And I commanded Joshua at that time, “Your eyes have seen all that the Lord your God has done to these two kings so will the Lord do to all the kingdoms into which you are crossing. You shall not fear them, for it is the Lord your God who fights for you.” –Deut 3:21-22
Here Moses recounts the defeat of Og and his kingdom, a King that truly was Nephilim, one of the few remaining of the giants of those times. His kingdom was the 2nd of the Amorite tribes that Israel conquered under Moses and his headship. But Moses had reached his end to the journey God had given him; at this point of recounting what had transpired Moses reminds the people what he had said to Joshua. It is a call to remember again, not just the things God had done 40 years ago, but what God had done through him and those other men who fought against Sihon and Og. Moses and his generation saw God do amazing things to the Egyptians, but their failure was to doubt God at the fringe of Cannon; this failure led to not just their wandering for 40 years, their children also had to grow up into adults in nothing but wilderness. Where Moses and his generation had grown up in a country, within borders, under rule; this generation grew up under Moses and the invisible and “sporadic” God that rescued them. This generation also has experienced a God who, as punishment to their parents, forced them to wander the desert for 40 years. Their doubts and frustrations were different from Moses and his generation. This generation dealt with doubts of whether they would ever be a people, whether they would ever have a land to call home, whether they would ever eat anything beyond manna and quail and whatever else they received from towns they traveled through. Would they be wanderers until death? Buried beneath the endless dunes of the desert?
The two defeats by their own hands was indeed momentous and huge for both Joshua and his generation, they had tasted nothing but failure; the failure of their parents was all they knew and defined their way of life for 40 years, could it be that they could have something different? Can you imagine tasting the victory over your generational curse or sin in this lifetime? What would that be like? Of course, like them, you really cannot envision beyond what little success you already have had. That is because we are fallen and unable to understand God’s ways, because it is God, not us that we have tasted any success at all. And God has conquered the sins of the generations that precede us today. He also will conquer the sins of our generation for our children to come, because He is sufficient. He gives us what success we have had in this life so that we can remember them as we continue to trudge on in the mundane tasks we have determined will free us from the bondages of the sins that follow us from our parents and have identified us. At the end of it all though, it is always God that brings us both into the trials and out of them that break those chains. Did not Moses and Israel go to Sihon’s kingdom under the guise that they would just be passing through? Merely repeating the same as before, asking permission to pass, to gather what supplies were needed to survive; was not Israel under the assumption that this would be like before, the continuation of their nomadic way of life?
So honor your father and mother, for with this command is a promise, that God will bless the generations to come after you, up to a thousand and more. For though they failed and have harmed you greatly in this life, you will do the same to your children either in the same or a new way, and God will be sufficient to cover it all because He is loving, He is a good Father. Christ reinstitutes this command and Paul comments on it in Ephesians:
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”