Why the Lord Gave Canaan to Israel
1Israel, listen to me. You are now about to go across the Jordan River. You will take over the land of the nations that live there. Those nations are greater and stronger than you are. Their large cities have walls that reach up to the sky. 2The people who live there are Anakites. They are strong and tall. You know all about them. You have heard people say, “Who can stand up against the Anakites?” 3But today you can be sure the Lord your God will go over there ahead of you. He is like a fire that will burn them up. He’ll destroy them. He’ll bring them under your control. You will drive them out. You will put an end to them quickly, just as the Lord has promised you.
4The Lord your God will drive them out to make room for you. When he does, don’t say to yourself, “The Lord has done it because I am godly. That’s why he brought me here to take over this land.” That isn’t true. The Lord is going to drive out those nations to make room for you because they are very evil. 5You are not going in to take over their land because you have done what is right or honest. It’s because those nations are so evil. That’s why the Lord your God will drive them out to make room for you. He will do what he said he would do. He made a promise to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 6The Lord your God is giving you this good land to take as your own. But you must understand that it isn’t because you are a godly nation. In fact, you are stubborn.
Israel Worshiped the Golden Calf
7Here is something you must remember. Never forget it. You made the Lord your God angry in the desert. You refused to obey him from the day you left Egypt until you arrived here. 8At Mount Horeb you made the Lord angry enough to destroy you. 9I went up the mountain. I went there to receive the tablets of the covenant law. They were made out of stone. It was the covenant the Lord had made with you. I stayed on the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights. I didn’t eat any food or drink any water. 10The Lord gave me two stone tablets. The words on them were written by the finger of God. All the commandments the Lord gave you were written on the tablets. He announced them to you out of the fire on the mountain. He wrote them on the day you gathered together there.
11The 40 days and 40 nights came to an end. Then the Lord gave me the two stone tablets. They were the tablets of the covenant law. 12The Lord told me, “Go down from here right away. The people you brought out of Egypt have become very sinful. They have quickly turned away from what I commanded them. They have made a statue of a god for themselves.”
13The Lord also said to me, “I have seen these people. They are so stubborn! 14Do not try to stop me. I am going to destroy them. I will wipe them out from the earth. Then I will make you into a great nation. Your people will be stronger than they were. There will be more of you than there were of them.”
15So I turned and went down the mountain. It was blazing with fire. I was carrying the two tablets of the covenant law. 16When I looked, I saw that you had sinned against the Lord your God. You had made for yourselves a metal statue of a god. It looked like a calf. You had quickly turned away from the path the Lord had commanded you to follow. 17So I threw the two tablets out of my hands. You watched them break into pieces.
18Then once again I fell down flat in front of the Lord with my face toward the ground. I lay there for 40 days and 40 nights. I didn’t eat any food or drink any water. You had committed a terrible sin. You had done an evil thing in the Lord’s sight. You had made him angry. 19I was afraid of the Lord’s great anger. He was so angry with you he wanted to destroy you. But the Lord listened to me again. 20And he was so angry with Aaron he wanted to destroy him too. But at that time I prayed for Aaron. 21I also got that sinful calf you had made. I burned it in the fire. I crushed it and ground it into fine powder. Then I threw the powder into a stream that was flowing down the mountain.
22You also made the Lord angry at Taberah, Massah and Kibroth Hattaavah.
23The Lord sent you out from Kadesh Barnea. He said, “Go up and take over the land I have given you.” But you refused to do what the Lord your God had commanded you to do. You didn’t trust him or obey him. 24You have been refusing to obey the Lord as long as I’ve known you.
25I lay down in front of the Lord with my face toward the ground for 40 days and 40 nights. I did it because the Lord had said he would destroy you. 26I prayed to him. “Lord and King,” I said, “don’t destroy your people. They belong to you. You set them free by your great power. You used your mighty hand to bring them out of Egypt. 27Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Forgive the Israelites for being so stubborn. Don’t judge them for the evil and sinful things they’ve done. 28If you do, the Egyptians will say, ‘The Lord wasn’t able to take them into the land he had promised to give them. He hated them. So he brought them out of Egypt to put them to death in the desert.’ 29But they are your people. They belong to you. You used your great power to bring them out of Egypt. You reached out your mighty arm and saved them.”