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Don't Blow This

“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.”

Deuteronomy 7:9

When the Bible urges the reader to “know” something, it is indicating there is an extremely important truth at work, and this knowledge must exceed mere intellectual understanding. This is a knowledge that must be seared into the listeners soul and spirit, also. It is truth that transforms the way a person lives their life, and consequently evaluates all the situations that comprise the chapters of life.

As Israel embarked on their mission of possessing the promised land, they simultaneously began encountering a wide variety of new temptations. With new opportunities come new challenges and different allurements. Moses knew that these upcoming novel enticements could actually serve as the means by which all God’s people could develop greater personal character and spiritual integrity.

Standing on the boundary line of the promised homeland, God’s prophet proposed three different scenarios and encouraged the Hebrews to decide in advance how they would respond to these imminent spiritual challenges. He disclosed the fact that they would be given cities they did not build (6:10). Complementary the occupation of these cites would be a wide variety of benefits, such as choice food harvested from the vineyards, and access to water from wells already dug. Notice that following the promise of new acquisitions comes the warning to not “forget the Lord” (6:12). Moses wisely understood that recipients of easy wealth have the tendency to become spiritually sedentary, and forget God in process.

Moses then ratchets up the instructions to a higher level of importance when he introduces the coming generations into the scenario. He tells the fathers of Israel that their children will inevitably ask them questions about the testimonies and laws of God (6:20). It is significant to hear Moses coach the fathers that they should deal candidly with their earlier struggles and abuses. The tendency of victims is to bury the past and never make mention of it again. But the oppression and hostilities of the Egyptians provided an opportunity for the fathers of Israel to share the faithfulness of God with their offspring and tell them “the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand” (6:21).

Finally, Moses warns God’s chosen people about the inclination to compromise following a moral and physical victory. Ironically, humans have a backward way of reasoning, and often fraternize with the very things or people trying to destroy them. God had allowed Israel to win military conflicts against seven nations possessing superior armed abilities. These states were overtly hostile towards God’s people, and wanted them exterminated. Yet, after supernaturally triumphing on the field of battle, God had to warn Israel not to make a covenant with these aggressors, or even show them mercy (7:2).

With obedience comes abundant blessings. Retaining those blessings may be the greatest challenge of all due to a myriad of reasons, including the three aforementioned. Remain thankful, be certain to express gratitude in all things, share the wins over past enemies with the next generation, and never forge alliances with those set against the character of God. These are truths transmitted by Moses to an ancient civilization that remain altogether relevant in this present moment.

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