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©Kris Gerbrandt

Chapter 7:1-8 (ESV)

Posted on February 11, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 7:1-8 (ESV) - “When the LORD your God brings you into the land that you are entering to take possession of it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations more numerous and mightier than you, and when the LORD your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them, then you must devote them to complete destruction. You shall make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them. You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the LORD would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly. But thus shall you deal with them: you shall break down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and chop down their Asherim and burn their carved images with fire.

“For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.”

Question to consider: Why was it important that Israel knew that God’s love for them was not based on anything special about them?

Yesterday’s warning from Moses was for Israel to keep themselves from forgetting God or their fear of Him when they received the land promised to their forefathers. To do this, he advised that they not only follow the statutes of His covenant with them but to catechize the generations to come, for it would be easy for a generation who did not witness God in the voice from heaven or fire on the mountain to walk away from the faith.

Today’s warning was to devote the enemies of God to complete destruction. If you have followed this study since the beginning, I have emphasized the heart of God shared by Jonah in regard to these proclamations of judgment. The proclamation is itself a message that an account of justice needs to be satisfied. I frequently point out that justice is satisfied by two measures: judgment and mercy.

God’s offer of mercy only manifests itself if there is a willingness of the offending party to confess their sin and repent of it. We know from the apostle John that, “If we confess our sins, [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) We also know from the writer of Hebrews that, “Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” (Hebrews 9:22)

The nations who were about to experience the wrath of God upon them by the Israelites had just witnessed their complete destruction of the high walled cities and Rephaim (terrible ones) among the Amorites. This witness was God’s invitation of mercy to them. Any one of these nations could reject their gods, be washed from their sin, circumcised, and spared this wrath.

When Moses said not to intermarry or make a covenant with them, he was referring to those who refused this opportunity to repent and take refuge under the Law. Those who stayed in their nation were rejecting God’s mercy and banking on their god to save them from the judgment God had decreed upon them. If Israel took wives from among this group or cut some kind of covenant that allowed them to continue worshiping their false gods, Moses warned that God’s wrath would be kindled against them.

Why would they incur God’s wrath? Because He specifically chose them to be set apart from the nations and receive His love. There was nothing about them that made them worthy to receive this love. God’s love was set on them by His own will and promise. Scripture considers this form of love to be greater than that which is derived from fondness, for love based on fondness for a people could fade once the people stopped acting fondly.


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for setting Your love upon us through a promise and not because of something we did to deserve it. Please save us from any pride that would cause us to reject or ignore so tender a mercy You have offered to us. Amen.