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Of Dead Kings and Borders

I’m working my way through Deuteronomy with my small group.  (Actually, they would probably say that I am inflicting Deuteronomy ON them!)  It is sometimes odd to me the ways that God communicates with us, and Deuteronomy is full of such examples.  For instance, the verse that seems to randomly mention a dead king in the midst of a description of borders.  What’s that about?

Here’s the passage in question, Deut. 3:8-11. 

So at that time we took from these two kings of the Amorites the territory east of the Jordan, from the Arnon Gorge as far as Mount Hermon.  (Hermon is called Sirion by the Sidonians; the Amorites call it Senir.)  We took all the towns on the plateau, and all Gilead, and all Bashan as far as Salecah and Edrei, towns of Og’s kingdom in Bashan.  (Only Og king of Bashan was left of the remnant of the Rephaites. His bed was made of iron and was more than thirteen feet long and six feet wide. It is still in Rabbah of the Ammonites.)

It’s a simple description of some land that was taken, but in the midst of it is the mention of Og.  Why would God see fit to find that little nugget so important that He would preserve it for 3000+ years?

Well, it seems like it’s a bit of irony.  The important King Og (he was apparently quite famous) bears witness, from his tomb, of God’s unfolding plan to establish Israel and eventually redeem all creation.  Og apparently wasn’t so great after all.

So God is sovereign over history.  Og could not be there to stop God from giving the Israelites the land that God had promised them, and now he bore witness to that same fact.  God was sovereign over Og, Og’s successors, and the land that Og probably thought could never be lost.

I sometimes forget that God has always been in control and will always be in control.  Og had to learn the lesson the hard way.  But as I think about sitting with someone earlier today, empathizing with their pain and confusion, it’s helpful to know that God has always been in control and will always be in control.

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  1. October 14, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    It seems that Og was a big larger than life guy as well – probably an ominous figure who had lots of sway and intimidated everyone – makes your point even more so when the big king is just a dead big king.

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