Deuteronomy 7-13

“When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are about to enter and occupy, he will clear away many nations ahead of you: the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. These seven nations are greater and more numerous than you. When the Lord your God hands these nations over to you and you conquer them, you must completely destroy them. Make no treaties with them and show them no mercy. You must not intermarry with them. Do not let your daughters and sons marry their sons and daughters, for they will lead your children away from me to worship other gods. Then the anger of the Lord will burn against you, and he will quickly destroy you. This is what you must do. You must break down their pagan altars and shatter their sacred pillars. Cut down their Asherah poles and burn their idols. For you are a holy people, who belong to the Lord your God. Of all the people on earth, the Lord your God has chosen you to be his own special treasure.

“The Lord did not set his heart on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other nations, for you were the smallest of all nations! Rather, it was simply that the Lord loves you, and he was keeping the oath he had sworn to your ancestors. That is why the Lord rescued you with such a strong hand from your slavery and from the oppressive hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands. 10 But he does not hesitate to punish and destroy those who reject him. 11 Therefore, you must obey all these commands, decrees, and regulations I am giving you today.

12 “If you listen to these regulations and faithfully obey them, the Lord your God will keep his covenant of unfailing love with you, as he promised with an oath to your ancestors. 13 He will love you and bless you, and he will give you many children. He will give fertility to your land and your animals. When you arrive in the land he swore to give your ancestors, you will have large harvests of grain, new wine, and olive oil, and great herds of cattle, sheep, and goats. 14 You will be blessed above all the nations of the earth. None of your men or women will be childless, and all your livestock will bear young. 15 And the Lord will protect you from all sickness. He will not let you suffer from the terrible diseases you knew in Egypt, but he will inflict them on all your enemies!

16 “You must destroy all the nations the Lord your God hands over to you. Show them no mercy, and do not worship their gods, or they will trap you.

The Ban

  • God did promise this land to the Israelites, but he wasn’t playing favorites by wiping out the people already living there. He was using the Israelites as an instrument for his judgment.
    • Gen 15:16 – “After four generations your descendants will return here to this land, for the sins of the Amorites do not yet warrant their destruction.”
  • So then the next question is, “Is God’s judgment valid?”
    • He is perfectly just – he alone can tell who and what is right or wrong
    • He is patient and does not enjoy judging – Ex 34:6-7 – Yahweh!The Lord!
          The God of compassion and mercy!
      I am slow to anger
          and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.
      I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations.
          I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin.
      But I do not excuse the guilty.

      • He forgave other nations who repented (Jonah 3:4-10)
    • Towns who knew of the concentration camps during the Holocaust – hard to go in and render justice in those cases because it was so widespread and confusing. But here, God knew exactly what was going on, and knew he was not going to wait any longer.
  • This was surgery on gangrenous flesh. God knew these people were never going to turn to him, and would get more and more depraved. And they were already pretty bad:
    • Lev 18 – incest, bestiality, and child sacrifice
    • 12:31 – 31 You must not worship theLord your God the way the other nations worship their gods, for they perform for their gods every detestable act that the Lord  They even burn their sons and daughters as sacrifices to their gods.
      • Archeological confirmation of these things
    • This was limited only to the groups of people who refused to turn to God during this one limited period.
    • And, it was to protect his people from getting too messed up by unspiritual influences because he knew they were too weak to withstand temptation.
      • 25 “You must burn their idols in fire, and you must not covet the silver or gold that covers them. You must not take it or it will become a trap to you, for it is detestable to theLord your God. 26 Do not bring any detestable objects into your home, for then you will be destroyed, just like them. You must utterly detest such things, for they are set apart for destruction.
      • Today, Christians would never be called to anything remotely like this because we have the HS, so we can totally live right alongside the rest of the world.

 

18 But don’t be afraid of them! 21 “No, do not be afraid of those nations, for the Lord your God is among you, and he is a great and awesome God.

“Be careful to obey all the commands I am giving you today. Then you will live and multiply, and you will enter and occupy the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors. Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands. Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. For all these forty years your clothes didn’t wear out, and your feet didn’t blister or swell. Think about it: Just as a parent disciplines a child, the Lord your God disciplines you for your own good.

“So obey the commands of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and fearing him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land of flowing streams and pools of water, with fountains and springs that gush out in the valleys and hills. It is a land of wheat and barley; of grapevines, fig trees, and pomegranates; of olive oil and honey. It is a land where food is plentiful and nothing is lacking. It is a land where iron is as common as stone, and copper is abundant in the hills. 10 When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.

11 “But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today. 12 For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, 13 and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, be careful! 14 Do not become proud at that time and forget the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt. 15 Do not forget that he led you through the great and terrifying wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, where it was so hot and dry. He gave you water from the rock! 16 He fed you with manna in the wilderness, a food unknown to your ancestors. He did this to humble you and test you for your own good. 17 He did all this so you would never say to yourself, ‘I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.’ 18 Remember the Lord your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath.

The Israelites were in danger not during the tough times of wandering in the wilderness, or during the conquest when they would have be to really tough in battle. Their real testing would come during times of prosperity.

  • How does this passage teach us that times of spiritual ease might be more dangerous than times of suffering?
  • What are some ways to not let prosperity make us forget God?
    • Hosea 13:6 – “But when you had eaten and were satisfied, you became proud and forgot me.”
    • Prov 30:8-9 – “Give me neither poverty nor riches. Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, ‘Who is Yahweh? And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.”

 

“Listen, O Israel! Today you are about to cross the Jordan River to take over the land belonging to nations much greater and more powerful than you. They live in cities with walls that reach to the sky! The people are strong and tall—descendants of the famous Anakite giants. You’ve heard the saying, ‘Who can stand up to the Anakites?’ But recognize today that the Lord your God is the one who 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 in your hearts, ‘The Lord has given us this land because we are such good people!’ No, it is because of the wickedness of the other nations that he is pushing them out of your way.It is not because you are so good or have such integrity 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 swore to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. You must recognize that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land because you are good, for you are not—you are a stubborn people.

Another very real danger is self-righteousness – thinking they were better than others and deserved God’s blessing.

  • What are some other symptoms of self-righteousness?
  • Why might it be so dangerous to our relationship with God?

Remembering the Gold Calf

“Remember and never forget how angry you made the Lord your God out in the wilderness. From the day you left Egypt until now, you have been constantly rebelling against him. Even at Mount Sinai you made the Lord so angry he was ready to destroy you. This happened when I was on the mountain receiving the tablets of stone inscribed with the words of the covenant that the Lord had made with you. I was there for forty days and forty nights, and all that time I ate no food and drank no water. 10 The Lord gave me the two tablets on which God had written with his own finger all the words he had spoken to you from the heart of the fire when you were assembled at the mountain.

11 “At the end of the forty days and nights, the Lord handed me the two stone tablets inscribed with the words of the covenant. 12 Then the Lord said to me, ‘Get up! Go down immediately, for the people you brought out of Egypt have corrupted themselves. How quickly they have turned away from the way I commanded them to live! They have melted gold and made an idol for themselves!’

13 “The Lord also said to me, ‘I have seen how stubborn and rebellious these people are. 14 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.’

15 “So while the mountain was blazing with fire I turned and came down, holding in my hands the two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant. 16 There below me I could see that you had sinned against the Lord your God. You had melted gold and made a calf idol for yourselves. How quickly you had turned away from the path the Lord had commanded you to follow! 17 So I took the stone tablets and threw them to the ground, smashing them before your eyes.

18 “Then, as before, I threw myself down before the Lord for forty days and nights. I ate no bread and drank no water because of the great sin you had committed by doing what the Lord hated, provoking him to anger. 19 I feared that the furious anger of the Lord, which turned him against you, would drive him to destroy you. But again he listened to me. 20 The Lord was so angry with Aaron that he wanted to destroy him, too. But I prayed for Aaron, and the Lord spared him. 21 I took your sin—the calf you had made—and I melted it down in the fire and ground it into fine dust. Then I threw the dust into the stream that flows down the mountain.

22 “You also made the Lord angry at Taberah, Massah, and Kibroth-hattaavah.23 And at Kadesh-barnea the Lord sent you out with this command: ‘Go up and take over the land I have given you.’ But you rebelled against the command of the Lord your God and refused to put your trust in him or obey him. 24 Yes, you have been rebelling against the Lord as long as I have known you.

So the Lord is reminding them of how little they deserved his blessings – they were no better than the people he’s finally judging.

  • What are some differences between remembering how much we’re forgiven for, and beating ourselves up about our past?

10 

A Call to Love and Obedience

12 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? He requires only that you fear the Lord your God, and live in a way that pleases him, and love him and serve him with all your heart and soul. 13 And you must always obey the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good.

God’s only requirement: love him, serve him with your entire heart and soul, live in a way that pleases him. Well, that’s too bad, because even today I can think of several different ways off the top of my head where I didn’t do that, and if I thought longer I could come up with even more.

Another option is available: put your faith in Christ.

  • When the people went to Jesus they asked, “What does God require of us?” And Jesus answered, “That you believe in the one whom he has sent.”
    • Well, praise God, I can do that. I can put my trust in Jesus. I can believe in the provisions that he made for my sin by sending His Son.
  • And then, because I receive the HS, God actually gives me the ability to fulfill that divine requirement thru His power. He is the one who gives me the ability to love him with all my heart. He gives me a new heart!

11 The Blessings of Obedience – We’ll get more into the blessings in a few weeks

22 “Be careful to obey all these commands I am giving you. Show love to the Lord your God by walking in his ways and holding tightly to him.

12 “Your pattern of worship will change. Today all of you are doing as you please,because you have not yet arrived at the place of rest, the land the Lord your God is giving you as your special possession.

13 Be careful not to sacrifice your burnt offerings just anywhere you like. 14 You may do so only at the place the Lord will choose within one of your tribal territories. There you must offer your burnt offerings and do everything I command you.

13 “Suppose there are prophets among you or those who dream dreams about the future, and they promise you signs or miracles, and the predicted signs or miracles occur. If they then say, ‘Come, let us worship other gods’—gods you have not known before— do not listen to them. The Lord your God is testing you to see if you truly love him with all your heart and soul.

“Suppose someone secretly entices you—even your brother, your son or daughter, your beloved wife, or your closest friend—and says, ‘Let us go worship other gods’—gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known.They might suggest that you worship the gods of peoples who live nearby or who come from the ends of the earth. But do not give in or listen.

Conclusions:

11: 22 “Be careful to obey all these commands I am giving you. Show love to the Lord your God by walking in his ways and holding tightly to him. “

There are many things waiting to distract us, pull us away from God. But if he is who he says he is, then he is worth any sacrifice.

 

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