Deuteronomy 2:7 (HCSB)
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. The Lord your God has been with you this past 40 years, and you have lacked nothing.’
This passage describes the next part of the Israelites journey, the start of the wandering in the wilderness. This particular pericope is concerned with the land of Seir and how the Israelites should interact with the people.
The last verse in this pericope is what initially grabbed my attention and focus, and for good reason. The idea that the Israelites would consider themselves blessed after having spent about 40 years without yet receiving the land God had promised seems unlikely at best. And now they’ve been commanded to get up and start travelling into the wilderness, again… probably not seen as a blessing. And here is a land of people who are apparently afraid of the Israelites, one can only assume because they feared the Israelites were going to take their land and had some sort of military superiority, yet now that land has been made off-limits. Yet God has a different outlook on things. Rather than the Israelites having been abandoned by God, God has blessed them, protected them, been with them, and taken care of them. We don’t always see God’s processes, His plans, and the way He works, as blessings, or protection, or provision… but we can’t see from His perspective. So when we might think that God has abandoned us, we should look back at the Israelites here, and follow through with following God.
The other interesting thing in this pericope is the land of Seir and its relationship with Israel. First off, note that God has given land to another people! God’s plans extend well beyond us, just as they extended well beyond the Israelites then. We can easily forget that God is the Creator of the universe, and has created all men in His image, and start to picture ourselves as the center of everything, rather than God. So just as the Israelites has been promised Canaan, Esau’s descendants had been promised Seir. Second, Israel was not to be dependent on Seir. There was not to be a plundering, nor an acceptance of gifts, but instead fair trade: payment for food and water. Just as God had watched over and provided for Israel for the last 40 years, He is showing Israel that He continues to do so. Likewise, we should not forget who it is that provides for us at all times!
Lord, thank You for providing for us. Not just our physical needs, like food and water, but for our spiritual needs and our eternal life! I am sorry for not always recognizing others as people created in Your image, just like me. Help me to do so, and to have mercy, grace, and love just as You do towards me. Amen.