Deuteronomy Chapter Seven
Have you noticed that the two great lies in Genesis 3 – you can do what you like and nothing will come of it – continue to thunder down the world? The non-Christian world wants to be able to do anything (with no consequences) and wants the Christians (if they are to exist or speak at all) to support this agenda. And we Christians (deep down in our hearts) have the same sinful seeds – to be able to get hold of what we want with no consequences. But Jesus is right – He deserves our devotion and He outweighs any costs.
In Deuteronomy 7 Moses introduces the third ‘facet’ of the covenant ‘diamond’ between God and His people which is the facet of exclusiveness. The people must make the decision to hack down any competitors for God’s affection for not only does He vastly outweigh any rivals but He vastly supplies every need. The beauty of this ‘facet’ is that He chose people with no redeeming features and He then steadfastly provides and protects them out of sheer grace. When we get weary in the Christian life and especially when we feel hard done by, we need a new glimpse of our privileges.
Notice that the Lord would bring His people into the Promised Land by defeating seven nations in the land (perfect opposition) with His own power (7:1). Now He calls on them to get rid of every trace of temptation (7:2ff) as we would call on a doctor to cut out a cancer or a rescued drug addict to flush away all remaining drugs. These verses are confronting verses (and they reappear forcefully in Chapter 20) but the principle is clear – it’s a life and death issue for God’s people. Play games with the dangers of the land and you might as well play with asbestos – to say nothing of dishonouring your gracious and great God. Paul has the same advice in Colossians 3:5 – put the sin to death.
Then come the verses that have thrilled Christians for years (7:7-8) that the Lord didn’t choose His people for their size (or for any human reason) but because of His love. Like the sun in the sky no earthly power or treasure can draw down its rays but it shines down from itself. So, the logic of 7:7-8 is that the Lord loved you (7:7) because He loved you (7:8). There’s the reason. And Moses goes on to say He is “faithful” (7:9) and the love is unstoppable. The reverse of this however is that to “hate” Him (7:10) is dangerous. He will repay. We have only one great thing to fear – the (crazy) desire to leave (or fight) Him.
Deuteronomy 7 then expands on His provision (7:12-16) and His protection (7:17-26). I hope you know that in the Old Testament this provision was very outward and physical – crops and flocks and health. In the New Testament this provision is inward and eternal (vastly superior - Ephesians 1:3). Don’t get this round the wrong way and preach Old Covenant promises to New Covenant people. And notice the huge comfort of 7:17-19 that they were not to fear the future battles because the Lord had already proved Himself in the previous (Egyptian) challenges. Interesting that the success would not all be immediate (7:22) but some battles would be slow. Presumably this would keep them dependent on the Lord.
Heavenly Father, Teach us the truth of Christ that He has loved us (John 15:9) and then help us remain in close fellowship – in His name we ask. Amen.