Deuteronomy 7 – Commands to Conquer and Obey
A. The Conquest of the Canaanites is commanded.
1. (1-5) The command to completely destroy the Canaanites and their culture.
When the LORD your God brings you into the land which you go to possess, and has cast out many nations before you, 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 you, and when the LORD your God delivers them over to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them. Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son. For they will turn your sons away from following Me, to serve other gods; so the anger of the LORD will be aroused against you and destroy you suddenly. But thus you shall deal with them: you shall destroy their altars, and break down their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images, and burn their carved images with fire.
a. When the LORD your God: Israel wasn’t in the land yet, but Moses still instructed them as if it were a certainty. This was based on the faithful promise of God, but it was also according to His principle of preparation. God prepares us before He brings us into a place.
b. Greater and mightier than you: “Sure,” Moses said, “the Canaanite nations are greater and mightier than you. But they are not greater and mightier than God.” God brought Israel to face a challenge that was impossible in their own strength – but entirely possible in Him.
c. When the LORD your God delivers them over to you: Not “if,” but when. God could be counted on.
d. You shall conquer them and utterly destroy them: Yet, God would not do it all for them. The extent of the work would depend on their faithful response to what God would do.
i. Utterly destroy them… nor show mercy to them: This principle of battle until absolute victory is the key to victory as we take the Promised Land of blessing and peace God has for us in Jesus. We show no mercy to our enemies in the land, but we destroy them utterly. Many of us, truth be told, simply do not want to completely destroy the sins which keep us from God’s Promised Land of blessing and peace – we want to weaken them, and have some control over them, but we do not want to utterly destroy them.
e. Destroy their altars, and break down their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images, and burn their carved images: We are specially to destroy anything which would lead us into a false or foreign worship.
i. This radical, complete destruction was important because of the depraved nature of the worship of the Canaanites, who worshipped male and female gods of sex and who practiced human sacrifice with their own children.
2. (6-8) Conquer them completely because the LORD loves you.
For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; but because the LORD loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
a. For you are a holy people to the LORD your God: Israel was holy in their standing before God before they were holy in their conduct. They were set apart unto God by His choosing (God has chosen you to be a people for Himself) and were then called to live as chosen people.
b. The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number: As much as anything, their election meant the LORD set His love on them. Their motivation for such a total obedience was to be that they knew God loved them.
i. This is the great motivation for obedience: knowing and walking in the love of God. When we really believe God loves us, and live with that belief as a conscious fact, we find it so much easier to obey – and to utterly destroy anything that would damage that relationship of love.
3. (9-11) Conquer them completely because you serve a God of justice.
Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments; and He repays those who hate Him to their face, to destroy them. He will not be slack with him who hates Him; He will repay him to his face. Therefore you shall keep the commandment, the statutes, and the judgments which I command you today, to observe them.
a. He repays those who hate Him to their face: Over many generations the Canaanites had demonstrated their hatred for God, Now, using Israel as His instrument, God will repay them with judgment.
B. Blessing on an obedient Israel.
1. (12-16) Abundant blessings for obedience.
Then it shall come to pass, because you listen to these judgments, and keep and do them, that the LORD your God will keep with you the covenant and the mercy which He swore to your fathers. And He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your land, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flock, in the land of which He swore to your fathers to give you. You shall be blessed above all peoples; there shall not be a male or female barren among you or among your livestock. And the LORD will take away from you all sickness, and will afflict you with none of the terrible diseases of Egypt which you have known, but will lay them on all those who hate you. And you shall destroy all the peoples whom the LORD your God delivers over to you; your eye shall have no pity on them; nor shall you serve their gods, for that will be a snare to you.
2. (17-24) Have confidence in God’s strength.
If you should say in your heart, “These nations are greater than I; how can I dispossess them?”— you shall not be afraid of them, but you shall remember well what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt: the great trials which your eyes saw, the signs and 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. Moreover the LORD your God will send the hornet among them until those who are left, who hide themselves from you, are destroyed. You shall not be terrified of them; for the LORD your God, the great and awesome God, is among you. And the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you little by little; you will be unable to destroy them at once, lest the beasts of the field become too numerous for you. But the LORD your God will deliver them over to you, and will inflict defeat upon them until they are destroyed. And He will deliver their kings into your hand, and you will destroy their name from under heaven; no one shall be able to stand against you until you have destroyed them.
a. You shall not be afraid of them, but you shall remember well what the LORD your God did: Their recollection of God’s faithfulness in the past would give them hope for their current struggle.
b. You will be unable to destroy them at once: God would go before Israel and fight for them (the great and awesome God, is among you) but He would not drive all the enemies out at once. Perhaps Israel wanted the land all cleared out before them, but God knew it was not best for the land or for them.
c. Lest the beast of the field become too numerous for you: The way easiest for Israel was for God to clear all Israel’s enemies out at once. But this easy way had consequences Israel could not see or appreciate.
d. Little by little: Sometimes to our frustration, this is the way God often works in our life. He clears things away little by little even though we might prefer it all at once. But God wanted Israel to grow spiritually in the process of taking the Promised Land.
i. Doing it all at once might seem easier and better to us but will have consequences we cannot see or appreciate. God cares that we grow, and so He grows us little by little.
3. (25-26) Do not share in their abominations.
You shall burn the carved images of their gods with fire; you shall not covet the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it for yourselves, lest you be snared by it; for it is an abomination to the LORD your God. Nor shall you bring an abomination into your house, lest you be doomed to destruction like it. You shall utterly detest it and utterly abhor it, for it is an accursed thing.
©2018 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission