Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 2 * BOOK 9
DEUTERONOMY 26-34: JOSHUA 1-4: RAHAB
Now let’s turn to Deuteronomy Chapter 7. And for those of you who are waiting for prophecy it will be about three more weeks before we get out of the goings on in Israel. We will be going through their history in the next lesson or two, then we will be ready for the Book of Daniel. And when we teach Daniel, we teach Revelation, Matthew and the whole nine yards as they say. But for now, let’s turn to Deuteronomy 7. The Nation of Israel is sitting out here in Moab, on the east side of the Jordan River, and east of the city of Jericho.
The King of Moab, as we saw last lesson has tried to hire a false prophet to curse the children of Israel. He didn’t totally succeed but he did to a certain extent, because he had advised the Moabites to put their prettiest young ladies and best looking young men right out there next to the Israelites and seduced them. And they did! At least several thousand of them. And then God had to do some cleansing, so quite a few thousand lost their lives as a result of their losing their separated position. But nevertheless, the Nation of Israel remained intact, so the Moabites will just have to put up with them until they cross the Jordan River.
So now in short order they will go in and occupy the Promised Land. They won’t have the easy go they could have had at Kadesh. At Kadesh they could have gone right in, and could have had the whole land without losing a single soldier. But because of their unbelief (the twelve spies) they just didn’t believe that God meant what He said. So God, in His wrath, turned them back into the wilderness for 40 years of wandering. When they cross the Jordan River and get on the other side, they will stop for Passover. And do you know, that Passover they will celebrate will be exactly 40 years from the Passover in Egypt. That is how meticulous God is with His timing. Now the Book of Deuteronomy is written in that final two months, while they are sitting here opposite the Jordan River. But as Moses writes from that time frame, he’s going to reflect back, and review everything that has taken place from the coming out of Egypt. So remember Deuteronomy is a lot of recap. Now in Chapter 7, Moses is dealing with the here and now. They are about ready to go into the land of Canaan. However Moses is going to give some strict commands from God of course:
“When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, 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 thou;”
“And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them (now don’t get shook up that God is being cruel and unkind. I’ll show you in just a little bit why he gives these kinds of instructions.); thou shalt make no covenant (or treaty) with them, nor shew mercy unto them: Neither shalt thou make marriages with them(they have already been guilty of some of it); thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.” Now here is God’s reason. For they will turn away thy son from following me,…”
Stop and think for a moment. Who was the classic example in Israel’s history that did this to the extreme. On the one hand he was a righteous Godly man to the extreme. But on the other hand he followed other women and their gods to the extreme. Who was he? King Solomon. When I read the account of Solomon, here as he dedicated that new temple that he had built (or least had been the architect and master builder of), and God so honored that man, that as he stood there to dedicate the temple, the Shekinah glory again came into the picture. That is how God felt about Solomon. And yet by the end of his life where is he? Do you know that he was guilty of offering little Jewish babies to the fires of the god of Molock. Don’t think for a moment the average Jew wasn’t faced with that kind of a temptation. And it is no different for us today. But we will discuss that a little later. Reading verse 4 again:
“For they will turn away thy son from following me that they may serve other gods:…”
When we talk about serving other gods, and idols, the first thing we think of is the cultures, probably in the orient, who actually worship the idols of Buddha, and so forth. But listen, there is another idol that is sneaking in on the American scene faster than we can shake our finger at. And do you know what it is? The idol of materialism. Things can become an idol just as fast, and just as much as wood or stone. I was talking to someone the other day who had just read an editorial in one of the major newspapers in the northwest. This secular paper was literally decrying Christianity, and it’s influence, saying it was an enemy of our nation. Because after all we are living in different times than Bible times. This is 1994 they like to say. And we’re not under that kind of a culture. Listen, do you know what I say to that? Yes people change, economies change, societies change, but there is one who never changes.God does not change! God hates the same thing today that He hated back here in Israel’s history. We don’t stand here and try to shove this down people’s throats, but I think the American people have to be made aware once again that the God that made our nation what she is, is the same God that laid down these requirements.
To follow up this concept in Deuteronomy Chapter 7, come all the way over to Chapter 20. I hope you take the time to read the chapters in between. Beginning in verse 1, Moses is explaining to the Jews how they are to operate in warfare. However I want you to come down to verse 17. This is beyond ordinary warfare of occupation. Now he is talking about how they are to deal with the people who occupy the Promised Land at that time. Remember this is a Holy, Righteous, Just and Fair God that is speaking.
“But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee: (don’t spare one! Why?)
“That they teach you not to do after all their abominations (an abomination back then to God is an abomination today) which they have done unto their gods; (notice small `g’ meaning their idols and pagan worship), so should ye sin against the LORD your God.”
Isn’t that exactly what King Solomon did? It says it so plainly that after Solomon had married those 900 wives out of all the various pagan cultures, in order to satisfy the demands of those pagan wives, he built shrines, and places of worship to those pagan gods. And then he actually condones the sacrifices of little Jewish children in the fire. To me that is just unreal. Let’s come back to Genesis 15. And this is another reason to follow me all the way from Genesis 1. I have said so often, unless you have a good understanding of The Book of Beginnings (Genesis), a lot of these things are hard to comprehend. But back here in Genesis 15, God has just called Abram out of Ur of the Chaldees in Chapter 12. And He has given him the Abrahamic Covenant. In that Covenant He has promised the man Abram, that out of him would come a nation, a race of people totally different than anything that has been on the scene. And that race of people, when they would become a nation, He would put them in a geographical area of land. He pointed it out here in Chapter 15. And then in some point in the future, He Himself would come in the flesh and be their Messiah and their King. That is the whole concept of the Abrahamic Covenant. In Chapter 15, as God is dealing with this man Abram, and has given him the Covenant, and all these promises. But in spite of all of his faith, what does Abram (he will become Abraham a little later in Scriptures) say in verse 8?
“And he said, `Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?`”
In other words, what’s the proof that I will inherit this land that you are promising? What happens now in these next few verses is the then typical means of transferring real estate, according to the ancient Babylonian rules, as Hammurabi had laid them out. And again the pagans, remember, did everything based on a blood sacrifice, so even in transferring of real estate they took these animals, killed them, parted the carcasses, and left a walk way down between them, and then the two men who were transferring real estate would make a blood covenant by virtue of a cut in the hand, then shake hands and thereby make a contract. Now God is going to come down and do the same thing. So this is what He says:
“And he said unto him, `Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.’ And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not.”
Then in verses 11 and 12 in order for this covenant to be as all covenants are from God and God alone, to make sure that Abram has nothing to do with this covenant responsibility, God puts Abram to sleep like He did Adam a long time before. Come down to verse 13, and I always say this is probably the beginning of genuine prophecy. God is telling Abraham things that will happen in the future, and they will come true exactly as He says they will.
“And he said unto Abram, `Know of a surety that thy seed (your children and your children’s children) shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs (Egypt), and shall serve them; and shall afflict them four hundred years; And also that nation (Egypt), whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance (and we know that’s exactly what they did).
“And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace (Abraham will die a physical death), thou shalt be buried in a good old age. Verse 16 is where we tie in Deuteronomy Chapters 7 and 20. Why does God tell Israel to utterly destroy the Canaanite people? Here is the reason:
“But in the fourth generation they (the children of Abraham) shall come hither again (why does God wait almost 490 years from the time of Abram’s call till Joshua leads them in?): for the iniquity (or wickedness) of the Amorites (that is indicative of all the Canaanites tribes) is not yet full (hasn’t reached the full mark).”
God has now given these Canaanites 490 years in all to turn from their iniquities, but they don’t turn from it. Rather, they go deeper and deeper into their wickedness, immorality, and abominations until they finally get to the place where God can now tell Joshua to instruct the children of Israel that they are not to spare a one of them. They are so rotten, that unless you totally cleanse the land of them, it won’t be long until your sons and daughters will be just like them.
A good example is potatoes and apples. If you have a nice container full of either one, would you think of putting one in with them that is half rotten? Of course not, because it wouldn’t be very long before the whole container is rotten. And this is the exact lesson that God is trying to teach Israel. You have to remove the rot. Because unless you do, it’s going to infect you and destroy you and then He’ll have to deal with you. And isn’t that exactly what happened?
Come back to the Book of Deuteronomy and I’m going to leave you with this to read in your spare time. Read Deuteronomy Chapter 27, verses 15 through 26, especially if you are an adult; and I will make the statement that you cannot take for granted that the God of Israel is any different than the God of today. So you can read that at your leisure. But for now let’s look at Chapter 28. And again don’t forget the setting. Israel is ready to go in and occupy the land of Canaan under Joshua. And we are going to see that God is going to tell Moses to write his own obituary while he is still alive. But that is what Moses does. He writes the whole thing as if it was in the past, and yet this is the beauty of Scripture. God is leading every word, and this is what we call the inspiration, so that Moses can literally write the account of his own death. But here we read:
“And it shall come to pass, if (this is a conditional word, so God is going to leave it up to them, to use their free will. He won’t make robots out of them.) thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:”
That is quite a promise isn’t it? Here they will be the greatest nation on the face of the earth, if they are just obedient. I know that under law it was far more demanding than what you and I have to be responsible for. But nevertheless it wasn’t impossible. He wasn’t asking them to live a life of misery to keep His commandments. They would have been blessed to the hilt. They could of been the happiest and most contented nation of all. Then He lists all the blessings that would come their way. Now I always qualify this by saying that we want to remember that in the Old Testament economy, God rewarded obedience with material blessings. This is all through the Old Testament. That is why so many of these great patriarchs were wealthy. God rewarded them.
Now we are being deluged today with prosperity salvation. And that is if you just get saved, then God will pour out all kinds of wealth on you. Have you heard it? Sure you have. Some of you have given me brochures from some of these outfits, where they tell you to just send them $50 or $100 and tomorrow your debt will be gone, and within a short time you will be a millionaire. They can preach it they can scream it, they can do what they want with it, but that is not according to This Book. All God has promised the believer in the Age of Grace is a roof over our head, clothes on our back, and food to eat. Beyond that it’s just his Grace and blessing. There is nothing wrong with material blessings, and accumulating wealth. But if it becomes a priority, then God will frown upon it. But, here in the Old Testament, God is promising that if they are obedient He will bless them in every way. But go to verse 15. Look at that very first word. Here comes the flip side, one of the most crucial words in Scripture:
“But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:”
Now verse 16 and following, instead of the word blessed, what word is used? Cursed. And He spells out how Israel is going to receive the wrath of God because of their disobedience. And do you know, all of these things in the remaining verses have happened to the Jew? I remember reading, I think from the Jerusalem Post, where one of their most popular talk show hosts had an elderly rabbi on his program. This rabbi made the statement that the reason the Jews had been under such adversarial attack, including the holocaust, was because of their sin. And you know what happened? The phone just rang off the wall with angry Israelis maintaining that had nothing to do with it. Listen, it has everything to do with it.
I know that Satan is doing everything he can to thwart the work of God and, consequently, he does attack God’s chosen people. But, on the other hand, they are responsible for their actions. And so he lists them all here. I’d like to have you go to verse 37, which is part of these curses. This is exactly what the Jew experiences in almost every nation on earth. Look what it says now in verse 37:
“And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword,…” A slur word.
People will just use a word on you that they wouldn’t dream of using on anybody else. Has the Jew gotten there? Of course he has. And it’s all because of their rejecting the love and mercy of their Jehovah God. Now verse 38:
“Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather but little in;…”
And so it was all the way through with these curses and these blessings, but it was up to them.