So they defeated him and his sons and all his people, until he had no survivor left. And they possessed his land.
This chapter actually recounts the very initial conquests Israel experienced in battle as they began moving into Canaan. They began by settling the western banks of the Jordan River. The territories they seized were a result of defensive warfare in which aggressive nations came to attack them. God eventually brought them the complete victory which resulted in Israel taking some of the land promised to them by God so long ago.
These initial victories came at the hand of God’s grace, because Israel still was not the nation they should have been in terms of spiritual commitment. What interests me is that after the first victory, there is an immediate failure (the infamous bronze serpent episode: Numbers 21:4-9). But God graciously responds to Moses’ plea for the people and once again they are back on track conquering their aggressors again. Moses is getting a taste of what the next generation of leadership will know. And God is continuing to develop a faithful generation that will want to obey His leading in the conquest of Canaan.
Israel is advancing spiritually as a nation throughout the book of Numbers. But they are falling forward in stutter steps. They aren’t quite the noble heroes we would hope for. They struggle with unbelief and selfish complaining even after God has saved them from threatened destruction from a larger and established nation. They just can’t seem to stay spiritually consistent. But God is faithful. And that is the insight worth considering for today.
We may fail. We may struggle with consistency. Our faith may be small at times. And our sins may overwhelm us when we fail. But God is faithful. He will lead us beyond our failures so that He gets the glory. We experience profound grace when He does this.