Deut 7-8, “Don’t Forget!”

Posted: August 29, 2008 in Deuteronomy

Deuteronomy 7 (NKJV)
1 “When the LORD your God brings you into the land which you go to possess, and has cast out many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than you, 2 and when the LORD your God delivers them over to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them.

A. That’s a lot of people to cast out! Were there only 7 nations? 10 were mentioned in Gen 15. Possible that some nations died out or were absorbed into other nations over 400 years time. Whatever the case, the idea is that Israel was to go in & conquer the entire land – whomever was there.
B. Note that these nations are “greater & mightier” than the Hebrews…no doubt. They were established in their fortresses, whereas the Hebrews were a ragtag band that’s been wandering in circles for a few decades. How would they conquer? They wouldn’t; God would. God empowers them for ANY thing that they would be able to do.
__a. It’s the same with us. Where Christians so often get into trouble is when we start thinking we can win battles on our own. “I can take on the devil…” … No you can’t! GOD can take on the devil, and without the filling & empowerment of the Holy Spirit, we’re sitting ducks. But WITH God, everything changes! If God is for us, who can be against us? (Rom 8:31)
C. Utter destruction… This can sound pretty harsh to our delicate ears, but we need to remember two things:
__a. God is God & we’re not. We need to trust God’s mercy, goodness, wisdom, and justice. If these people were going to repent, God would have given them every opportunity (re: Ninevah).
__b. Their evil warranted it. The existing nations were absolutely perverse and reprobate – to the point of infant sacrifices. God’s judgment was absolutely righteous.
D. No covenants: Their one responsibility was to enter the land & administer the judgment God was bringing. The Hebrews didn’t have the right to forge alliances & covenants with the people there. Joshua will get into trouble with this later… (Gibeonites, Joshua 9)
__a. Why? See vs. 3…

3 Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son. 4 For they will turn your sons away from following Me, to serve other gods; so the anger of the LORD will be aroused against you and destroy you suddenly.

A. Mixed marriages were a bad idea for the culture – this isn’t a matter of family disapproval; it’s a matter of idolatry… A little compromise away from the Lord Jesus leads to a little more & a little more, and soon we’ve lost sight of Him all together. [Solomon] 1 Kings 11:3-5 (3) And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. (4) For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David. (5) For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. []
__a. Keep in mind that idolatry against the Lord is like adultery against the Lord. He has chosen us & redeemed us for His own – we belong (literally) to Him. To turn away in idolatry should be abhorrent to us!
__b. Unequally yoked marriages still a bad idea…for the same reason. It causes compromise in the home & conflict with children…
B. What’s the consequence of idolatry? Swift punishment due to the anger of the Lord! We’ll see this cycle repeated many times in Judges. [] God loves us, but He won’t hesitate to discipline us when necessary…

5 But thus you shall deal with them: you shall destroy their altars, and break down their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images, and burn their carved images with fire. 6 “For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth.

A. Best way of dealing with idolatry: get rid of everything! Don’t leave any altars – don’t leave any images – don’t leave ANYthing around that could possibly draw you into idolatry.
__a. This is exactly what Jesus was saying regarding sin – if our eye or hand causes us to sin, get rid of it (Matt 5:29-30). Obviously Christ isn’t calling us to self-mutilation, but to take sin THAT seriously. That we would do whatever is necessary not to fall…
B. Why is this so important? Because God chose Israel for Himself…they were His people that He had bought & redeemed out of Egypt. They didn’t belong to themselves that they could worship other gods; they belonged to the Lord!
__a. God’s chosen you as a Christian…we’ve been redeemed by the blood of Christ (1 Pet 1:19) & we are no longer our own (1 Cor 6:19). 1 Peter 2:9-10 (9) But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (10) who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. [] Glorious!
__b. Likewise, we’re to keep ourselves from idols! Idols are more than golden statues – they’re any false image of God in our mind or item that we worship in place of the one true God… [] For the Christian, idolatry is incredibly illogical. We don’t need to wonder & imagine what God is like – we’ve encountered Him in the person of Jesus Christ! Why would we knowingly put anything in His place?

7 The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; 8 but because the LORD loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

A. Did they do anything to be chosen by God? No. They were chosen for no other reason other than God’s favor & promise… Simply because “the LORD loves you” – what a thought! Incredible to ponder that the Creator God of all the Universe LOVES us… US! … Not b/c of anything we’ve done, but simply because of His favor & promises He’s given through Christ…
B. Does the Bible actually teach that God divinely chooses His people out of His sovereign right? Yes! We love Him because He 1st loved us…(1 John 4:19) But what exactly is wrong with that? (Chuck Smith) “God has every right to choose who He wants to associate with even as you have the right to choose who you want to associate with. Why should I deny God the rights that I want for myself?”
__i. Simply because God chooses us doesn’t absolve us of the responsibility to choose Him back. God desires the whole world to repent (2 Pet 3:9), actually commands us to do so (Acts 17:30), invites us to come to Him (John 7:37), and basically gives us the same charge that Joshua gave the Israelites: Joshua 24:15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” []

9 “Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments; 10 and He repays those who hate Him to their face, to destroy them. He will not be slack with him who hates Him; He will repay him to his face.

A. God is faithful! If you memorize Scripture, add this one to the list. God is faithful – it’s part of His very character. IOW, He cannot not be faithful…it’s simply part of who He is. Whatever God says in His word, we can take to the bank…
B. God is faithful with those who love Him: He’s going to continue to keep His covenant with those who love Him & walk with Him…
__a. “But that’s impossible! There’s no way I can truly keep His commandments.” You’re right, but Jesus did. We are IN Christ – we’ve been clothed with HIS righteousness – thus for Christ’s sake, God shows us unending mercy…
C. God is faithful with those who hate Him: If someone snubs their nose at God, God will allow them. If someone rejects God all their life, God will agree with them face-to-face on Judgment Day.
__a. God is faithful – for good & bad.

11 Therefore you shall keep the commandment, the statutes, and the judgments which I command you today, to observe them. 12 “Then it shall come to pass, because you listen to these judgments, and keep and do them, that the LORD your God will keep with you the covenant and the mercy which He swore to your fathers.

A. Is this salvation by works? No…simply blessing by obedience. Keep in mind the covenant God made with Abraham was unconditional; the covenant He made with Moses was conditional…dependent on how the Hebrews kept the Law. If they obeyed, they would be blessed because God’s way is best – if they didn’t, they’d face the consequences.
__a. So was God just looking to punish them? Of course not – He loved them & chose them (vs 7). But God WAS looking to protect them, and His commandments, statutes, and judgments were the way He did it. If they kept themselves within God’s boundaries, they’d be fine. If not, they’d get hurt.
__b. It’s the same with us – we always seem to be amazed when things work out the way God told us they would…but that should be what we expect! When God tells us to be anxious for nothing & pray about everything (Phil 4:6), we should expect the peace of God that passes understanding b/c that’s what God tells us to expect. But when we live in worry & discontent, trying to handle things on our own, we also shouldn’t be surprised when things fall apart & we end up with ulcers.
__c. Does any of that change the way God loves us? Absolutely not! It only changes the results of our day-to-day experiences.

13 And He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your land, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flock, in the land of which He swore to your fathers to give you. 14 You shall be blessed above all peoples; there shall not be a male or female barren among you or among your livestock. 15 And the LORD will take away from you all sickness, and will afflict you with none of the terrible diseases of Egypt which you have known, but will lay them on all those who hate you.

A. Results of obeying the covenant? Multiplied people, livestock, & fruit… No barrenness… Perfect health… Pretty good incentive! Even knowing that perfection is impossible, one would think that these blessings would be enough to keep Israel seeking the Lord’s face. History sadly shows that it wasn’t.
B. Don’t judge too fast – how easily do we ignore or forget the Lord to engage in some entrapping sin? We have FAR more blessing than Israel could have imagined…we’ve been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Eph 1:3). It’s not enough to seek the blessing; we need to seek Christ! The more we grow in our love for our Savior, the less we’ll desire anything that is not of Him. God (obviously) knows this – that’s why the Great Commandment is all about loving Him. Deuteronomy 6:5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. []

16 Also you shall destroy all the peoples whom the LORD your God delivers over to you; your eye shall have no pity on them; nor shall you serve their gods, for that will be a snare to you.

A. Reiteration about idolatry – this is crucially important to the Hebrews because it will be the cause of numerous downfalls with them.
B. We have GOT to deal with these things in our lives, or they will continue to be snares to us…even a cursory look at the kings of Israel/Judah verify this. Too many times we read of good kings, but “the high places were not removed” & they remained a snare in the heart of the people.

17 “If you should say in your heart, ‘These nations are greater than I; how can I dispossess them?’— 18 you shall not be afraid of them, but you shall remember well what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt: 19 the great trials which your eyes saw, the signs and the wonders, the mighty hand and the outstretched arm, by which the LORD your God brought you out. So shall the LORD your God do to all the peoples of whom you are afraid. 20 Moreover the LORD your God will send the hornet among them until those who are left, who hide themselves from you, are destroyed.

A. What if the temptation is too strong? What if we don’t think we can win the battle? Remember that it’s God who does the winning & His track record that we have faith in. God perfectly defeated the Egyptians (the most powerful army on earth) in order to free His people. God promised to do the fighting for them…even using bees & hornets if necessary! If they could trust Him for their freedom, surely they could trust Him for their inheritance.
__a. Goes back to the idea of memorial stones…[] We need to remember that God is faithful!

21 You shall not be terrified of them; for the LORD your God, the great and awesome God, is among you.

A. He’s not some mythological wimpy God; He’s the “great and awesome God!” There is no God like our God! No other god exists – He alone is the Creator God of the Universe – His power is limitless & His glory is indescribable! THAT’s the God we worship!

22 And the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you little by little; you will be unable to destroy them at once, lest the beasts of the field become too numerous for you. 23 But the LORD your God will deliver them over to you, and will inflict defeat upon them until they are destroyed. 24 And He will deliver their kings into your hand, and you will destroy their name from under heaven; no one shall be able to stand against you until you have destroyed them.

A. Gotta love that. As cool as it might have been to see a “shock & awe” campaign where the entire land got obliterated for the Israelites to move right in, God had a definite plan in mind. They’d do a little at a time, in order that they’d be able to properly inhabit it along the way… [] God’s ways are best!
B. Never doubt along the way – God WILL deliver them…all the Hebrews need to do is to trust God & God will do the rest. None shall stand against them because none can stand against the Lord God!
__a. We have a cunning enemy that seeks to kill & destroy us. More powerful than any of the kings the Israelites faced, our adversary roams about like a lion seeking whom he may devour. But we don’t need to be afraid! God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear. We are in Christ & as we stand firm on His word with the armor of God (Eph 6:13), we will see God gain the victory. It’s HIS work & HIS power all for HIS glory.

25 You shall burn the carved images of their gods with fire; you shall not covet the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it for yourselves, lest you be snared by it; for it is an abomination to the LORD your God. 26 Nor shall you bring an abomination into your house, lest you be doomed to destruction like it. You shall utterly detest it and utterly abhor it, for it is an accursed thing.

A. Keep this in mind for Joshua Ch 7 with Ai… [Achan]

Deuteronomy 8 (NKJV)
1 “Every commandment which I command you today you must be careful to observe, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers. 2 And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. 3 So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.

A. Question: who’s fault was it that the Hebrews wandered for 40 years? The Hebrews. BUT – did God have a plan on how to use it? Absolutely! God’s ways are definitely not our ways & praise the Lord for it! To think that He can (and does) even use the consequences of our sin for His glory is incredible. Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. [] Which things can be used by God? ALL things!
B. What was the plan? Humility… When we’re living for ourselves, we’re living in pride – which was not only the downfall of Satan, but ours as well (Prov 16:18). What does humility do? Take us back to the promises of God, which takes us back to God Himself…it makes us utterly dependent upon Him & that’s a great place to be!
__a. [Jesus’ temptation] Did Jesus need bread? Yes! He’d been fasting for 40 days…you bet He was hungry & needed to eat! But He needed to depend on & worship God more. He understood what was more necessary…

4 Your garments did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years.

A. That’s a miracle we don’t often talk about, but talk about practicality! We buy our kids new clothes every few months depending how rough they play – but for 40 years no garments wore out. Not even their feet were sore…despite wandering on foot for 4 decades!

5 You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the LORD your God chastens you. 6 “Therefore you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him.

A. God’s chastening is an indication of His love for us as children…(Heb 12:6) This is a warning, to be sure – but God’s basically telling them again “I love you! In fact, I love you enough to give you what you need when you need it.”
B. But because He DOES chasten, it’s a good motivation for us to try to obey Him…
__a. What happens when (not if) we fail to obey? Confess & repent & fall into the grace of Christ Jesus!

7 For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; 8 a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; 9 a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper. 10 When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you.

A. This is a good land! Lots of water – lots of agriculture…even today fruits & vegetables are among its leading exports. Iron ore & copper ore have also been found south of the Dead Sea…God’s word is 100% accurate!
B. The proper response to the blessing? To bless God in return! Whatever it is that God has given us, we are to use it to glorify & bless & the Lord. Whether through tithes & offerings or through service or in worship or even at daily meals – whatever we have was given us by God. Thus we give Him thanks & praise! He deserves it!

11 “Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, 12 lest—when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; 13 and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; 14 when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; 15 who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water; who brought water for you out of the flinty rock; 16 who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end— 17 then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’

A. This is what happens if they forget about the Lord…despite the history God had with them…and of course historically they did forget. God miraculously freed them from Egypt – miraculously provided for them through the wilderness – and miraculously gave them ready-built houses & vineyards to dwell in. And still they turned away.
__i. The heart of man is incredibly fickle! Why is it so important to feed on every word of God? It helps keep our priorities in perspective. When we seek after stuff, we think we deserve that stuff…and we forget Who provided it for us. Instead, we seek after God & His righteousness, and everything else will be added in His time & His way.

18 “And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

A. God didn’t merely give them the wealth of the land; He gave them the power to get wealth at all! James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. []
B. Again, in regards to Israel, this was to establish His covenant… God is faithful!

19 Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the LORD your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish. 20 As the nations which the LORD destroys before you, so you shall perish, because you would not be obedient to the voice of the LORD your God.

A. Forgetting the Lord leads to destruction…always. This isn’t a threat; it’s a promise. How many marriages start off in the Lord only to neglect prayer, the word, and regular fellowship – and then end up in crisis mode? The more the Hebrews isolated themselves from God, the more they removed themselves from His blessing and protection.
B. We’re in a new covenant – but the principles ring true today. If we leave the Lord Jesus to go running after false gods (whatever they may be), we will surely find ourselves reaping the consequences of what we’re sowing. The good news is that in Christ, there is always an opportunity for repentance & confession – leave whatever it is at the foot of the cross, be reminded of His forgiveness & grace & start anew!

Conclusion:
Over & over again, the exhortation is clear: God is abundantly faithful! He promised to deliver the Israelites into the land & He’s going to do exactly that. BUT. They must seek Him & obey His word.

So often people seek the blessings of God without bothering to find out what He says. They want the benefit, but they never seek God Himself. That’s not what God wants at all! He’ll let His blessings fall on whomever He wishes (the rain falls on the just & unjust) – but He wants a people who will worship Him. THAT’s the reason He redeemed us – for His own glory! Let God provide the blessings in His time & His way (it’s always better that way) – we’ve already been blessed beyond measure in Christ Jesus anyway! God already sought after us (Jesus came to seek & save the lost); now that we’re found in Him, let us be about seeking Him day by day.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s