Deuteronomy 7 (NLT) “When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are about to enter and occupy, he will clear away many nations ahead of you: the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. These seven nations are greater and more numerous than you. When the LORD your God hands these nations over to you and you conquer them, you must completely destroy them. Make no treaties with them and show them no mercy. You must not intermarry with them… For you are a holy people, who belong to the LORD your God. Of all the people on earth, the LORD your God has chosen you to be his own special treasure. “The LORD did not set his heart on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other nations, for you were the smallest of all nations! Rather, it was simply that the LORD loves you, and he was keeping the oath he had sworn to your ancestors… He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands. But he does not hesitate to punish and destroy those who reject him. Therefore, you must obey all these commands, decrees, and regulations I am giving you today… Perhaps you will think to yourselves, ‘How can we ever conquer these nations that are so much more powerful than we are?’ But don’t be afraid of them! Just remember what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all the land of Egypt. Remember the great terrors the LORD your God sent against them… “No, do not be afraid of those nations, for the LORD your God is among you, and he is a great and awesome God. The LORD your God will drive those nations out ahead of you little by little. You will not clear them away all at once, otherwise the wild animals would multiply too quickly for you. But the LORD your God will hand them over to you. He will throw them into complete confusion until they are destroyed. He will put their kings in your power, and you will erase their names from the face of the earth. No one will be able to stand against you, and you will destroy them all.
Death and destruction seem to be a big part of God's instructions to His chosen people. How is that evidence of a loving God and how different are we from any other religion that terrorizes non-believers?
When Moses gave these instructions to the Israelites, they had not yet entered into the promised land. These instructions were given with such confidence that only one who knew what was to take place or who implicitly trusted what God was about to bring to pass would utter. After forty years of seeing God work miraculously in the lives of the Israelites, Moses spoke as one who trusted God implicitly.
Moses however did also confirm to the Israelites that although they were a small nation in relation to each of the seven tribes who lived in the land they were about to occupy, their confidence should stem from the fact that these nations were nothing before an all-powerful God who was sovereign over all heaven and earth. Logic and reasoning seems out-of-place in this setting and faith and reliance in God was what was called for to carry out what God had set out for them.
Now we deal with the destruction of the 7 nations. Relate this to our own spiritual lives and we will better understand God's instructions. Sin has taken a strong-hold in our lives and when God is working His transformation in us, we need to destroy anything and everything in us that holds us back from a full and complete relationship in Him. We often feel compelled to break sin but we don't want to destroy it totally and that is key to what holds us down from growing spiritually. God's favour rests on us but He desires that we go out and battle against sin in faith as the Israelites were called to do.
If pornography is a problem I face, avoiding it is not going to help because I will easily fall back into the habit when I am weak. The only way to break the bondage of any sin is to destroy it completely and in this instance I would need to destroy all pornographic content I have, sources I get it from, stay away from people and places that fill me with its lusts and motivation and focus my energies on building my spiritual walls against its tantalizing recall. It is a sin far greater than me and my only hope is in Jesus Christ whose death saved from the clutches of sin and through His resurrection I am provided with His living spirit raised Him from the dead.
God's anger towards the seven tribes is between God and them just as God's goodness to those who love and worship Him is exclusive. The benefits or repercussions of either is significant and the question is not if God is justified but rather which side we are on. God created the heavens and the earth and everything in it and has total power to judge as to bless and we are not in a position to question God's authority but rather we have the opportunity to submit to His will and leading.
We have to also remember that sinful habits cannot all be destroyed at once as was explained to the Israelites. God would go before the Israelites and fight for them but He would not drive out all their enemies all at once. This is key to our dependence on God because if God simply handed us a clean slate, we would most easily destroy it with our carnal ways. Therefore with Jesus on our side, we have won the victory over sin but the battles still rage and we are called to don the armour of God and fight the good fight.
God will drive out the sinful habits little by little just as He drove out the enemies of Israel over many, many generations and this is key for us to understand that although we live under an all-powerful Creator God, He choses to work in our lives in a way that will transform us completely and that process is not instant. The purpose is for our betterment and the timing is key to protect us from consequences we would never understand.
I pray today that as you and I battle through the challenges in our lives, we would realize that God is on our side, the final war over sin has been won and that He will lead us to destroy the sins in our lives little by little to make us complete. As Christians, the Holy Spirit in us is what raised Christ from the dead and we need to realize who God has blessed us with to fight the battles in our lives.
In His Loving Service,