Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Thought for Tuesday 5/28/13

“When the Lord your God brings you into the land which you go to possess and has cast out many nations before you …and when the Lord your God delivers them over to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them.  You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them.  Nor shall you make marriages with them.  You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son.  For they will turn your sons away from following Me …”  Deuteronomy 7:1,2-4

This is a difficult passage even many believers struggle with because it makes the Lord – and the people of the Lord – appear to be bloodthirsty.  Why “utterly destroy” these people without “mercy” (we know this tact today as “preemptive strike”) who have so far caused no harm to us and at least appear to be no real threat to our well-being?  And Christians remember Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in which He states: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7).

Among the many abhorrent practices of these “many nations” that will be driven out, human sacrifice is among those practices in the worship of their many gods.  This practice alone should repel many who would not even think of handing their own children over to such, but strangely enough we often hand our children over to other, more subtle cultural practices that do not destroy their bodies (not right away, at least) but “utterly destroy” them from within by virtually infusing them with sinful practices that will ultimately lead them away from the Lord; practices that over time will come to appear “normal” and thus acceptable.  It is why Christians are (or should be) strongly discouraged from marrying non-Christians and why Jews are generally prohibited from marrying non-Jews.

For our purposes, there is no need to focus on “utterly destroying” anyone.  However, for God’s purposes there is an absolute need to destroy anything that threatens the spiritual well-being of our families or ourselves, and cast out anything (or even anyone) that has even the potential to draw us away from our Lord and His Covenant.  This, I think, is Moses’ emphasis to the people of Israel as they are preparing to enter into the Promised Land that is already populated.  And this, I think, should be our emphasis as we bring children into a world already populated with people who practice strange and abominable things, things that do not please our God, things that do not glorify our Lord, things that will “utterly destroy” us; things that have over time come to appear “normal” and thus acceptable.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5).  Jesus not only affirms Moses’ teaching but points out as well that our love for God is expressed in our obedience to His commandments (John 14:21); all of them, not just the ones we like!  So we must, for the sake of our love of the Lord our God, cast out and “utterly destroy” those things, those practices that threaten our relationship with our Lord.  Because sin is no small thing for the One who found it necessary to give His all.



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