-It was not a matter of “if,” but “when” the LORD would bring His people into the land which He swore to their forefathers. They were guaranteed to possess it (Deuteronomy 7:1-2a). When that happened, God was very specific that they totally destroy making no covenant nor showing any favor with their defeated foe. Further, they were not allowed to intermarry with these foreigners. The LORD details why this was so necessary. The potential was certainly there for them to turn their sons away from the faith and serve other gods. This would anger the LORD of heaven and earth, and He would quickly destroy them for their idolatry. Specifically, they were commanded to tear down their altars, smash their sacred pillars of worship, hew down their wooden symbols of a female deity (Asherim), and burn their graven images with fire. “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 out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth (Deuteronomy 7:2b-6).” Then, the LORD even explains why He choose this common group of people who were few in number from among all the people groups in the earth. It was because of His love and His word, His oath, sworn to the forefathers including Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He was fulfilling His good promise to them in this process because He is faithful and true. However, the fact that He repays those who hate Him is again put forth. He will rapidly destroy these who detest His compassion and grace. Therefore, the children of Israel were again warned of the impending doom if they rejected “to do” His commandment, statutes, and judgments (Deuteronomy 7:7-11).
-The promises of God are continued as the chapter moves along. Conditional guarantees are enumerated if they listen to these judgments and keep and do them. God’s love, blessing, and multiplication are listed with some specific applications. In fact, God assures that they will be blessed above and beyond all peoples in their fruit bearing with no sickness like the plagues that destroyed Egypt when He was bringing them out. Actually, with their enemies, the reverse will be true. All who oppose His people will contract the harmful diseases. It will never pay to go against Israel God emphatically says (Deuteronomy 7:12-15).
-The LORD now reiterates that they “consume all the peoples whom the LORD your God will deliver to you; your eye shall not pity them, nor shall you serve their gods, for that would be a snare to you (Deuteronomy 7:16).” God further warns them to not be afraid of them in this venture. They were to “remember well” all that He had done for them in their release from Egypt when He performed incredible miracles in never before seen signs and wonders with His mighty Hand and outstretched Arm. God would even command the hornets to be sent upon their foes in this taking of the land until even those hiding would perish. Therefore, there was to be no dread or fear in their spirit. God was in their midst; they had all they needed for victory and success. He went on to say that “little by little” they would conquer the land by clearing away sections at a time. Why? Interestingly enough, God knew that the ravenous wild beasts would be too much for them if there was a quick conquest of the land. Therefore, it would be a methodical destruction. Also, their enemies would be put into confusion as a tactic by the Almighty. The kings would eventually be delivered into their hands so that they could make their name perish from under heaven; “no man will be able to stand before you until you have destroyed them (Deuteronomy 7:17-24).”
-One last time in this chapter God relates His disdain for graven images of false gods that they would need to destroy with fire. He also curbs their material lust by warning them not to covet the silver or gold of their vanquished. They were not to take any for themselves for it would become a snare to them, just like idols. The material greed was rightly denounced by the LORD as an abomination to Him. They were to utterly detest and abhor anything that came under the ban (Deuteronomy 7:25-26). Unfortunately, Israel had some problems in fulfilling this requirement (Joshua 7).
-*Application* When God gives us a word and action to carry out, He is serious about doing exactly what He says. He lays everything out for us, but it is up to us to fulfill our side of the equation. We often have trouble with this. The follow through is too difficult we think, and we make excuses in not carrying out what we know are clear directives from the LORD. Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey (from John H. Sammis, see http://www.sharefaith.com/guide/Christian-Music/hymns-the-songs-and-the-stories/trust-and-obey-the-song-and-the-story.html).
Verses to Memorize: Deuteronomy 7:2, 6