Deuteronomy 3:1-11 – A Tale of Two General Ledgers and God’s Sovereignty

Posted: December 1, 2016 in 05-Deuteronomy, 99-Uncategorized
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Deuteronomy 3:1-11

Victory over Og of Bashan

Yesterday, we talked about how sometimes conflict is unavoidable. Situations and circumstances, people and their immovable positions often force us to take a stand for what we believe is right. So, today, let’s take a look at it from the perspective of being forced or feeling forced into conflict and you accept that challenge. What now? What do you do? You are a person that likes to avoid conflict at all costs but you are in it now! What now?


Being a person who avoids conflict at all costs, any conflict seems like an insurmountable conflict. What do you do? For me, one of those times was at work. At my job, the company that I work for, Fujikura America, Inc. (FAI) is a legal subsidiary of its American sister company, America Fujikura, Ltd. (AFL). However, from an operational perspective, we report our results to both companies’ ultimate parent company in Japan, Fujikura, Ltd. (FJK), separately. We report managerially separately, too. There is a separate chain of command and we have a separate president from AFL. However, from a legal perspective, we are a subsidiary of AFL. It can cause confusion for us, much less you reading this. In November 2013, Japan felt it was best that we quit using our separate accounting systems and use the same accounting system as AFL. The implementation was like that of a big brother thinking that anything that little brother did was silly and insignificant. As a result, they did not put much effort into our implementation. Nowhere in the process did they ever tell us that there were two levels to the general ledger system where AFL corporate personnel could make entries to FAI’s books in what is known as the consolidated ledger in addition to what we used for the normal operations of FAI in what is known as the local ledger. This became important in the looming conflict that I will tell you about. As part of our switching to their general ledger system, we were also forced to join their centralized banking program, too. This plays a role in the conflict as well. Centralized cash and them being able to make entries to my books at the consolidated ledger level is the crux of the conflict to come, in addition to poor implementation training.


After the rocky road of the initial implementation of AFL’s general ledger system at FAI, we finally were able to understand the system and make it work for us three months after the conversion. Those first three months were a nightmare that I won’t talk about here but it was just rough as hell, know that. So from January 2014 to March 2014, we thought we were smooth sailing again after the conversion. However, in April, at the year-end audit of AFL and its legal subs, including FAI, it came to light that what I had been reporting to Japan did not match the financials that the auditors were getting from the general ledger system on an AFL consolidated basis. It was a major issue. It almost cost me my job. It was a conflict of the highest order. Come to find out, AFL’s corporate finance group was routinely making cash entries at the consolidated ledger level of FAI’s books. I was reporting to Japan only what was in our local ledger books. I was never told that they would be making entries to my books without my knowledge. AFL corporate personnel were throwing me under the bus by saying that I was keeping my own set of books as if I was being fraudulent in some way. My contention to Japan as all this came to a head, where my job was on the line was that:


  • Training on the all the ins and outs of the general ledger system that they forced us to use was shoddy at best. It may have been great for operations personnel (customer service, billing, and accounts payable) but general ledger training was almost non-existent.
  • Never were we told that manual journal entries were going to be made by corporate personnel in this “consolidated ledger” level of our books that only corporate has access to.
  • I contended that the “consolidation ledger” should be used only to consolidate our data with all the other business units and not for making actual journal entries.
  • I contended too that if I am being held responsible for the books of FAI, which I am, then, I need to be informed of any entries being made to my books so that I can review and approve of them.


There were about 3 months from April – June 2014 where I was uncertain if I was going to survive this crisis. I think that the only thing that saved me from being thrown under the bus completely without being vindicated was my track record with the company over the previous 6 years before the crisis. I was the one that moved FAI’s finance group from complete disarray into the most reliable financial reporting group among the US group of Fujikura companies. Never had there been any audit findings regarding FAI Finance before this. And I had a reputation within the group for having the cleanest and tightest set books in the group of companies. Why then all of a sudden would AFL accuse me of being fraudulent in some way. There had to be a reason for the crisis. It was the new general ledger system and it was how they were using it.


Since AFL had grown into a large organization but the AFL corporate finance organization had not grown to match, it was often easier for them to make adjusting entries at the corporate level on the books of the subs rather than make the subsidiary adjust their books. It had become a habit. Because they had not fully trained us on the general ledger and not made us responsible for recording our cash activity from the new banking system, all those cash inflow and outflow entries from the centralized cash management program were not being recorded manually at our local level of our books. They were just booking it at the corporate consolidated level of our books. Not knowing that I had to report to Japan both what they were doing to our books at the corporate level in addition to all the regular activity in our local level of our books, you can see how the conflict arose.


You can ask my wife, as I had to explain and defend myself over a three month period, I would literally come home and cry on her shoulder. It was seemingly an insurmountable war in which I was in the middle of this huge fight that I did not want to be in and was not really of my making. The biggest thing that I would cry about was that people were questioning my integrity when it was really about the lack of training and the lack of communication with regard to this new general ledger system. It was a nightmarish time. My wife and I prayed constantly during these three months and it seemed bleak at times. It was like being on trial for a crime that you did not commit. It was like going to battle against a great army and you were just a bunch of ill-equipped revolutionaries. It was a time that I was humbled before the Lord. I laid it at his feet and just had to trust that the man the Lord had made me into over the years since salvation would trump this temporary maelstrom.


It was that idea of simply having to lay it at the Lord’s feet and trust that God will deliver you against what seem like insurmountable odds is what I thought of when I read this passage. Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt to prove it. Let’s read this passage, Deuteronomy 3:1-11:


3 Next we turned and went up along the road toward Bashan, and Og king of Bashan with his whole army marched out to meet us in battle at Edrei. 2 The Lord said to me, “Do not be afraid of him, for I have delivered him into your hands, along with his whole army and his land. Do to him what you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon.”

3 So the Lord our God also gave into our hands Og king of Bashan and all his army. We struck them down, leaving no survivors. 4 At that time we took all his cities. There was not one of the sixty cities that we did not take from them—the whole region of Argob, Og’s kingdom in Bashan. 5 All these cities were fortified with high walls and with gates and bars, and there were also a great many unwalled villages. 6 We completely destroyed[a] them, as we had done with Sihon king of Heshbon, destroying[b] every city—men, women and children. 7 But all the livestock and the plunder from their cities we carried off for ourselves.


8 So at that time we took from these two kings of the Amorites the territory east of the Jordan, from the Arnon Gorge as far as Mount Hermon. 9 (Hermon is called Sirion by the Sidonians; the Amorites call it Senir.) 10 We took all the towns on the plateau, and all Gilead, and all Bashan as far as Salekah and Edrei, towns of Og’s kingdom in Bashan. 11 (Og king of Bashan was the last of the Rephaites. His bed was decorated with iron and was more than nine cubits long and four cubits wide.[c] It is still in Rabbah of the Ammonites.)


Here, in this passage, you will remember from Numbers, of which this passage is a recap, that the Israelites faced a big problem when it came to battle King Og. His army was well-trained and all of the major cities were well fortified. The Israelites hardly stood a chance. But they won because God fought for them. God can help His people regardless of the problems they face. No matter how insurmountable the obstacles may seem, we must remember that God is sovereign and He will protect those who earnestly seek after Him. We can place our hope and confidence in Him to protect us and keep us safe even in the worst of the storms of life. We must cling to the hope that He provides us. God is the creator of the universe. Let us remember that. He is greater than any created thing. He is therefore greater than any problem that we face.


When you are in a conflict that is forced upon you, when you are having to stand up against the tide, when you are in a fight and you wish you were not in it, and you are afraid, and you feel all alone, remember that God is with us. He is our Emmanuel. He will never forsake us. Often, it is in the storms of life that we learn how to truly love the Lord. The storms teach us that we are insufficient to go up against what we are facing but that He is. It teaches us to be thankful for His sovereignty over us and over all creation. Trust in the Lord in the storm. He will deliver you just as He has delivered me on countless occasions. I love the Lord because He has seen me through many a storm and has set me safely on the shore each time.  Without fail. It makes me trust Him more and more with each storm. Trust in Him.


Amen and Amen.

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