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©Kris Gerbrandt

Chapter 9:22-31 (ESV)

Posted on November 10, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 9:22-31 (ESV) - And you gave them kingdoms and peoples and allotted to them every corner. So they took possession of the land of Sihon king of Heshbon and the land of Og king of Bashan. You multiplied their children as the stars of heaven, and you brought them into the land that you had told their fathers to enter and possess. So the descendants went in and possessed the land, and you subdued before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, and gave them into their hand, with their kings and the peoples of the land, that they might do with them as they would. And they captured fortified cities and a rich land, and took possession of houses full of all good things, cisterns already hewn, vineyards, olive orchards and fruit trees in abundance. So they ate and were filled and became fat and delighted themselves in your great goodness.

“Nevertheless, they were disobedient and rebelled against you and cast your law behind their back and killed your prophets, who had warned them in order to turn them back to you, and they committed great blasphemies. Therefore you gave them into the hand of their enemies, who made them suffer. And in the time of their suffering they cried out to you and you heard them from heaven, and according to your great mercies you gave them saviors who saved them from the hand of their enemies. But after they had rest they did evil again before you, and you abandoned them to the hand of their enemies, so that they had dominion over them. Yet when they turned and cried to you, you heard from heaven, and many times you delivered them according to your mercies. And you warned them in order to turn them back to your law. Yet they acted presumptuously and did not obey your commandments, but sinned against your rules, which if a person does them, he shall live by them, and they turned a stubborn shoulder and stiffened their neck and would not obey. Many years you bore with them and warned them by your Spirit through your prophets. Yet they would not give ear. Therefore you gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands. Nevertheless, in your great mercies you did not make an end of them or forsake them, for you are a gracious and merciful God.

Question to consider: Why is it so hard for us to remember God during times of blessing?

After describing God’s work to deliver Israel from slavery in Egypt and showing mercy despite their disobedience over forty years in the desert, God fulfilled His promise to give them the land of Canaan. Of course, the generation that received this promise was the one that came after Moses, for even though God mercifully cared for Israel in the desert, He did not reward their disobedience with a home in the promised land.

For those of Joshua’s generation who did receive the land, God delivered to them homes that they did not build, treasure that they did not earn and orchards and vineyards they did not plant. The perspective they give in this prayer was that of Israel who received the blessing. The peoples that lived in the land of Canaan were overthrown, but it is worth noting that God did not wipe them out all at once. Each nation was conquered individually which gave them every opportunity to repent of their idols and turn to God.

Then they summarized the period of the Judges which was basically a pattern of Israel rebelling against God, God giving them into the hand of their enemies, Israel repenting, and God sending a judge to save them. Eventually God would give them human kings who would use Israel for their personal gain and lead the people into the worship of idols. God would send prophets to these kings to help them rule justly, but the people would not listen to them and even killed them. 

Do you ever notice that those who profess to be prophets today never seem to bring a message of repentance and never face persecution and death for bringing it? This is actually a really good passage for people to read who accuse God of being judgmental in the Old Testament.

This is Israel admitting that every judgment they received was warranted, and God continued to show them mercy after mercy even though they did not deserve it. God judges sin to bring people to the place where they recognize their need for Him because, as sinful creatures, we only seem to cry out to God during times of tribulation and turmoil.

We can see this pattern today. How many times do we turn to God in prayer when we are in need and then go back to living selfishly when God delivers us from our troubles or gives us a blessing? This group of Israelites were briefly willing to confess their sins and the sins of their forefathers in this moment after God had allowed them to restore the city and temple. This is a good thing, but the reason we constantly need to be reminded of our need for repentance is that we constantly forget. It’s important that we view confession as something to be done regularly until we go to be with the Lord.


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for giving us mercy upon mercy. Please soften our hearts so we may recognize our sin and be reconciled to You. Help us to offer up a sacrifice of praise in good times and in bad and keep our eyes focused on Christ until He returns or calls us home. Amen.