As the children of Israel prepared themselves to enter into the promised land, Moses reminded them of God’s help, Israel’s rebellious behavior, and God’s power.
How would Israel gain victory over the Canaanites? (9:3) – “Therefore understand today that the LORD your God is He who goes over before you as a consuming fire. He will destroy them and bring them down before you . . .” Praise and gratitude should be given to God Almighty, not the Israelites.
But why would God cast out the Canaanites? (9:4,5) – He had His reasons. Consider His answers:
“It is not because of your righteousness” (9:4). You see, Israel had had a history of being stiff- necked (9:6), rebelling (9:7), and provoking the Lord (9:7,8).
To fulfill His land promise: “. . . that He may fulfill the word which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (9:5).
To carry out justice: “. . . because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD your God drives them out from before you . . .” (9:5). Canaan’s “wickedness” confirms that they were not innocent people.
At Horeb, Israel had turned aside quickly (9:12,16): Who said so? God did. According to Him, while Moses was up on the mount receiving the Ten Commandments in written form, when the Israelites foolishly carried out a plan to worship a golden calf, what were they doing? “They have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them” (9:12). They did not simply turn aside: they willfully turned aside from God’s way. What a disaster! And, they did so “quickly.” God said that Israel “acted corruptly” (9:12). Could they blame their unwise behavior on other people or the environment in which they found themselves? No. God Himself described what happened in the camp of Israel: He said that the Israelites “have corrupted themselves” (Exodus 32:7). That is the way it works, is it not? If we find ourselves in sin, we have no one to blame but ourselves (James 1:13-15). Despite Israel’s failures, the Lord would continue to be good to them and fulfill His promises.
Moses the interceder (9:19,20,25,26) – What a great man he was, a man who loved his people. When Israel messed up on their journey between Egypt and Canaan (and they did so often), Moses would speak up on the people’s behalf and plead for God to spare them. He prayed for Aaron, despite his folly (9:20), he prostrated himself before the Lord (9:25), and begged Jehovah not to destroy His people (9:26). Moses faced many frustrations, but he never gave up on Israel.
— Roger D. Campbell