Deuteronomy chapter 7

The privilege of holiness. Blessings for obedience.

 


 

THE PRIVILEGE OF HOLINESS

 

VERSE 1. When the LORD your God brings you into the land where you go to possess it, and casts out many nations before you—the Hittite, the Girgashite, the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite—seven nations greater and mightier than you;

When. Not “if,” but “when.”

nations greater and mightier than you. The odds are against the Israelites.

 

VERSE 2. and when the LORD your God delivers them up before you, and you strike them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them, nor show mercy to them.

you shall utterly destroy them. This phrase can also be translated as “You shall doom them.”

They will need to stand up for themselves. They will need to be firm in their resolve. They will need to carry it through to completion.

And so do we.

 

VERSE 3. You shall not make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to his son, nor shall you take his daughter for your son.

not make marriages with them. There is to be no peace with the enemy.

Later in the biblical narrative, Samson will violate this verse by marrying a Philistine woman:

Judges 14:1. Samson went down to Timnah, and saw a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines.

 

VERSE 4. For that would turn away your sons from following me, that they may serve other gods. So the LORD’s anger would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly.

turn away your sons. They will be very tempted to join in the religious practices of the people living in the Promised Land.

 

VERSE 5. But you shall deal with them like this: you shall break down their altars, dash their pillars in pieces, cut down their Asherah poles, and burn their engraved images with fire.

They will be very tempted to join in these practices.

They need to get rid of the temptation. They need to destroy all instances of idolatry.

 

VERSE 6. For you are a holy people to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his own possession, above all peoples who are on the face of the earth.

you are a holy people. What does it mean to be “holy”?

On the one hand, holiness is a gift. We cannot achieve it. We cannot earn it. It is given to us.

On the other hand, holiness is the result of a life of discipleship. Sincere devotion.

2 Corinthians 11:3. But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. (NIV translation)

The LORD your God has chosen you. They are quite literally the chosen people.

 

VERSE 7. The LORD didn’t set his love on you nor choose you, because you were more in number than any people; for you were the fewest of all peoples;

you were the fewest of all peoples. The LORD God did not chose them because of a big population.

 

VERSE 8. but because the LORD loves you, and because he desires to keep the oath which he swore to your fathers, the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

because the LORD loves you. The LORD God did not chose them because of any greatness on their part. Rather, he chose them because he loved them.

Likewise, we Christians were called, not because of any worthiness on our part. Rather, God chose us because he loves us.

The Lord Jesus says:

John 15:16a. You didn’t choose me, but I chose you

 

VERSE 9. Know therefore that the LORD your God himself is God, the faithful God, who keeps covenant and loving kindness to a thousand generations with those who love him and keep his commandments,

loving kindness. Many people imagine the LORD God is harsh and capricious. However, to the people in the Pentateuch, he is known by loving kindness.

 

VERSE 10. and repays those who hate him to their face, to destroy them. He will not be slack to him who hates him. He will repay him to his face.

 

VERSE 11. You shall therefore keep the commandments, the statutes, and the ordinances which I command you today, to do them.

keep the commandments. Our response to the commands is to do them. To put them into practice.

However, in our day many Christians say something like this: “The Lord knows what is in my heart.” Yet they do not learn the commandments. Nor do they observe the commandments.

 

BLESSINGS FOR OBEDIENCE

 

VERSE 12. It shall happen, because you listen to these ordinances and keep and do them, that the LORD your God will keep with you the covenant and the loving kindness which he swore to your fathers.

God will keep with you the covenant. To the extent that they obey the commands, then the LORD God will bless them.

 

VERSE 13. He will love you, bless you, and multiply you. He will also bless the fruit of your body and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your livestock and the young of your flock, in the land which he swore to your fathers to give you.

 

VERSE 14. You will be blessed above all peoples. There won’t be male or female barren among you, or among your livestock.

 

VERSE 15. The LORD will take away from you all sickness; and he will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which you know, on you, but will lay them on all those who hate you.

The LORD will take away from you all sickness. Until this point, they were marked by sickness and disease. But now, those maladies will go away.

But now, by the grace of the LORD God, their maladies will leave them and infest their enemies!

Freedom from illness and disease is a gift. It is a grace that God can bestow.

 

VERSE 16. You shall consume all the peoples whom the LORD your God shall deliver to you. Your eye shall not pity them. You shall not serve their gods; for that would be a snare to you.

 

VERSE 17. If you shall say in your heart, “These nations are more than I; how can I dispossess them?”

how can I dispossess them? In the days ahead, they will stand toe-to-toe against powerful enemies. The odds of their victory will be overwhelmingly low.

But despite all appearances, the deck is stacked in their favor. The victory is guaranteed.

They simply need to reassure themselves that the LORD God will give them the victory.

 

VERSE 18. you shall not be afraid of them. You shall remember well what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt:

remember well what the LORD your God did. They needed to remember from the past how the LORD God worked in their lives.

And so do we.

Can you remember from the past any instances where the LORD God worked in your own life?

 

VERSE 19. the great trials which your eyes saw, the signs, 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.

 

VERSE 20. Moreover the LORD your God will send the hornet among them, until those who are left, and hide themselves, perish from before you.

the hornet. What is “the hornet”?

Exodus 23:28. I will send the hornet ahead of you to drive the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites out of your way.

Exodus 33:2. I will send an angel before you; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite.

Deuteronomy 7:20. Moreover the LORD your God will send the hornet among them, until those who are left, and hide themselves, perish from before you.

Based on the above, the hornet is an angel.

 

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

 

VERSE 22. The LORD your God will cast out those nations before you little by little. You may not consume them at once, lest the animals of the field increase on you.

little by little. Their victory over the enemy will not be instant. Rather, it will be a series of small victories, one after another.

 

VERSE 23. But the LORD your God will deliver them up before you, and will confuse them with a great confusion, until they are destroyed.

 

VERSE 24. He will deliver their kings into your hand, and you shall make their name perish from under the sky. No one will be able to stand before you until you have destroyed them.

 

VERSE 25. You shall burn the engraved images of their gods with fire. You shall not covet the silver or the gold that is on them, nor take it for yourself, lest you be snared in it; for it is an abomination to the LORD your God.

 

VERSE 26. You shall not bring an abomination into your house and become a devoted thing like it. You shall utterly detest it. You shall utterly abhor it; for it is a devoted thing.

 


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DEUTERONOMY

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