As Moses continues speaking to the second generation of wandering Israelites, he begins by warning them of compromise. There are several people groups within the Land promised to Abraham, and Moses tells the people that the Lord will “deliver them before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them” (2). He warns of covenants, intermarrying, and the consequences of a failure to destroy objects of pagan worship.
These are hard words for our modern sensibilities. In a culture dominated by tolerance and acceptance, we become critical of what many have called a command for genocide. (A few years ago I partially addressed this in a Jumpstart for Joshua if you want to check it out—https://jumpstartcpc.com/2016/09/30/september-30-2016/). What we fail to understand is that the inhabitants of the Land were guilty of crimes that in our legal system would call for capitol punishment. Not only that, God allowed them to remain in the Land for 400 years since it was originally promised to Abraham. The reason God gave was that the sins of the people had not yet become “complete” (Genesis 15:16). Basically, they had not crossed the threshold of judgment. Additionally, what God did to Egypt had been spreading around the area for 40 years while Israel wandered. Thus, the enemies of God had 440 years to repent (like Rahab), and bow down to Israel’s God. They did not.
Israel was primed to take the Land, and become a Kingdom of Priests (Exodus 19:6), but first it must be purified. God makes clear, they were not chosen because of their greatness, but because of God’s greatness (6–8).
Fifteen times in chapter 7 we read “The Lord your God will..” or “He will…”. Moses knew the people were nervous. They were heading into a battle. However, the battle wasn’t theirs, it was God’s. The battle they faced was one of righteousness and obedience. Would they follow by faith, or go their own way? Would they “covet the silver and gold (25), or covet a relationship with God?
Like Israel at that time, we have a history of God’s mighty works—the history of the Bible, the history of the Church, our own personal history of life-change. We were not saved because of how great we are. Our salvation isn’t about us. In fact, our salvation should is not only for our benefit, but is intended to benefit the world around us. We too are a kingdom of priests. As it says in 1 Peter 2:9b, “so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
While we do not fight for a physical kingdom, we continue to fight for a spiritual kingdom. Paul wrote, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete” (2 Corinthians 10:3–6)
Our battle is one of righteousness and obedience. So what will you covet today—the things of our land, or a relationship with God?
By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate