Deuteronomy 7-9

Sunday Evening Bible Study

August 5, 2001


The name Deuteronomy means “second law”.

It is Moses’ final address to the people. It covers the last 1 ½ months of Moses’ life. He’s 120 years old. He can still see and hear very well.

He’s rehearsing the work of God in Israel’s past history, and giving them a review of God’s law before they cross into the Promised Land.  It’s all about getting into the Promised Land.

Deuteronomy 7

:2 utterly destroy them

This sounds incredibly cruel, until you begin to understand who these people were. God was going to use the Israelites as a form of judgment on these people for their cruel practices.

Studies of their religion, literature, and archeological remains reveal that they were the most morally depraved culture on the earth at that time. (BKC)

:5  break down their images, and cut down their groves

images … groves – better, “pillars … Asherim”. The pillars were possibly male fertility symbols associated with the worship of Baal. The “groves”, were pornographic statues of the goddess Asherah.

God doesn’t want you to allow any kind of the world’s influence over you.

:6 For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God


Don’t be unequally yoked

Paul wrote to the Corinthians:
(2 Cor 6:14-15 KJV) Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? {15} And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
A yoke was a block of wood that held two animals together so they could pull something together, like a plow. Typically a yoke contained two animals. A smart farmer would put two compatible animals under the same yoke. But if a stupid farmer put an ox on one side, and a donkey on the other, the results are simple, you’d go in circles.
To be unequally yoked with an unbeliever is to enter into some kind of binding relationship with the other person, whether in a business partnership or even in a marriage.
As a believer, you have an entire part of you, your spirit, that is completely opposite that of an unbeliever. You may have lots of other things in common, but the very foundation of your lives are completely opposite. They are under the reign of Satan, you are under the reign of God.
This is something that became a constant source of problems for the nation of Israel. Whenever they began to allow intermarriage with people other than Jews, there were problems.
The issue was not one of race, the issue was one of belief systems.

These horrible hate groups like the KKK or the Arian nations have taken principles like this and twisted them to make the issue be of “racial purity”. But the purpose in God’s mind was not about race, but about whether or not the people would continue to follow and worship the Lord.

Jehoshaphat was a good king.

(2 Chr 17:3-6 NIV) The LORD was with Jehoshaphat because in his early years he walked in the ways his father David had followed. He did not consult the Baals {4} but sought the God of his father and followed his commands rather than the practices of Israel. {5} The LORD established the kingdom under his control; and all Judah brought gifts to Jehoshaphat, so that he had great wealth and honor. {6} His heart was devoted to the ways of the LORD; furthermore, he removed the high places and the Asherah poles from Judah.

A practice of kings was to take their children and give them in marriage to neighboring kings. The idea was that the neighboring king wouldn’t ever attack you because you had his daughter in your house, or vice-versa.

(2 Chr 18:1 KJV) Now Jehoshaphat had riches and honour in abundance, and joined affinity with Ahab.

Ahab might have seemed okay as a father-in-law. After all, he was a Jews, and he was king of the northern kingdom of Israel. But his own household was all messed up because he himself had married the daughter of the king of Tyre, and had allowed Baal worship into the northern kingdom.

It didn’t seem like that bad of an idea, until Jehoshaphat’s son, Jehoram, takes over the kingdom. The first thing that Jehoram does as king is to kill all his brothers, all who could be a threat to him as king (2Chr. 21:4). Then with his wicked bride Athaliah, he led the nation of Judah into wicked idolatry. When Jehoram died, and then his son died, Athaliah took over the nation and had all royal offspring killed so she could rule the nation by herself (2Chr. 22:10). What she didn’t know was that one of her daughters, Jehoshabeath, had rescued one of the babies and along with her husband Jehoida, rescued the lineage of David. When the baby was seven years old, Athaliah was finally overthrown, and the terrible time that was brought upon the nation through Jehoshaphat’s bad choice was over.
After having been captive in Babylon for their sins for seventy years, the Jews were allowed to go back and rebuild their temple and the city of Jerusalem. When Ezra arrived in Jerusalem, the temple had been completed, but there was a problem.

(Ezra 9:1-3 KJV) Now when these things were done, the princes came to me, saying, The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations, even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. {2} For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands: yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass. {3} And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down astonied.

Ezra was extremely bummed out because the people had already begun to break God’s laws. They had already started down the path that had so clearly ended up with God’s judgment in Babylon.

Here they had just come back from Babylon, and Ezra finds out that they are back on the trail towards destruction again.

As a result, the people are awakened to the fact of their destructive behavior and something unique happens. All the men that had forbidden marriages divorced their wives. There’s even a list of who had blown it.

This is unique in that I don’t think God wants all of you who are married to unbelievers to divorce your spouses. In fact, God’s Word tells us as a rule to do just the opposite:

(1 Cor 7:12-15 KJV) But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. {13} And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. {14} For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. {15} But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.

But there is an interesting lesson here – the people were willing to do whatever was necessary to get right with God. They even had some extreme accountability such as having their names written down. In a way, it’s kind of like going forward at church, making a public commitment that you want to change.

What does this mean for me?

If you are a single person, you need to ask yourself, do you want to follow the Lord your entire life?
If so, then you are going to need to marry a Christian. Don’t get your sights on a person who is not a Christian thinking that you are going to “convert” them. It rarely works that way. Usually the non-Christian will just drag the Christian down.
If you are going to marry a Christian, you probably don’t want to find that person in a “singles bar”. On the off chance you find a Christian in a bar, is this the person you want to marry?

:7 because ye were more in number than any people

God’s unconditional love.

We don’t “deserve” or earn God’s love.

:8 But because the LORD loved you

Why did God love us? Simply because He wanted to.

:8  he would keep the oath

God took Israel out of Egypt partly because of His love for them, and partly because he had made promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and He was keeping those promises.

:9  the faithful God

faithful ‘aman – to support, confirm, be faithful; (Niphal)  to be established, be faithful, be carried, make firm; reliable, faithful, trusty


You can count on Him

God keeps His promises.

:15 And the LORD will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt


It’s healthy to follow the Lord.

Much of the Law is simply practical. It’s healthier to follow God’s ways.
It’s interesting to note how many of the Jewish laws have ended up being quite healthy:
God had taught them to be clean, not unclean.
God had taught them to quarantine those who were diseased.
God had taught them to wash.
God had taught them not to eat fat.
God had taught them to take a day off and rest.
God had taught them not to eat yucky things like vultures or bats.

Are God’s laws all that bad? No, they’re quite healthy for you!

Study finds churchgoers live longer

The reward of going to church might be a longer wait for heaven. Regular worshipers live 10% longer than those who never attend services, says a national study to be published next month. Life expectancy for weekly churchgoers is 82, and 83 for those who attend more than once a week. Nonchurchgoers, the survey finds, live an average of 75 years. When researchers adjusted the data for lifestyle factors such as weight and tobacco use, nonworshipers still had the highest risk of early death.

USA TODAY, April 26, 1999, 4 a.m. ET

:18  but shalt well remember

If we will remember the things God has done for us in the past, it’s not so hard to trust Him for the future.

Even if you don’t think God has done anything for you in the past, look at what He did for Israel. It’s a place to start!

:19  of whom thou art afraid


Don’t let fear stop you.

We can look at the Israelites conquering the Promised Land and think, “But I could never do that, I’m so afraid”. So were they.
The answer to fear is trust.
(Isa 12:2 KJV)  Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.
An archaeologist was digging in the Negev Desert in Israel and came upon a casket containing a mummy. After examining it, he called the curator of a prestigious natural-history museum. “I’ve just discovered a 3,000 year-old mummy of a man who died of heart failure!” the excited scientist exclaimed. To which the curator replied, “Bring him in. We’ll check it out.” A week later, the amazed curator called the archaeologist. “You were exactly right about the mummy’s age and cause of death. How in the world did you know?” “Easy. There was a piece of paper in his hand that said, ‘10,000 Shekels on Goliath.’”
David, the Giant Killer, wrote,
(Psa 56:3 KJV)  What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.
(Psa 34:4 KJV)  I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

:20  the LORD thy God will send the hornet

Several possibilities: 1) Actual hornets, 2) the Egyptian army, or, 3) Ugly cars manufactured by the now defunct car (AMC) company.

:21 for the LORD thy God is among you

(1 John 4:4 KJV) Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

:22 by little and little

For the Israelites, if the enemies were all gone at once, the wild beasts would have taken over before the Israelites moved in.


Sometimes victory comes gradually

Some types of victory don’t happen all at once.
Don’t be discouraged because you might not be completely delivered yet, or because you seem to have so far to go. Be encouraged that God is taking you along, helping you to grow.

:25  thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them


Watch out for the glitter

It seems that the enemy likes to use little things to catch our eye and draw our attention to the ways of the world.
We could say as the Israelites might have said, “Well, it’s not that I really like this Moloch or anything, but gosh the idol is covered with gold, and we could really use the money right now …”
Fishing lures are sometimes designed this way, to have something that will gleam and catch the fish’s attention.  The fish gets close enough to look at what glitters, and it gets caught.

:26 Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house


Protect your home

There are all kinds of ways for “abominable” things to come into our homes.  TV, Internet, videos, music, books, magazines, video games.
When Joshua conquered Jericho, a man named Achan (Josh 7) saw some of the forbidden stuff from Jericho and decided he wanted it in his home.  When he hid some of the forbidden stuff in the tent, it ended up causing great trouble for his family as well as the entire nation. At their next battle, they were defeated because there was “sin in the camp”.

Deuteronomy 8

:1 shall ye observe to do


God’s ways are best

It seems that in America we’ve lost our way.
We seem to be more concerned about what the majority thinks than about what God thinks.
Newsweek article August 6, 2001 – the Boy Scouts and the gay agenda.

Last year, the Boy Scouts won an important Supreme Court decision allowing them to ban gay men and boys from scouting.

The article is clearly written from the side of someone favorable to the gay community.

It tries to point out how people within scouting are having such a horrible time with their consciences, struggling with their love for scouting and yet having this deep sense that it’s important not to “discriminate”.  They feel that it is a horrible, hypocritical thing to teach “non-discrimination” in scouting, and then turn around and discriminate against someone based upon their “sexual orientation”.

The problem is that America has lost its “moral compass”.  We have stopped allowing God’s Word to be the basis for what is right and wrong and instead have decided that whatever is most “popular” must be right.  Since it is now more popular to accept homosexuality as an “accepted alternate lifestyle”, it must therefore be a good thing.

Here’s where the confusion comes:

God’s Word DOES teach against discrimination.  It teaches that we shouldn’t discriminate against people based on whether they are rich or poor, male or female, or whether they are of one race or another.

(Gal 3:28 KJV)  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

(James 2:9 NASB)  … if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.

But God’s Word also teaches that homosexuality is not an “alternate lifestyle”.  The Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin, just like adultery, premarital sex, lying, drunkenness, or murder (1Cor. 6:9-10).  Though the Bible tells us not to discriminate against people for the wrong reasons, the Bible does tell us to stay away from people who claim to be Christians yet continue openly in unrepentant sin.

(1 Cor 5:11 KJV)  But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

:2  to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart


Pop quiz:  Humility and obedience

Difficult times reveal your heart.

The forty years of wandering in the wilderness became a test then to see if these people would finally get serious about God.
Getting serious about God involves learning humility.
If you have felt like your Christian life has been lacking direction and kind of floundering, could God be asking you, “Well, when are you going to get serious about Me?”
Often we can get to thinking that some of the “little things” we hide in our heart, our “secret sins” won’t really be that big of a deal.
But God sees the secret things, and He’s REALLY serious about us being serious about them.
I have known plenty of people who are always waiting for that “big break” in life, but it never happens because they don’t have their eyes in the right place.

Their eyes are always on either themselves or their circumstances. Rather than getting busy serving God, being busy with the small, little things, they’re always waiting for the big things.

I know, because I’ve been there. When I left the Baptist church to become involved at Calvary Chapel, I expected the world to jump in place for me. Instead I was asked to do humiliating things like teach a Sunday School class. I knew that Children’s Ministry would lead me nowhere. But I was wrong.

Don’t be afraid of taking the humble road. You’ll find that that’s the road where God is on.

:3  man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.


Life is in the Word, not bread

This was one of the areas that Jesus was tempted by Satan – to turn stones into bread.  Jesus responded by quoting this verse. (Mat. 4:1-4)
In the wilderness, the Jews learned that there was more to life than just getting their next meal.  Life involved hearing from God and doing what He said.
God isn’t just interested in you learning to have Him meet your physical needs.
He wants you to learn to find your deepest satisfaction in His Word! Could you go a day without food, and find yourself totally satisfied with just listening to God’s Word?
D. L. Moody tells of the following incident in his little classic of 1895, Pleasure and Profit of Bible Study.

“A man stood up in one of our meetings and said he hoped for enough out of the series of meetings I was having to last him all of his life. I told him he might as well try to eat enough breakfast at one time to last his lifetime.”

-- Charles R. Swindoll, The Christian Life, (Vision House, 1994), p. 93.

:4 Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee

God took care of the people in the wilderness.  They never had to buy new clothes.  Their feet didn’t swell despite wandering for forty years.

:5  as a man chasteneth his son


Spankings prove love

The writer of Hebrews teaches on this concept (Heb. 12:7-11).
(Heb 12:6 KJV)  For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
The fact that you find yourself chastened by God from time to time is only proof that He is your Father.

Do you ever feel that it is unfair that you always get “caught” by God?  Don’t feel sad about this.  This is proof that God loves you enough to not let you get away with things that will harm you as His child.  It is proof that He cares enough about you to train you properly as a good father should.

:9  thou shalt not lack any thing in it


God has good things for you.

As we grow to know more about the Lord and His will for us, we can become fixated on the things that God doesn’t want us to be doing.  We can focus so much on the negative that we don’t stop to enjoy all the good things that God has for us.

:14 and thou forget the LORD thy God


Don’t forget

We saw this last week several times:
(Deu 4:23 KJV)  Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the LORD …
(Deu 6:12 KJV)  … beware lest thou forget the LORD …
I think this is a very great concern to the Lord and to Moses.
We too go through these cycles where we encounter tough times and we start to seek the Lord.  Then when things ease up, we get comfortable and miss a week at church here or there.

:18 for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth

If you have been prosperous financially, keep in mind that God allowed you to be so.

(1 Cor 4:7 KJV) For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive?

We only have the things that God allows us to have.

:20 As the nations which the LORD destroyeth before your face

Like the kingdoms of Sihon and Og, whom the Israelites have already destroyed.

Deuteronomy 9

:1  greater and mightier than thyself


You can do great things

Have you noticed how many times God reminds the people that the things ahead of them are bigger than they are?
The nations they are to conquer are greater than they are.  They are stronger than they are.
Does that make it impossible?  Not if God is on your side.
Paul wrote,
(Phil 4:13 NASB)  I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Jesus said,
(John 15:5 KJV)  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
When you are tempted to think that you can’t handle what God has placed before you, you may be right.  You can’t without God’s help.  But with God’s help, anything is possible.

:2  the children of Anak!

These were some of the giants in the land, specifically those who had lived near the area of Hebron.

Caleb, one of the two faithful spies sent into the land, knew that God was able to deliver the giants into their hand.

He was given the city of Hebron when he was in his eighties, and he still went in and conquered the giants.

:3 which goeth over before thee


God goes ahead of you

You will find when you are walking in God’s will, entering into the good things that God has for you, that He has already been there ahead of you, getting things ready.
I think of what God did for us as a church with our current facility.  For years we prayed while we were meeting at the YMCA that God would prepare a place for us.  We prayed that God would have a place all built out for us.  And while we prayed, there was a nightclub using the Ice House.  They helped get things like exits and air conditioning in place.  Then they moved out and an advertising agency moved in.  The artists wanted the place to be colorful and so they spent thousands of dollars on the cool paint job.  They put in the carpet in the sanctuary.  They had the offices wired for a computer network.
And when we found this place, after we received city approval, we just moved in.
Sometimes we worry how we could ever get to the places where we think God is leading us.  But don’t worry, He’s already at work.

:4  but for the wickedness of these nations


God was judging the nations

God didn’t give the land to Israel because they were so wonderful, but because it was time to bring judgment to the people that were living in the land.
Abraham was told that one day his descendants would go live in another land, but that God would bring them back:
(Gen 15:16 KJV)  But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.

One of the reasons God would bring the people back was to bring judgment on the wickedness of the people living in the land.

:5 Not for thy righteousness


God is great, not you

Forgive me if this damages your self-esteem, but the greatest things you can ever do are only the things that God is able to do through you.
There is a danger of falling into the trap of thinking that when God uses you, it’s because of your excellent spirituality.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe that God wants us to grow spiritually and that God will honor our faithfulness in things like praying and studying His Word.
But even in these things, all that is really happening is that God is simply able to work more.
The success is always due to Him.

:6  thou art a stiffnecked people.

stiffnecked – The figure is that of a stubborn ox who refuses to submit to the yoke.


God still loves stiffnecked people

How’s that for grace! God is going to give the Promised Land to these people, but they’re a bunch of stubborn jerks!
And God DOES give it to them.
You may have your incredibly enormous problems, but God still cares about you and still wants to take you into the Promised Land.

:8 in Horeb

Mount Sinai.  Moses is reminding the people how “stiffnecked” they were.

Moses is going to recall the story of how the people had made the “golden calf” in Exodus 32.  Moses had been up on the mountain receiving instruction from God, and the people became impatient.  They demanded that Aaron make a “god” they could see.  Aaron made a golden calf, and the people had begun a party.

:12  quickly turned aside

This is what was so amazing.  The people had just lived through the plagues in Egypt.  They had lived through the deliverance of the Passover.  They had walked through the Red Sea with huge walls of water on either side.  They had been given manna and water in the wilderness.  They were being led by a pillar of cloud and fire.

They had just heard God speak and tell them the Ten Commandments.  That was only forty days earlier.  And with Moses being gone for just forty days, they turn away from serving the Lord as He had taught them.

:14 Let me alone, that I may destroy them

God was saying that He was going to destroy the Israelites, and make a new nation from Moses.  I believe that God is testing Moses to see how Moses responds.

:18  forty days and forty nights

After having spent forty days away from the people, Moses now heads back to the mountain for ANOTHER forty days to plead with God.

:22 And at Taberah, and at Massah, and at Kibrothhattaavah

These were other incidents where the people pushed God’s patience.  They were all incidents of the people complaining, complaining, complaining.

Taberah – “burning” (Num. 11:1-3)

Massah – “strife”, Exodus 17, the people were complaining about a lack of water, Moses struck the rock and God gave them water.

Kibrothhattaavah – “graves of greediness” – Numbers 11:31-35; the people are again complaining but now about a lack of meat. God gives them quail, and they rush upon the birds with greediness, eating them raw. A plague comes.

:23 Kadeshbarnea

This was the first entry gate into the Promised Land (Num.13). The twelve spies had been sent in, but when ten of them came back talking about how impossible it was to fight against the giants, the people decided they didn’t want to go into the Promised Land.

:29 Yet they are thy people and thine inheritance

We could look at this as if God was the big bully trying to kill the people and Moses is holding Him off. But I think that what is happening is more of a molding of Moses, bringing out his heart to be a shepherd for these people, to be one who will intercede for them.


Praying for difficult people.

How do you pray for those you’re having troubles with?
If God were to come to you and say, “I’ll just wipe them out and let you take their place …”, would you give in and say, “Let me help you God!”
Or would you turn and plead for them.
When you pray for them, do you pray for mercy and grace for them, or judgment and condemnation?
Chris Carrier of Coral Gables, Florida, was abducted when he was 10 years old. His kidnapper, angry with the boy’s family, burned him with cigarettes, stabbed him numerous times with an ice pick, then shot him in the head and left him to die in the Everglades. Remarkably, the boy survived, though he lost sight in one eye. No one was ever arrested.
Recently, a man confessed to the crime. Carrier, now a youth minister at Granada Presbyterian Church, went to see him.
He found David McAllister, a 77-year-old ex-convict, frail and blind, living in a North Miami Beach nursing home. Carrier began visiting often, reading to McAllister from the Bible and praying with him. His ministry opened the door for McAllister to make a profession of faith.
No arrest is forthcoming; after 22 years, the statute of limitations on the crime is long past. In Christian Reader (Jan/Feb 98), Carrier says, “While many people can’t understand how I could forgive David McAllister, from my point of view I couldn’t not forgive him. If I’d chosen to hate him all these years, or spent my life looking for revenge, then I wouldn’t be the man I am today, the man my wife and children love, the man God has helped me to be.”

-- Merv Budd, London, Ontario. Leadership, Vol. 19, no. 2.