Deuteronomy Chapter 7

The children of Israel were to be entering the promised land soon, at this point in the bible. Moses was commanded to teach them in preparation for their living in this land. This is because they were to be a holy people, who stood out among the nations. The instruction continues:

1 When the Lord thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, 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 thou;
2 And when the Lord thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:
3 Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.
4 For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.
5 But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire.
6 For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.
7 The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people:
8 But because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
9 Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;
10 And repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face.
11 Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them.

The Israelites starts off with a little reminder again, that they will gain this land, only by the strength of the Lord, and not on their own strength. The seven nations who lived there at this point, were much greater than the Israelites. But, the Lord would provide the way for them, and those other nations would be destroyed. As part of this act to gain the promised land, Moses teaches them that they must not make any deals, agreements, promises or likewise, with those people among the other nations they would conquer. They were not to give mercy to the people, because mercy was only the Lord’s to give at this point. The nations who inhabited the promised land at this time, were not righteous people, but were wicked and far from the Lord. If they allowed the wicked to live in the land, the temptation to turn from the Lord, would be too great for them to resist. There is no commandment for us today, to separate ourselves from those who have different faiths. We are mostly caused to live in the world, and yet, find the strength to not live of the world. This can be really difficult. We cannot stand to invite temptation into our lives, so we ourselves, must live worthy of the guidance of the spirit in order to avoid allowing things to creep in.

The people were commanded that they should not marry anyone from the other nations, because their children would be drawn away from the Lord and serve the false gods of those other nations. If they went against this law and their children were to fall away, sudden destruction was promised to them. Instead, when they took over the land, they were commanded to destroy all the altars, idols, and anything else designed to worship other gods. They were only to worship the Lord, and leave nothing remaining that would draw them away. This strict law was necessary in order to preserve the righteousness of the people as a whole. The Lord knew the hearts of the Israelites and how quickly they would forget Him, if they allowed apostasy to creep into their land. Today it is very common to marry another of a different faith. I know from my own personal experience, that there is great strength to be found in dating and marrying someone who believes in the same God. I don’t think less of those who marry outside their faith, but personally, I know now that I could not live happily without the amazing blessings that have come from choosing someone who has the same beliefs as I do.

The Lord would set the nation of Israel above all other nations, because the Lord loves those who follow Him. The Israelites would be the blessed nation, because of the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. These promises would be theirs, if they chose to keep the laws of the Lord as Moses commanded. The Israelites were a blessed and chosen nation, separated from others and shown great miracles and wonders, but they eventually fell away into apostasy. However, these promises are available to all of God’s children, even though we are not physically separated from others. We can be a blessed people today, if we love the Lord and keep his commandments.

12 Wherefore it shall come to pass, if ye hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that the Lord thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy which he sware unto thy fathers:
13 And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee.
14 Thou shalt be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle.

I cannot imagine what this blessing would be like. They were promised that they would multiply, their children would be blessed, and that their crops of grain, food, drink, and flocks would all be blessed. They were also promised, that if they would be obedient to the law, none would be barren. This would mean that their smaller and weaker nation, would become incredibly strong and great as a result.

15 And the Lord will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them upon all them that hate thee.
16 And thou shalt consume all the people which the Lord thy God shall deliver thee; thine eye shall have no pity upon them: neither shalt thou serve their gods; for that will be a snare unto thee.
17 If thou shalt say in thine heart, These nations are more than I; how can I dispossess them?
18 Thou shalt not be afraid of them: but shalt well remember what the Lord thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt;
19 The great temptations which thine eyes saw, and the signs, and the wonders, and the mighty hand, and the stretched out arm, whereby the Lord thy God brought thee out: so shall the Lord thy God do unto all the people of whom thou art afraid.
20 Moreover the Lord thy God will send the hornet among them, until they that are left, and hide themselves from thee, be destroyed.

The Lord promised to remove sickness from the Israelites and give it to them who stood against them. Knowing that the other nations would only bring temptation and sin among them, they were to show no pity when the Lord delivered them into their hands. They needed to remember continually, that the Lord would be their strength, and provide miracles for them as He had in Egypt. If the were obedient, the Lord would bring about the destruction of all of their enemies in the land.

21 Thou shalt not be affrighted at them: for the Lord thy God is among you, a mighty God and terrible.
22 And the Lord thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee.
23 But the Lord thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed.
24 And he shall deliver their kings into thine hand, and thou shalt destroy their name from under heaven: there shall no man be able to stand before thee, until thou have destroyed them.
25 The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the Lord thy God.
26 Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing.

The nations would be delivered by the Lord, a little at a time, and not all at once. This was the wisdom of the Lord. Otherwise, the task would be too great for them. The Israelites needed to practice patience and see that the Lord would provide the way. When they destroyed the people, they were reminded again to destroy those things that would bring their own destruction if allowed to remain among them. These words to the people of Israel were not knew. These are the promises and conditions, which the Lord gave the people before they began their wandering 40 years earlier, when the elders of the Israelites were young. I think these words are being repeated, so that they might remember them with greater strength.

The Israelites had not always shown that they were willing to put their trust in the Lord. In fact, that is what earned them the many years of wandering and the loss of their parents. They were about to enter lands where greater people lived and would be willing to put up a great fight. The people needed their faith to be fortified before they entered, so that they would not falter and turn away from the true source of their strength. If they trusted in the Lord, He would provide the way, and in some cases the Israelites would not even have to put up a fight. The scriptures are filled with passages which teach us that the Lord will give strength and blessings to those who love Him, trust Him, and follow His commandments. These promises are not dead, but remain true for us today. Our own personal enemies, temptations, trials, and sorrows, will not have the power to destroy us, if we will remain faithful and obedient to the Lord. I know this is true, because I have felt his strength in my life. I am so grateful for this promise and for the knowledge that the Lord is the one, true God, with power to overcome all things.

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