spiritual gift is not questioned, but his motives were impure.

His connection to the Moabites suggests that he was a type of a prophet in the Church today who has a problem with the love of money and is willing to use his spiritual gift as a means of obtaining wealth and prosperity. The fact that he also rode a tongues-speaking donkey suggests that he is a prophet who is master over Pentecostal people. See my book, The Wheat and Asses of Pentecost.

In the angel's message to The Seven Churches, we read about the Church in Pergamum (Rev. 2:14),

14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit acts of immorality.

Hence, we see that the spirit of Balaam was adopted by the Church. This proves that Balaam was merely a type and shadow of things to come in the Church. So it is not surprising to read of immorality throughout Church history and to see it in the news even today. As in the days of Moses, such lawlessness is a cause of divine judgment upon the Church.

We must understand that this is also the stumbling block to our entry into the Promised Land, even as Edom has provided us with a detour. We are very much like the church in the wilderness under Moses. We have stumbled at the prophecy of those who are overcome by the love of money. We are impressed with their spiritual gift, but fail to examine their motives. We are then induced to eat of the sacrifices of lawless immorality in the name of love and unity.

While writing this, I came across some Presbyterian news from a tabloid published by the Presbyterian Lay Committee. In 2012 the Presbyterian Church is splitting over the recent Church decision to allow homosexual marriage and the ordination of practicing homosexuals into the ministry. So far (July 2012) there are reported to be 47 churches preparing to leave the main Church and to join with a new “Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians,” or ECO.

One of their articles opened by reporting:

The Presbyterian (USA)'s highest court has cleared the way for the ordination of an openly gay woman in what appears to be the final appeal of a seven-year judicial process....

“The commission agrees with the SPJC decision that the presbytery properly exercised its prerogative in determining that the candidate did not depart from the essentials of Reformed faith and polity,” the decision stated.

When the news reports of “openly gay,” they mean the person is a practicing homosexual, openly violating the standard of biblical law for our behavior. Since the Presbyterian Church was founded on a proper understanding of the divine law and its relationship to grace, this final decision of their highest court marks their full participation in the counsel of Balaam and their unity with the modern Moabites.

Yet God also has His people who have refused the counsel of Balaam and are willing to separate from the sin of its leaders. The fact that they (and others) are being forced to make this decision suggests that the Kingdom has nearly concluded its detour around Edom and is now dealing with the counsel of Balaam and the immoral practices of the modern Moabites.