The theme of this study is covenant, an idea which lies at the foundation of the gospel proclamation. We’ve seen that there are a number of calls to obedience and to covenant as well as a need to answer the call, but all covenants have conditions that need to be filled. Chapter seven of the book of Deuteronomy looks at those conditions.
Scripture and summary
Seven nations that inhabited the land of Canaan were being divested of their land because of their sin. Leviticus 18, a passage that I refer to as “the indictment of the Canaanites” spells out the numerous sins that they engaged in, the least of which being their sexual immorality and the greatest being the sacrifice of their own children to their various gods. The first obligation set forward in the covenant response of Israel as they claimed their inheritance from the LORD was to eradicate and erase all traces of that idolatry. The Israelites were also forbidden from marrying any of the Canaanites who chose to remain in light of that.
The reasoning for such a command is given here: the Israelites, by God’s act of deliverance was obligated to serve God and his will. The LORD reiterated his loyalty to his promises as their covenant king and that in entering the covenant the Israelites were to return loyalty in kind.
The blessings of the covenant are outlined here. Adherence to the terms of the covenant guaranteed success and prosperity as God would bless them.
Israel was not a great nation, speaking of their population. The most conservative figures for the population of the nation was between 600,000 and 1.5 million. Given the earlier report of the spies in regard to Israel’s previous disobedience that led to their wilderness wandering, its likely that the nations of Canaan had strengthened their position. God was clear, he was fighting the battles and Israel was merely the mop-up detail. God also demonstrates his care by stating that he will limit Israel’s expansion based upon their ability to take and secure the land, stating , “You may not make an end of them at once, lest the wild beasts grow too numerous for you (v.22).”
The gospel promises freedom, but that freedom is only possible within the boundaries of an active, willing relationship.
Our idols are not wood or stone layered with gold, rather we forgo the external manifestation and go right to the ceremony embracing greed, lust, and even murder. We still have our lesser gods its just that we have not provided them a place to reside in externalized realities, rather we have welcomed them into the residence of our heart.
God has promised good to those who are loyal to him, and he has provided a sign of this in reality: first in rescuing the nation of Israel from their harsh bondage in Egypt and, in these last days, by sending his Son to rescue a people for good works. To deny that God has set standards for those who will take his Name and claim it, is to deny the truth of who God is in his holiness.