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King of the Grasshoppers

Deuteronomy 3:1 &11
“Then we turned and went up the way to Bashan. And Og the king of Bashan came out against us, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei. … (For only Og the king of Bashan was left of the remnant of the Rephaim. Behold, his bed was a bed of iron. … Nine cubits was its length, and four cubits its breadth, according to the common cubit.)”

What image comes to your mind as you read of this Canaanite hulk named Og storming through the hills with his army to thwart the advance of God’s Kingdom? Maybe you picture a rugged, handsome warrior, the Viking sort, with long, braided hair, a full beard, and rounded, muscular shoulders that lay beside his iron neck like boulders. Or maybe you picture an ordinary, unimpressive chieftain that only got where he got in life because he was a head taller than everyone else in his clan. But I don’t see a man at all when I read Deuteronomy 3:1 and 11. I see a sort of godless ogre racing out from the rocks like a troll from a Hans Christian Anderson tale or an orc from a Tolkien novel or a devil from a John Bunyan allegory.

Og—what an ugly sound! How well it matches the soul (and there isn’t much soul left). His brief appearance in the biblical record is anything but a fairytale, of course, but it’s still a fable, teaching us that not only do devils get destroyed by Almighty God, but that they cast themselves as the villains by their own will. Had Og rushed down from his hilltop fortress with open arms and a white flag, had he thrown the gates of his kingdom wide open and welcomed God’s people inside, had he let go of his destructive pride and pleaded with Moses for mercy, leaving behind his made-up, propped-up, puffed-up charade of power and joined the pilgrims on their journey to a true Kingdom, then his name would’ve resounded with those of Abraham and Joshua and David. And—who knows—God might’ve given him a new name the way He changed Abram’s name to Abraham and Saul to Paul.

Friend, never pity the sinner for the death he incurs on himself. Pity him for the life he forfeits.