Deuteronomy 2:14 (HCSB)
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.
Again we see God command the Israelites to avoid provoking and fighting with other peoples that God has given land to. And the pericope ends with a sort of reminder of the results when man ignores God.
Does it speak to the nature of man that God has to tell the Israelites not to provoke the Moabites? It is not that He is clarifying what the Israelites attitude towards Moab should be, as if He had asked them to engage somehow, nor is it that the Israelites had asked what they should do. This is an apparently unsolicited guidance from God to avoid fighting the Moabites.
There is then a brief history of the land being referenced, and its previous inhabitants. And again we see that God is not solely consumed with Israel, but is working and arranging things in all the world, with all people. Perhaps a reminder that God is working for all people, not just us, and we should adopt an attitude that reflects His concern for all as well.
The pericope ends with the death of all the “fighting men” that were not allowed to enter Canaan due to their disobedience. So notice two things: 1) despite their disobedience at one time, the men that die here were following God at the time! We might expect the same in our lives: when we sin there are consequences, and sometimes those consequences are never removed, but we must endure them to our worldly end. 2) God takes His commands very seriously, and it is He that doles out punishment. It was His hand that “was against them”. And God is patient, fully able to outlast us and complete His promises.
Lord, thank You for loving all people, and desiring everyone to come to You. At one time I was one of those people, but You have saved me! Help me to be outward focused, and use me to draw others to You. Sustain me through the consequences of my sin, knowing that ultimately You have redeemed me and I have the promise of eternity with You. Amen.