Deut. 7:1 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;
Deut. 7:2 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:
Again, it stands out to me that the Lord says “when” I bring you into the land and deliver these mighty nations into your hands. In God’s mind the deed was as good as done. Seven mighty nations are going to be displaced by the Hebrew children as they take possession of the land that will become Israel. I remember in my study of Genesis 15 that the Lord was allowing the sin of these nations to reach such fullness that His longsuffering was pointless because they had reached the point of no return.
Moses stresses the point that they are to “utterly destroy” these nations and show no mercy. If they were obedient in that regard, it is obvious that they could not enter into covenant with them. The future would prove, however, that these were not empty words. In Joshua 9 we learn how they are tricked by the people of Gibeon, a Hivite city, to enter into a promise of living in peace with them.
Chuck Smith gives a good illustration of this principle. Suppose you see an obviously rabid dog with a foaming mouth approaching the school playground. Doesn’t the danger to the children justify killing the dog?
Deut. 7:3 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.
Deut. 7:4 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.
Moses goes on to forbid them from intermarriage with people from other nations. Why? Because these relationships would prove to lead the people into rebellion against the LORD and invoke His anger and judgment. Again, this instruction is intended to protect them.
Remember, these heathen nations had been given much time to turn from their wicked ways. They totally rejected God; their eternal condemnation was certain. In effect, they were as good as dead already. God’s people, on the other hand, had the opportunity to embrace a future filled with the blessings of God. To have them destroy “dead” people was not wicked and unfair; it was an instruction with the intent of preserving life.
Deut. 7:5 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.
Not only were the people to destroy the people they conquered, they were to destroy the altars to their false gods, their idols and their places of heathen worship. They were specifically told to burn their idols with fire. This was interesting to me because of the connection to the lake of fire that He has prepared for the judgment of those not found written in the book of life.
Revelation 20:15 “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
It also brought to mind the verses in Isaiah that speak of the foolishness of worshiping idols made from the same wood that is used to make a fire for cooking and to provide warmth.
Isaiah 44:14-17 He heweth him down cedars, and taketh the cypress and the oak, which he strengtheneth for himself among the trees of the forest: he planteth an ash, and the rain doth nourish it. Then shall it be for a man to burn: for he will take thereof, and warm himself; yea, he kindleth it, and baketh bread; yea, he maketh a god, and worshippeth it; he maketh it a graven image, and falleth down thereto. He burneth part thereof in the fire; with part thereof he eateth flesh; he roasteth roast, and is satisfied: yea, he warmeth himself, and saith, Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire: And the residue thereof he maketh a god, even his graven image: he falleth down unto it, and worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou art my god.”
Deut. 7:6 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.
YHWH had chosen the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to be distinct among the other people on earth. They were appointed to be clean and undefiled through obedience to God. The reference to special in Hebrew identifies the Jewish people as God’s “peculiar treasure” among all other people on earth.
I couldn’t help but think of the verse in 1Peter that describes believers that make up the true church with that same word.
1Peter 2:9 “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light….”
Just as Peter explained it to the believers of his day, the Jews were to “show forth the praises” of the God who had blessed them with such a privileged position.
Deut. 7:7 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:
Deut. 7:8 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.
The Lord knows how we think, so He has Moses answer the question that truth raised in the minds of many. Why would He choose us? It certainly wasn’t because they were many and mighty; they weren’t. They were the smallest in number among the nations. They were chosen simply because YHWH loved them and had made an unconditional promise to their forefathers (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob). Again, Moses reiterates that this is the same God that delivered them from slavery under the oppression of the powerful Egyptians.
This reminder emphasizes the greatness of their God. He initiated His promise with Abraham over 400 years earlier. It is this same God that is instructing them and empowering them now.
Deut. 7:9 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;
Deut. 7:10 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.
These verses emphasize what I just said in the previous paragraph. YHWH, the God of Israel, is THE God; He is faithful to keep His promises and show mercy to those who love and obey Him. But there is another side of this coin. He is just as sure to judge with destruction those that hate Him or position themselves as His enemy. This brings to mind the scripture that describes His word as a sword that cuts both ways.
Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword….”
I think the expression “to a thousand generations” is probably a figurative expression picturing the surety of this truth.
Deut. 7:11 Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them.
Deut. 7:12 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:
“therefore” – Based on how you have just been instructed….
Again, Moses boldly commands the people to obey God and DO what He says. Verse 12 distinguishes God’s covenant with the people through Moses and His covenant through Abraham. His promises through Moses were dependent upon their keeping covenant with the LORD, as was His willingness to show mercy. “If” may be a small word, but it identifies the determining factor for great blessing or terrible judgment.
Deut. 7:13 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.
Deut. 7:14 Thou shalt be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle.
Deut. 7:15 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.
Deut. 7:16 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.
These verses begin identifying specific blessings that will be theirs “if” they will keep covenant with God by obeying Him. These blessings would identify them as the most blessed people on earth.
This is a pretty amazing list. Most of us would consider that we were living in heaven on earth if this were true of our lives. This just tells me that the lust of the flesh was a very powerful force in their lives. Why would anyone jeopardize such blessings for the temporary “pleasures for a season” offered by the flesh.
Hebrews 11:25 “Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season….”
It also tells me that the deceit of the enemy was very devious and effective. Only the belief that God was lying could account for jeopardizing such blessing.
I believe this all applies to the “church” today. There are many tares growing among the wheat that can’t withstand the lusts of the flesh or the deceit of the enemy because they don’t possess the Holy Spirit. They are play acting in church for whatever reason, but they have no true desire for spiritual blessing.
Deut. 7:17 If thou shalt say in thine heart, These nations are more than I; how can I dispossess them?
Deut. 7:18 Thou shalt not be afraid of them: but shalt well remember what the LORD thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt;
Deut. 7:19 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.
Moses continues to encourage the people. He acknowledges that they might develop doubts in view of the overwhelming power and might of the nations they are to dispossess. If that happens, they are to remind themselves that they have nothing to fear. Why? The LORD is on their side. They should remember what He did to Pharaoh and the armies of Egypt. They are to remember the mighty signs and miracles that YHWH used in delivering them from Egypt. These enemies would be no different. God would empower them to defeat these nations.
I can’t help but be reminded of the old saying: God + me = victory.
Deut. 7:20 Moreover the LORD thy God will send the hornet among them, until they that are left, and hide themselves from thee, be destroyed.
Deut. 7:21 Thou shalt not be affrighted at them: for the LORD thy God is among you, a mighty God and terrible.
Deut. 7:22 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.
Moses goes on to declare that if any of the enemy succeeds in hiding from them as they take the land, the LORD would send a scourge like leprosy (from the Hebrew for hornet) upon them to destroy them. They have absolutely nothing to fear as long as Almighty God is with them. He even assures them that they won’t have to face all their enemies at once. God is going to lead them forth “little by little.” Why? To control the encroachment of the wild animals. I would assume that Israel’s population needed to grow in order to utilize all the land they were possessing. Land left untended would soon be taken over by the wild animals.
Deut. 7:23 But the LORD thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed.
Deut. 7:24 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.
The people were to focus on trusting God and believing His word. He promises them victory as they go up against these powerful kings/kingdoms. Their obedience to God would result in the destruction of their enemies.
Deut. 7:25 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.
Deut. 7:26 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.
Moses again instructs the people to burn the idols to destroy them. They are not to be tempted to salvage the gold or silver that might adorn them. This would be yielding to the lust of the flesh. God hates the idols and all they represent. What God hates, His people should hate. As in previous verses, if the people were obedient to the first instruction, there would be no need for the second—to avoid bringing anything the Lord hates into their house (either idol or the gold/silver adorning it). To disobey God in this regard is to curse yourself.
What God hates, we are to hate. Frankly, this should be a no-brainer for one who has faith in God. Why do we constantly try to compromise with the world and involve ourselves with things God hates? It’s a choice to listen to the lust of the flesh or the deceit of the enemy rather than the voice of the Holy Spirit. It’s a warped sense of love of self over love of God.