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Moses’ first address to Israel recounts their journey: Deuteronomy 1–4

Getting out of Egypt alive was a miracle. As was getting food, water and everything else God had provided in the people’s recent history.

In recounting Israel’s journey so far, Moses reminded them that they had tried to do things in their own strength:

Deuteronomy 1:42 But the Lord told me to tell you, ‘Do not attack, for I am not with you. If you go ahead on your own, you will be crushed by your enemies.’

The trick here, though, was that the Israelites had confessed their regret (not repented), and were now doing the very thing that God wanted in the first place.

It wasn’t quite so simple:

Deuteronomy 1:43-44 “This is what I told you, but you would not listen. Instead, you again rebelled against the Lord’s command and arrogantly went into the hill country to fight. But the Amorites who lived there came out against you like a swarm of bees. They chased and battered you all the way from Seir to Hormah.

It happens: God asks, we hesitate, God withdraws the offer. A new offer is made. So we realise what we’ve lost, try for the first offer, now withdrawn; we then wonder why it all falls apart.