By David Kowalski
Sihon and Og were two mighty kings whose forces the Israelites defeated (see Numbers 21) east of the Jordan before crossing into Canaan. The powerful forces of Sihon the Amorite had defeated the Moabites and occupied a territory of about 1,500 square miles. When Israel requested to pass through this area peacefully, Sihon refused and sent his large, trained, and seasoned army to prevent this passage.
God gave the Israelites a miraculous victory, after which they went on to travel through the region ruled by King Og of Bashan, who was the last survivor of the giant Rephaites (see Gen. 14:5, 15:20; Deut. 2:10-1,20, 3:11,13; Josh. 12:4, 13:12, 15:8, 17:15, 18:16; 2Sam. 5:11,22, 23:13; 1Chr. 11:15, 14:9, 20:4). Og’s bed was made of iron and was more than thirteen feet long and six feet wide (Deut. 3:11). His forces possessed an area twice the size that Sihon’s had, and he also refused the Israelites safe passage.
On the eve of battle, God encouraged Moses, saying, “I have given him into your hand, and all his people and his land; and you shall do to him as you did to Sihon, king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon” (Numbers 21:34 NASB). Encouraged by their recent victory, the Israelites boldly fought King Og and his vastly superior forces at Edrei, with the result that they “killed him and his sons and all his people, until there was no remnant left him; and they possessed his land” (Numbers 21:35 NASB).
The victories over Sihon and Og gave the Israelites possession of the country on the east of Jordan, from the Arnon to the foot of Hermon. The battles that awaited the Israelites on the other side of Jordan would be intimidating. They would fight “seven nations greater and stronger” than they (Deuteronomy 7:1 NASB).
For encouragement, it seems the Israelites would periodically remind themselves (as in Psalm 135 and 136) of the victories over Sihon and Og:
He smote many nationsAnd slew mighty kings,Sihon, king of the Amorites,And Og, king of Bashan. (Psalm 135:10-12 NASB)
And slew mighty kings,For His lovingkindness is everlasting:Sihon, king of the Amorites,For His lovingkindness is everlasting,And Og, king of Bashan,For His lovingkindness is everlasting. (Psalm 136:18-20 NASB)
God had revealed His nature and His promises to the Israelites, but the victories over Sihon and Og were tangible lessons that more deeply impressed the greatness and faithfulness of God on their hearts and minds. On their way to conquest in Canaan, they remembered Sihon and Og, and were emboldened for the battles ahead.
Sometimes as we face overwhelming odds and seemingly impossible situations ahead of us, it helps to look back to our own past victories. When we remember our own Sihon and Og, we realize that the God of those battles is the same God who goes before us into the battle ahead. His power and faithfulness that carried us through miraculously and safely when we faced overwhelming adversaries before has not changed. Whatever lies ahead, remember your own Sihon and Og, and take heart. God did not take you through that to forget or abandon you now.
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