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The Secrets Of Obedience

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Moses was a wise teacher of God's truth. First he reviewed what the Lord had done for Israel (Deut. 1-4) and reminded the people of God's mercy and goodness. Then he reaffirmed the basic principles of God's Law (Deut. 5-6), what we know as the Ten Commandments (10:4). In chapters 6 and 7, Moses discussed motives for obedience and explained why the people should honor God's laws. He wanted the nation's obedience to be based on spiritual principles, not just personal opinions, and to be encouraged by the right motives. Only after Moses had laid this strong foundation did he apply God's commandments to specific areas of Israel's life. God gave His law to build the people individually as well as the nation collectively. How could over 2 million people live together and work together, let alone fight the enemy together, unless they had rules and regulations to govern them? Israel's civic peace and general welfare depended on the people respecting the law and obeying it. Unfortunately, over the years, some of the religious leaders added so many traditions to God's law that the people felt like they were wearing a galling yoke (Acts 15:10; Gal. 5:1). The Law was also meant to reveal God and draw the people closer to Him. If Israel was to be a holy people and a kingdom of priests (Ex. 19:1-8), they needed a holy law to guide them. Certainly God was concerned about the external conduct of His people, but He was also concerned that their hearts be devoted to Him. When you read Psalm 119, you discover what the law of God meant to Jewish people who were spiritually minded and devoted to the Lord in their hearts. They saw God's righteous law, not as a heavy yoke, but as honey (v. 103), light (v. 105), a treasure (vv. 14, 72, 127, 162), freedom (v. 45), and a source of great joy (v. 14). They delighted in the law and meditated on it (vv. 15-16, 23-24, 47-48, 77-78; see 1:1-3). Yes, the Ten Commandments were engraved on tables of stone, but the spiritual Jew also had the Word hidden in his heart (119:10-11). One of the key themes in Deuteronomy 6-7 is motivation for obedience. These two chapters answer the question, "Why should we obey God's Word in a world where most people ignore it or deliberately disobey it?" Moses explained four fundamental motives for obedience.

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The love for the Lord ()

Be Equipped 1. Love for the Lord (Deut. 6:1–9)

If Israel obeyed the Lord, they would conquer the enemy, possess the land, multiply in the land, and enjoy a long life in the place of God’s blessing (6:1–3)

Is the people of God, so distance from God, that they cannot see what God, has done is doing and gonna do for them. God has and always will take care of his people, he does so in such a way that we literally take his blessings for granite. God used a phrase to describe the richness and fruitfulness, of his blessings. In Israel’s day milk and honey this was a luxury so when God, used the terminology land fill with milk and honey, He was simply saying that He would provide all the people needs, isn’t it funny how some of us only make enough to pay the bills but we live and dress like millionaires.
What is the outcome for Israel’s obedience to God
Be Equipped 1. Love for the Lord (Deut. 6:1–9)

Moses has already emphasized God’s love for Israel and the importance of Israel’s love for God (4:32–43), and he will mention this topic several times before he concludes his address. If Israel obeyed the Lord, they would conquer the enemy, possess the land, multiply in the land, and enjoy a long life in the place of God’s blessing (6:1–3). At least six times in this book, Moses called Canaan “a land of milk and honey” (v. 3; 11:9; 26:9, 15; 27:3; 31:20), a phrase that describes the richness and fruitfulness of the land. Milk was a staple food and honey a luxury, so “a land of milk and honey” would provide all that the people needed. There would be adequate pastures for their flocks and herds and sufficient plants in the fields for the bees to obtain pollen. How could the people not love and obey Jehovah when He blessed them so abundantly?

What is the outcome for Israel’s obedience to God and how can we benefit from obeying God.
Be Equipped 1. Love for the Lord (Deut. 6:1–9)

If Israel obeyed the Lord, they would conquer the enemy, possess the land, multiply in the land, and enjoy a long life in the place of God’s blessing (6:1–3)

If Israel obeyed the Lord, they would conquer the enemy, possess the land, multiply in the land, and enjoy a long life in the place of God’s blessing (6:1-3).
There is a danger in receiving blessings from God many believes believe that because they receive blessings from God that they are so much better then previous generations. Moses reminds Israel that there blessings come from the Lord because of His covenant with their forefathers as do our blessing comes from God’s eternal covenant with his Son (Heb. 13:20).
Be Equipped 1. Love for the Lord (Deut. 6:1–9)

Covenant (v. 3). There was always a danger that the new generation would become proud and think that God had blessed them because they were better than previous generations. Moses reminded them that all their blessings came from the Lord because of His covenant with their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In fact, it was this truth that opened his address (1:8, 21, 35), and he would mention it again (6:10; 9:5, 27; 29:13; 30:20; 34:4; and see Ex. 6:8 and 33:1). God’s gracious promise to the patriarchs gave Israel ownership of the land, but it was their own obedience to the Lord that guaranteed their possession and enjoyment of the land. It’s unfortunate that after Israel had lived in the land, they took their blessings for granted, disobeyed God’s law, and had to be punished for their rebellion. First they were chastened in the land (described in the Book of Judges) and then they were removed from the land and taken captive to Babylon.

Believers today need to be reminded that all our blessings come to us because of God’s eternal covenant with His Son (Heb. 13:20) and the New Covenant which Jesus made through His sacrificial death on the cross (Luke 22:20; 1 Cor. 11:25; Heb. 8–9). We aren’t blessed because of what we are in ourselves but because of what we are in Christ (Eph. 1:3–14).

Who did God made a covenant with in behalf of believers today.
We aren’t blessed because of what we are in ourselves but because of what we are in Christ (Eph. 1:3-14).
Be Equipped 1. Love for the Lord (Deut. 6:1–9)

Confession (v. 4). The orthodox Jewish confession of faith is called “the Shema” after the Hebrew word which means “to hear.” This confession is still recited each morning and evening by devout Jews all over the world, affirming “Jehovah, our Elohim, Jehovah is one.” (See Matt. 22:37–38; Mark 12:29–30; Luke 10:27.) So important is this confession that Jewish boys in orthodox homes are required to memorize it as soon as they can speak. The nations around Israel worshiped many gods and goddesses, but Israel affirmed to all that there is but one true and living God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The Hebrew word translated “one” (ehad) can also mean “a unity” as well as “numerical oneness.” It’s used that way in Genesis 2:24, describing the oneness of Adam and Eve, and also in Exodus 26:6 and 11 to describe “unity” of the curtains in the tabernacle (see NIV). The word also carries the idea of “uniqueness.” In contrast to the many pagan gods and goddesses, Jehovah is unique, for there is only one true God; He is God alone and not part of a pantheon; and He is a unity, which Christians interpret as leaving room for the Trinity (Matt. 28:19–20; 3:16–17). When Israel began to put Jehovah alongside the false gods of the Gentile nations, they denied their own confession of faith. The Gentiles could renounce their false gods and trust the true God, the God of Israel, but a devout Jew could never put Jehovah on the same level as the gods of the Gentiles.

A devout Jew could never put Jehovah on the same level as the gods of the Gentiles, in what ways do today’s believers bring God down to a lower level.
The Gentiles could renounce their false gods and trust God, the God of Israel, but a devout Jew could never put Jehovah on the same level as the gods of the Gentiles.
Be Equipped 1. Love for the Lord (Deut. 6:1–9)

Commandment (v. 5). Is it possible to command somebody to love? Isn’t love a mysterious thing that just appears, a wonderful emotion that’s either there or it isn’t there? No, not according to Scripture. In the life of the believer, love is an act of the will: we choose to relate to God and to other persons in a loving way no matter how we may feel. Christian love simply means that we treat others the way God treats us. In His love, God is kind and forgiving toward us, so we seek to be kind and forgiving toward others (Eph. 4:32). God wills the very best for us, so we desire the very best for others, even if it demands sacrifice on our part. Love isn’t simply an exotic feeling; love leads to action. “God so loved … that he gave” (John 3:16). The virtues of love that are listed in 1 Corinthians 13:4–7 describe how we treat people and not just how we feel about them.

To love God and worship and serve Him is the highest privilege we can have, so when the Lord commands us to love, He is inviting us to that which is the best. But our love for God must involve the totality of the inner person—“with all your heart … soul … and strength.” It isn’t necessary to define and distinguish these elements, as though they were three different internal human functions. In some Scriptures only two are named (Deut. 4:29; 10:12; Josh. 22:5), while in other parallel Scriptures there are four (Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27). The phrase simply means “all that is within you” (Ps. 103:1), a total devotion to the Lord. If the inner person is completely yielded to the Lord and open to His Word as ministered by His Spirit, then the feelings will follow. But even if they don’t, we must still relate to other people as the Lord relates to us.

Be Equipped 1. Love for the Lord (Deut. 6:1–9)

Confession (v. 4). The orthodox Jewish confession of faith is called “the Shema” after the Hebrew word which means “to hear.” This confession is still recited each morning and evening by devout Jews all over the world, affirming “Jehovah, our Elohim, Jehovah is one.” (See Matt. 22:37–38; Mark 12:29–30; Luke 10:27.) So important is this confession that Jewish boys in orthodox homes are required to memorize it as soon as they can speak. The nations around Israel worshiped many gods and goddesses, but Israel affirmed to all that there is but one true and living God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The Hebrew word translated “one” (ehad) can also mean “a unity” as well as “numerical oneness.” It’s used that way in Genesis 2:24, describing the oneness of Adam and Eve, and also in Exodus 26:6 and 11 to describe “unity” of the curtains in the tabernacle (see NIV). The word also carries the idea of “uniqueness.” In contrast to the many pagan gods and goddesses, Jehovah is unique, for there is only one true God; He is God alone and not part of a pantheon; and He is a unity, which Christians interpret as leaving room for the Trinity (Matt. 28:19–20; 3:16–17). When Israel began to put Jehovah alongside the false gods of the Gentile nations, they denied their own confession of faith. The Gentiles could renounce their false gods and trust the true God, the God of Israel, but a devout Jew could never put Jehovah on the same level as the gods of the Gentiles.

Is it possible to command somebody to love? Isn’t love a mysterious thing that just appears, a wonderful emotion that’s either there or it isn’t there?
God is kind and forgiving toward us, so we seek to be kind and forgiving toward others (Eph. 4:32).
Be Equipped 1. Love for the Lord (Deut. 6:1–9)

Communication (vv. 6–9). When we hear the Word of God and receive it into our hearts (1 Thes. 2:13), then the Holy Spirit can use the truth to transform us from within (2 Cor. 3:1–3; John 17:17). God “writes” the Word upon our hearts and we become “living epistles” that others may read, and our lives can influence them to trust Christ. How we live is important because it backs up what we say. Moses admonished parents to discuss God’s Word in the home, among the children, and to allow the Word to guide their minds and hands as they work throughout the day. The Word should even control who is permitted to go through the gate and come through the door into the house. The Jews took these commandments literally and wore portions of Scripture in little containers called phylacteries on their forehead and left arm (Matt. 23:5). They also attached a small container of Scripture, called a mezuzah, to the front door and on every door in the house. Each occupant touched the mezuzah reverently each time he or she passed through a door (Ps. 121:8). It was a sign that the house was to be a sanctuary for the Lord and a place where the Word was loved, obeyed, and taught.

We can’t help but admire such respect for the Word of God, but it’s likely that the emphasis of this commandment was obedience to God Word in all that we think and do rather than the actual wearing of the Scriptures on the forehead and the arm. At least that seems to be the emphasis in Deuteronomy 11:18–21. However, we agree wholeheartedly that God’s people ought to make their homes places where God dwells, where the Scriptures are honored, and we aren’t ashamed of our faith. It isn’t necessary to turn every room into a chapel, but a Bible on the table and a few Scripture texts on the wall at least bear witness that we belong to the Lord and desire to please Him.

The Israelites wrote scripture on the front door and on every door in the house. It was a sign that the house was to be a sanctuary for the Lord and a place where the Word was love, obeyed, and taught. How can today’s believers copy this.
When we here the Word of God and receive it into our hearts (), then the Holy Spirit can use the truth to transform us from within (; John 17:17).

The Promises From The Lord

The gratitude to the Lord ()

Be Equipped 2. Gratitude to the Lord (Deut. 6:10–25)

Moses was equipping the new generation to enter and claim the Promised Land, and he knew that Canaan would be a place of temptation as well as a place of triumph. For one thing, when they conquered the nations in Canaan, the Israelites would inherit vast wealth and would be tempted to forget the Lord who had made their victories possible. The second temptation would be for Israel to compromise with the pagan nations around them and not maintain their separated position as the people of the Lord. (Moses will deal with this second temptation in 7:1–16.)

Today’s believers is being prepared to be received by the Lord, what can be our temptation as well as our triumph.
The second temptation would be for Israel to compromise with the pagan nations around them and not maintain their separated position as the people of the Lord.
Be Equipped 2. Gratitude to the Lord (Deut. 6:10–25)

Most people find it easier to handle adversity than prosperity (see Phil. 4:10–20), because adversity usually drives us closer to God as we seek His wisdom and help. When things are going well, we’re prone to relax our spiritual disciplines, take our blessings for granted, and forget to “praise God from whom all blessings flow.” The material things that we wait for and sacrifice for seem to mean much more to us than the gifts that fall in our laps without our help.

Why is it easier to handle adversity than prosperity.
The material things that we wait for and sacrifice for seem to mean much more to us than the gifts that fall in our laps without our help.
Be Equipped 2. Gratitude to the Lord (Deut. 6:10–25)

Moses named some of the material blessings the Lord would give the Israelites in the Promised Land: large prosperous cities, houses filled with different kinds of wealth, wells, vineyards, and olive groves, as well as the land itself. Whenever the Jews took water from the wells or fruit from the vines and trees, they should have looked up with gratitude to the Lord. Water is a precious commodity in the East and the people didn’t even have to toil to dig the wells! Nor did they have to plant the vineyards or the olive groves and then wait for the plants to grow and mature. God used these spoils of war to compensate the Jews for the wages they didn’t receive when they were enslaved in Egypt, and at the same time He reminded them of His bounteous grace.

With privilege always comes responsibility, and Israel’s responsibility was to fear Jehovah and obey Him (Deut. 6:13), the verse that Jesus quoted when He replied to Satan’s third temptation (Matt. 4:10). When we cultivate a reverent and submissive heart, we will have an obedient will and won’t even want to mention the names of false gods. Israel needed to remember that the Lord owned the land (Lev. 25:23) and that they were merely His “tenants.” Their inheritance in the land was God’s gift to His people, but if they disobeyed His covenant, they would forfeit the land and its blessings. The Lord is jealous over His people and will not share their love and worship with any false god (Deut. 5:8–10; 32:16–26).

The Lord gave material blessings to the Israelites what material blessings the Lord give to today’s believers.
With privilege always comes responsibility, and Israel’s responsibility was to fear Jehovah and obey Him ().
The Israelites had a responsibility to the Lord so dose today’s believers what is it.
Be Equipped 2. Gratitude to the Lord (Deut. 6:10–25)

Moses warned the people not to tempt (test) the Lord as the older generation had done at Massah (Ex. 17:1–7). We tempt the Lord when we openly and unbelievingly question His ability or defy His authority by what we say or do. After He delivered Israel from Egypt, the Lord deliberately led them through difficulties so He could teach them to trust Him. First they came to bitter water at Marah and complained about it instead of asking God to help them (15:22–26). Then they got hungry for the “fleshpots of Egypt” and murmured against the Lord and the Lord provided the daily manna to sustain them (16:1–8). When they came to Rephidim, there was no water to drink, and once again they complained against the Lord instead of trusting the Lord (17:1–7). “Is the Lord among us or not?” was their question, meaning, “If He is among us, why doesn’t He do something?”

Moses did what the people should have done: he turned to the Lord for help, and God supplied the water that they needed. But that place was given two special names: “Massah,” which means “to test,” and “Meribah” which means “contention, quarreling” (v. 7; Ps. 95; Heb. 3:7–15). By their attitude and their words, Israel defied the Lord and proved that they neither loved Him nor trusted Him. Their bodies were in the camp of Israel, but their hearts were still in Egypt. If God had not been gracious and long-suffering, He could have judged them severely; but He knows that His people are only clay (Ps. 103:8–14).

The Lord tests our faith, not just in the great crises of life, but even more in the small unexpected events, such as a travel delay, an irritating interruption, a sudden sickness, or a lost wallet. The way we respond in these situations will indicate what’s in our hearts, because what life does to us depends on what life finds in us. If we love and trust the Lord, we’ll leave the matter with Him and do what He tells us; but if we question the Lord and rebel because we’re not getting our own way, then we’re in danger of tempting Him. One of the best protections against tempting the Lord is a grateful heart. If we’re in the habit of thanking the Lord in everything, including the painful experiences of life, then the Holy Spirit will fill our hearts with love and praise instead of Satan filling us with bitter venom. How many “Massahs” and “Meribahs” are marked on the map of our journey of faith?

Of course, the greatest blessing for which Israel should have been thankful was their deliverance from Egypt (Deut. 6:20–25). In his farewell address, Moses frequently referred to this miracle, and in later years, so did the prophets. Had Israel remained in Egypt, there would have been no nation, no sanctuary, no priesthood, and no hope; but the Lord delivered them and brought them into their land and fulfilled His promises. Today, we have a Bible and a Savior because Moses led his people out of Egypt, an event that was celebrated annually at Passover. Jewish fathers were commanded to teach their children the meaning of Passover, and of the laws God had given Israel, so that the next generation would understand how to trust Jehovah, love Him, and obey His laws. When our children are ignorant of the past, they will have no hope for the future.

An attitude of gratitude is a wonderful weapon against unbelief, disobedience, a hard heart, and a bitter spirit. “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thes. 5:16–18). Instead of complaining about what we don’t have, let’s be thankful for what we do have, because God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with Him.

Be Equipped 2. Gratitude to the Lord (Deut. 6:10–25)

Moses warned the people not to tempt (test) the Lord as the older generation had done at Massah (Ex. 17:1–7). We tempt the Lord when we openly and unbelievingly question His ability or defy His authority by what we say or do. After He delivered Israel from Egypt, the Lord deliberately led them through difficulties so He could teach them to trust Him. First they came to bitter water at Marah and complained about it instead of asking God to help them (15:22–26). Then they got hungry for the “fleshpots of Egypt” and murmured against the Lord and the Lord provided the daily manna to sustain them (16:1–8). When they came to Rephidim, there was no water to drink, and once again they complained against the Lord instead of trusting the Lord (17:1–7). “Is the Lord among us or not?” was their question, meaning, “If He is among us, why doesn’t He do something?”

Moses warned the people not to tempt (test) the Lord, in what way do people today tempt (test) the Lord.
We tempt the Lord when we openly and unbelievingly question his ability or defy His authority by what we say or do.
Be Equipped 2. Gratitude to the Lord (Deut. 6:10–25)

Moses did what the people should have done: he turned to the Lord for help, and God supplied the water that they needed. But that place was given two special names: “Massah,” which means “to test,” and “Meribah” which means “contention, quarreling” (v. 7; Ps. 95; Heb. 3:7–15). By their attitude and their words, Israel defied the Lord and proved that they neither loved Him nor trusted Him. Their bodies were in the camp of Israel, but their hearts were still in Egypt. If God had not been gracious and long-suffering, He could have judged them severely; but He knows that His people are only clay (Ps. 103:8–14).

Be Equipped 2. Gratitude to the Lord (Deut. 6:10–25)

The Lord tests our faith, not just in the great crises of life, but even more in the small unexpected events, such as a travel delay, an irritating interruption, a sudden sickness, or a lost wallet. The way we respond in these situations will indicate what’s in our hearts, because what life does to us depends on what life finds in us. If we love and trust the Lord, we’ll leave the matter with Him and do what He tells us; but if we question the Lord and rebel because we’re not getting our own way, then we’re in danger of tempting Him. One of the best protections against tempting the Lord is a grateful heart. If we’re in the habit of thanking the Lord in everything, including the painful experiences of life, then the Holy Spirit will fill our hearts with love and praise instead of Satan filling us with bitter venom. How many “Massahs” and “Meribahs” are marked on the map of our journey of faith?

Of course, the greatest blessing for which Israel should have been thankful was their deliverance from Egypt (Deut. 6:20–25). In his farewell address, Moses frequently referred to this miracle, and in later years, so did the prophets. Had Israel remained in Egypt, there would have been no nation, no sanctuary, no priesthood, and no hope; but the Lord delivered them and brought them into their land and fulfilled His promises. Today, we have a Bible and a Savior because Moses led his people out of Egypt, an event that was celebrated annually at Passover. Jewish fathers were commanded to teach their children the meaning of Passover, and of the laws God had given Israel, so that the next generation would understand how to trust Jehovah, love Him, and obey His laws. When our children are ignorant of the past, they will have no hope for the future.

An attitude of gratitude is a wonderful weapon against unbelief, disobedience, a hard heart, and a bitter spirit. “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thes. 5:16–18). Instead of complaining about what we don’t have, let’s be thankful for what we do have, because God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with Him.

The separation unto the Lord ()

Be Equipped 3. Separation unto the Lord (Deut. 7:1–16)

“A people dwelling alone,” said the hireling prophet Balaam about Israel, “not reckoning itself among the nations” (Num. 23:9, NKJV). From the call of Abraham to the exodus from Egypt, the people of Israel were expected to be a separated people, not because they were better than any other nation but because they were different. They were God’s chosen people. God commanded Abraham to leave Ur of the Chaldees and go to the land that He would show him (Gen. 11:31–12:4), and when Abraham left that land and went down to Egypt for help, God had to chasten him (vv. 10–20). Throughout her history, when Israel maintained a separated position by obeying God’s laws and seeking to please Him, she succeeded in all that she did. But when she began to compromise with the other nations and to worship their gods, it led to failure and defeat.

The people of Israel were expected to be a separated people, is today’s believers expected to be a separated people.
When Israel maintained a separated position by obeying God’s laws and seeking to please Him, she succeeded in all that she did. But when she began to compromise with the other nations and to worship their gods, it led to failure and defeat.
Be Equipped 3. Separation unto the Lord (Deut. 7:1–16)

Separation means safety (vv. 1–6). In Scripture, separation is not isolation; for if believers are isolated, how can they be “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” (Matt. 5:13–16) and influence others for the Lord? Believers can be separated from sin and to the Lord and still be involved in the normal challenges and activities of human life. Abraham was allied with some of his neighbors in Canaan and together they defeated the invaders and rescued the people of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 14); yet Abraham never lived or worshiped as his neighbors did. Jesus was the “friend of publicans and sinners” (Matt. 11:19), and yet He was “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners” (Heb. 7:26). Jesus had contact with the real world and its people but He wasn’t contaminated from that contact. True biblical separation is contact without contamination. We’re different from the world but not odd. When you’re different, you attract people and have opportunities to share the good news of Christ; but when you’re odd, you repel people and they slam the door on your witness.

God promised to drive out the pagan nations and deliver them into the hands of the Jewish army. With the Lord’s help, Israel would defeat those nations and destroy them and everything connected with their religion. Israel was to keep herself separate from these nations. The Lord would not permit intermarriage, political treaties, or any toleration of or interest in the pagan religion of the land. The reason was obvious: any link with the godless Canaanite religion could lead Israel into alliances that would undermine their relationship with the Lord and invite His chastening. Israel is God’s chosen people and treasured possession, and their separation from idolatry in Canaan was important to the nation’s spiritual health and political future.

As an example of the kind of caution Israel had to exercise, the same God who allowed Israel to spoil the Egyptians warned them not even to covet or remove the precious metals that covered many of the Canaanite idols (Deut. 7:25). It was logical to destroy the idols, but why not keep the gold and silver? Since idolatry is associated with the demonic (1 Cor. 10:14–22), bringing idolatrous gold and silver into the camp of Israel would defile the camp and open the way for satanic attack. Of itself, neither the gold nor the silver was evil; but because it had been associated with demons, the precious metal took on a new character that made it useful to the enemy. Anyone who used that metal, even to make a beautiful thing, would be dealing with something that was associated with evil.

How can todays believers be separated but still be involved in the normal challenges and activities of human life.
The Lord did not permit intermarriage, political treaties, or any toleration of or interest in the pagan religion in the land. These things undermine their relationship with the Lord, how do today’s believers undermine their relationship with the Lord.
Be Equipped 3. Separation unto the Lord (Deut. 7:1–16)

Separation means blessing (Deut. 7:7–16). The Lord’s choice of Abraham and Sarah was an act of sovereign grace. They were idol-worshipers in Ur of the Chaldees when “the God of glory” appeared (Acts 7:1–3; Josh. 24:1–3). They had no children and yet were promised descendants as numerous as the sands of the seashore and the stars of the heavens. They later had one son, Isaac, and he had two sons, Esau and Jacob; and from Jacob’s twelve sons came the twelve tribes of Israel. When Jacob’s family gathered in Egypt, there were seventy people (Gen. 46), but by the time they were delivered from Egypt, they had become a great nation. Why did this happen? Because God loved them and kept the promises that He made to their ancestors.

We must not overlook the parallel between Israel and the church. All who are born again through faith in Jesus Christ are “chosen in him [Christ] before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4). This salvation came to us “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy” (Titus 2:5). One of my seminary professors once said, “Try to explain divine election and you may lose your mind, but try to explain it away and you will lose your soul.” Like Israel, the church is God’s chosen people and His treasured possession, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (1 Peter 2:5, 9); and like Israel, we are called to be a light to the lost world (Matt. 5:14–16).

Abraham and Sarah was call to be a great nation what is today’s believers called to be.
The Lord’s choice of Abraham and Sarah was an of sovereign grace. They were idol-worshipers in Ur of the Chaldees when “the God of glory” appeared (; ).
Abraham and Sarah had one son, Isaac and he had two sons, Esau and Jacob; and from Jacob’s twelve sons came the twelve tribes of Israel. When Jacob’s family gathered in Egypt, there were seventy people (Gen. 46).
Be Equipped 3. Separation unto the Lord (Deut. 7:1–16)

Privilege always brings responsibility, and Israel’s responsibility was to obey God’s commandments, for then He could bless them as He promised. God’s covenant was a covenant of love, and He would show His love by blessing them if they obeyed and chastening them if they disobeyed. The Lord would bless them with children and grandchildren and increase their numbers greatly. He would also increase their crops and livestock so they would have enough to eat and a surplus to sell. Because of their obedience, Israel would escape the terrible diseases they saw in Egypt as well as the plagues that God sent to the land.

All these blessings on Israel would bring glory to the Lord. The other nations would see the fruitfulness of the land and the people and ask, “What is the reason for this?” The Jews would then reply, “This is the blessing of the Lord on His people!” It would give the Jews opportunities to share the truth about Jehovah with unbelievers and perhaps persuade them to trust the true and living God. Their national blessings would also give parents the opportunity to teach their children the importance of obeying God’s Word.

This section of the Law opens with, “You shall conquer them [the nations] and utterly destroy them” (Deut. 7:2), and it closes with the same admonition (v. 16). Moses repeated this warning several times in his farewell speech, because he knew how easy it would be for Israel to compromise with the enemy, fraternize with them, and eventually imitate them. Most Christians today live in pluralistic societies in democratic nations and don’t have the authority to annihilate everybody who worships a false God, nor should they want that authority. Our task is to love those we disagree with and seek to win them to faith in Christ. But at the same time, we must maintain a separated position and not be contaminated by the ideas or activities of the lost world (Ps. 1:1).

The key passage in the New Testament on separation is 2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1. In it Paul points out that there are both negative and positive elements in biblical separation. Because of what we are in Christ—righteousness, light, the temple of God—we have nothing in common spiritually with unbelievers whom he describes as unrighteousness, darkness, and worshipers of idols. Separation is simply living up to what we are in Christ. If we separate ourselves from sin, God will be able to deal with us as obedient children. He will commune with us and bless us. “Let us cleanse ourselves” is the negative part of godly living, but “perfecting holiness in the fear of God” is the positive part, and the two go together (Deut. 7:1).

Our task is to love those we disagree with and seek to win them to faith in Christ. But at the same time, we must maintain a separated position and not be contaminated by the ideas or activities of the lost world ().
Be Equipped 3. Separation unto the Lord (Deut. 7:1–16)

We aren’t supposed to isolate ourselves from the world (1 Cor. 5:9–13) because the world needs our witness and service. We cooperate with different people at different times for different reasons, but we’re careful not to compromise our witness for Christ. We do some things because it’s for the good of humanity and other things because we’re citizens or employees. But whatever we do, we seek to do it to the glory of God (vv. 19–20).

We aren’t supposed to isolate ourselves from the world () because the world needs our witness and service. We cooperate with different people at different times for different reasons, but we’re careful not to compromise our witness for Christ. In what ways is today’s believers compromising there witness for Christ.

The promises from the Lord ()

Be Equipped 4. Promises from the Lord (Deut. 7:17–26)

The first motive Moses mentioned for Israel’s obedience was love for the Lord (6:1–9), because love is the greatest motive in life. “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15, NKJV). The second motive is gratitude (Deut. 6:10–25), for showing gratitude is one way of expressing love. We must never forget what the Lord has done for us. The third motive is separation from sin and unto the Lord (7:1–16), for we want to live up to all that God has called us to be. He’s called us to be a holy nation, a chosen people, a people to bring to bring glory to His name; and we can’t fulfill any of those honorable callings if we don’t separate ourselves from what is wicked and cleave to the Lord.

But these three motives all depend on faith in the promises of God, for “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb. 11:6). Israel wasn’t operating on what the world calls “blind faith” because they had God’s covenant promises to encourage them and the long record of God’s care to assure them. God’s people don’t live on explanations; they live on promises. At the end of his life, Joshua reminded the people, “And you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spoke concerning you” (Josh. 23:14, NKJV).

But these three motives all depend on faith in the promises of God, “without faith it is impossible to please God” ().
Be Equipped 4. Promises from the Lord (Deut. 7:17–26)

God was faithful in the past (vv. 17–19). The older generation didn’t believe that victory was possible in Canaan (Num. 13–14), so they rebelled against God and eventually died in the wilderness. But the new generation should have had no problem believing God’s promises after all that He had done for them. The Lord defeated Pharaoh and humiliated all the gods and goddesses of Egypt. The Lord also helped Israel defeat the Midianites; Sihon, King of Heshbon; and Og, King of Bashan. He enabled the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh to settle their families east of the Jordan while the men of those tribes prepared to march into Canaan and take the land. Ever since Israel had arrived in the area of the Jordan, not one nation had been able to stand against God’s people, because God’s people trusted the Lord. The same God who gave victory in Egypt and in the territory east of the Jordan could also give victory in the land of Canaan.

In what ways do the same God who gave victory to Israel give victory to today’s believers.
The same God who gave victory in Egypt and in the territory east of the Jordan could also give victory in the land of Canaan.
Be Equipped 4. Promises from the Lord (Deut. 7:17–26)

God would go before Israel (vv. 20–21). The terror of the Lord went before Israel and brought fear to the hearts of the people of Canaan (Josh. 2:11; Ex. 15:16). The news about the defeat of Egypt, the opening of the Red Sea, and the slaughter of the nations east of the Jordan couldn’t help but paralyze even the strongest in the land. Bible students don’t agree on what is meant by “the hornet” in Deuteronomy 7:20 (Ex. 23:27–30; Josh. 24:12), but it’s likely that it was the familiar stinging insect that swarmed into the land and attacked the people. The Canaanites were a superstitious people who saw omens in every unusual happening and they may have interpreted this strange occurrence as an announcement of defeat. Insects are sometimes used as metaphors for nations (Isa. 7:18), and some students understand “hornets” to refer to invading nations that God sent into Canaan prior to Israel’s arrival. These local wars would weaken the Canaanite military defenses and prepare the way for Israel’s invasion. Whatever the interpretation, and the literal one makes good sense, two facts are clear: God goes before His people and opens the way for victory, and He can use even small insects to accomplish His purposes.

The assurance that the Lord was with His people as they invaded the land (Deut. 7:21) should have encouraged the Israelites to be brave and obedient. Forty years before, when the older generation rebelled at Kadesh-Barnea (Num. 13–14), Caleb and Joshua used the promise of the presence of the Lord as an argument for courage and obedience: “The Lord is with us: fear them not” (14:9). The distinctive thing about the nation of Israel was that the Lord was with them (Ex. 33:12–17). The assurance of God’s presence goes all the way back to Isaac (Gen. 26:24) and Jacob (28:15) and was often repeated to Israel when they needed encouragement (Isa. 41:10; 43:5; Jer. 46:28; Hag. 1:13; 2:4); and this wonderful assurance has been given to the church today (Matt. 28:18–20; Heb. 13:5–6).

The British expositor G. Campbell Morgan told of visiting some elderly sisters when he was a young pastor and reading Matthew 28:18–20 as part of his ministry to them. The phrase “Lo, I am with you always” struck Morgan with power and he said, “Isn’t that a wonderful promise!” One of the ladies replied, “Young man, that isn’t a promise—it’s a reality!” How true! “The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge” (Ps. 46:7, 11).

In what way has God open the door to victory for today’s believers.
Be Equipped 4. Promises from the Lord (Deut. 7:17–26)

God had a timetable for the conquest (vv. 22–23). Obeying the Lord means doing the right thing in the right way at the right time for the right reason, which is to the glory of God. “Do not be like the horse or like the mule,” warned David (Ps. 32:9), because the horse wants to bolt ahead and the mule wants to lag behind and balk. God has a time for everything (Ecc. 3:1–8), and when Jesus ministered here on earth, He followed a divine schedule (John 11:9; 2:4; 7:6, 8, 30; 8:20; 12:23; 13:1; 17:1). Happy is the believer who can honestly say, “My times are in thy hand” (Ps. 31:15).

As they gradually made their way through the land of Canaan, winning one victory after another, the Jewish people would grow in their faith and learn better how to trust the Lord. But by following God’s timetable, they would take better care of the land (Ex. 23:28–30) and prevent the wild beasts from multiplying rapidly and becoming a threat. According to the record in the Book of Joshua, it took Israel about seven years to get control of the whole land. First Joshua cut straight across Canaan and divided the land (Josh. 1–8); then he conquered the nations in the south (Josh. 9–10) and then those in the north (Josh. 11). But this still left “mopping up” operations for the individual tribes, some of whom never did eliminate the enemy from their territory (13:1; Jud. 1–2). These pockets of paganism brought great temptation and trouble to the Jews and led to divine discipline.

Be Equipped 4. Promises from the Lord (Deut. 7:17–26)

God expected the nation to obey Him (vv. 23–26). “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:14–20) because true faith always leads to obedience. “By faith Abraham … obeyed” (Heb. 11:8). People may talk about faith, analyze faith, and seek to explain it, but until they do what God commands, they will never understand what faith is all about. The people of Israel had to obey God’s clear command to wipe out the heathen nations and their religion. Everything in the land was to be devoted to God and nobody had a right to claim it. The detestable things were to be completely devoted to destruction so they wouldn’t become snares to the Jews. Anybody who stole a devoted thing from God and took it home would also be devoted to destruction, which is what happened to Achan (Josh. 6–7).

But it wasn’t enough for the Jews simply to obey the command to destroy what God had condemned; they must obey from their hearts. They were to “utterly detest” and “utterly abhor” the abominable things they encountered in Canaan (Deut. 7:26). No doubt Achan helped to destroy many abominable things when Israel conquered Jericho, but he decided that some silver and gold and beautiful garments weren’t really abominable, so he took them (Josh. 7:20–23). He would rather have the spoils of war than enjoy the blessings of obeying the Word (Ps. 119:14, 72, 127, 162), and it cost him dearly. King Saul made this same mistake and lost his crown (1 Sam. 15).

As we grow in grace, we learn to love and enjoy what pleases God and to despise and reject what displeases Him. It’s not just a matter of our will obeying God’s commands; it’s also a matter of developing a heart that enjoys obeying God (Eph. 6:6). It’s possible to do God’s will in such a way that others get the blessing but we don’t! This was true of two of God’s prophets, Moses and Jonah. Moses arrogantly smote the rock and God provided water, but Moses lost the privilege of entering the Promised Land (Num. 20). Jonah eventually obeyed the Lord’s will but he didn’t do it from his heart, and became a bitter person (Jonah 4). This brings us back to the first motive Moses discussed—love for the Lord (Deut. 6:1–9). Love makes obedience a blessing and not a burden.

It’s good for God’s people to pause occasionally and ask, “Why are we doing what we’re doing?” Is it to please ourselves or others, or to impress the world? Are we doing the will of God because we want Him to bless us? Or are we “doing the will of God from the heart” (Eph. 6:6) because we love Him? To obey God just to avoid punishment and receive blessing is a selfish motive that follows the philosophy of Satan (Job 1–2), but if we obey God out of love, it pleases His heart and He will give us what is best and what glorifies Him the most.

Like Israel of old, the church today must move forward by faith, conquer the enemy, and claim new territory for the Lord (Eph. 6:10–18; 2 Cor. 2:14–17). But unlike Israel, we use spiritual weapons, not human weapons, as by faith we overcome the walls of resistance that Satan has put into the minds of sinners (John 18:36; 2 Cor. 10:1–6; Eph. 6:17; Heb. 4:12). The apostolic church had no buildings, budgets (Acts 3:6), academic degrees (4:13), or political influence, but depended on the Word of God and prayer (6:4); and God gave them great victory. Can He not do the same for His people today? Jesus has overcome the world and the devil (John 12:31; 16:33; Eph. 1:19–21; Col. 1:13; 2:15); therefore, we fight from victory and not just for victory. “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31)

In what ways do today’s believers hold on to abominable things.
As we grow in grace, we learn to love and enjoy what pleases God and to despise and reject what displeases Him. It’s not just a matter of our will obeying God’s commands; it’s also a matter of developing a heart that enjoys obeying God (Eph. 6:6).
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