"Hear, O Israel! Today you are about to cross the Jordan River to occupy the land belonging to nations much greater and more powerful than you. They live in cities with walls that reach to the sky!
They are strong and tall -- descendants of the famous Anakite giants. You've heard the saying, 'Who can stand up to the Anakites?'
But the LORD your God will cross over ahead of you like a devouring fire to destroy them. He will subdue them so that you will quickly conquer them and drive them out, just as the LORD has promised.
"After the LORD your God has done this for you, don't say to yourselves, 'The LORD has given us this land because we are so righteous!' No, it is because of the wickedness of the other nations that he is doing it.
It is not at all because you are such righteous, upright people that you are about to occupy their land. The LORD your God will drive these nations out ahead of you only because of their wickedness, and to fulfill the oath he had sworn to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
I will say it again: The LORD your God is not giving you this good land because you are righteous, for you are not -- you are a stubborn people.
"Remember how angry you made the LORD your God out in the wilderness. From the day you left Egypt until now, you have constantly rebelled against him.
Remember how angry you made the LORD at Mount Sinai, a where he was ready to destroy you.
That was when I was on the mountain receiving the tablets of stone inscribed with the covenant that the LORD had made with you. I was there for forty days and forty nights, and all that time I ate nothing and drank no water.
The LORD gave me the covenant, the tablets on which God himself had written all the words he had spoken to you from the fire on the mountain.
"At the end of the forty days and nights, the LORD handed me the two stone tablets with the covenant inscribed on them.
Then the LORD said to me, 'Go down immediately because the people you led out of Egypt have become corrupt. They have already turned from the way I commanded them to live and have cast an idol for themselves from gold.'
"The LORD said to me, 'I have been watching this people, and they are extremely stubborn.
Leave me alone so I may destroy them and erase their name from under heaven. Then I will make a mighty nation of your descendants, a nation larger and more powerful than they are.'
"So I came down from the fiery mountain, holding in my hands the two stone tablets of the covenant.
There below me I could see the gold calf you had made in your terrible sin against the LORD your God. How quickly you had turned from the path the LORD had commanded you to follow!
So I raised the stone tablets and dashed them to the ground. I smashed them before your very eyes.
Then for forty days and nights I lay prostrate before the LORD, neither eating bread nor drinking water. I did this because you had sinned by doing what the LORD hated, thus making him very angry.
How I feared for you, for the LORD was ready to destroy you. But again he listened to me.
The LORD was so angry with Aaron that he wanted to destroy him. But I prayed for Aaron, and the LORD spared him.
I took your sin -- the calf you had made -- and I melted it in the fire and ground it into fine dust. I threw the dust into the stream that cascades down the mountain.
"You also made the LORD angry at Taberah, b Massah, c and Kibroth-hattaavah. d23
And at Kadesh-barnea the LORD sent you out with this command: 'Go up and take the land I have given you.' But you rebelled against the command of the LORD your God and refused to trust him or obey him.
Yes, you have been rebelling against the LORD as long as I have known you.
"That is why I fell down and lay before the LORD for forty days and nights when he was ready to destroy you.
I prayed to the LORD and said, 'O Sovereign LORD, do not destroy your own people. They are your special possession, redeemed from Egypt by your mighty power and glorious strength.
Overlook the stubbornness and sin of these people, but remember instead your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
If you destroy these people, the Egyptians will say, "The LORD destroyed them because he wasn't able to bring them to the land he had sworn to give them." Or they might say, "He destroyed them because he hated them; he brought them into the wilderness to slaughter them."
But they are your people and your special possession, whom you brought from Egypt by your mighty power and glorious strength.'
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)