Israel sent messengers to say to Sihon king of the Amorites: “Let us pass through your country. We will not turn aside into any field or vineyard, or drink water from any well. We will travel along the King’s Highway until we have passed through your territory.” Numbers 21:21-22
King Sihon refused to allow the Israelites to pass through his country. He then lost the battle that followed. This incident had a profound effect on the surrounding nations. Later this is what Rahab told the Israelite spies: “We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below” (Joshua 2:10-11).
After the battles we read, “Israel settled in the land of the Amorites” (Numbers 21:31). It’s not clear how long the Israelites stayed, but later two and a half Israelite tribes asked to be given this land, on the east side of the Jordan, as their inheritance (Numbers 32).
These people hadn’t even seen the land west of the Jordan, but because this land was suitable for livestock they wanted it (32:4-5). It was part of the land that God promised Abraham, but not part of God’s immediate plan for his people. God allowed them to stay but history would suggest it wasn’t the best plan.
One victory and these people were satisfied. But God has so much more he wants to give us, if we are open to receive.