Today’s Writer: Betsy Pace
Deuteronomy 7:17-26 is one of those “difficult” passages that makes me squirm. The thought of God “send[ing] hornets among” Israel’s enemies sounds horrible – especially since I’m terrified of bees. Nonetheless, there it is. And WHY does God promise to do this? Because God wants his people to be wholly devoted to Him – a serious struggle for Israel. A few harmless idols, a pagan marriage or two, some silver coins…and suddenly, Israel’s commitment to God is utterly compromised. God warns them to keep these things out of their homes because they lead to destruction…they lead away from God.
Lent is a time for “cleaning house.” We literally and figuratively throw away the junk that hinders our devotion. Often, this can be a daunting task (imagine an episode of Hoarders). That’s where Deuteronomy 7 becomes a blessing. If you replace the word “nations” with “temptations” or “sins,” the passage transforms. After all, that’s what the nations represent for Israel: the temptation to turn from God.
If we say in our hearts, “These sins are greater than I am”…remember what the Lord your God did…He will clear away these sins before you little by little. You may not make an end of them at once…but the Lord your God will give them over to you…No sin shall be able to stand against you until you have destroyed it.
When the mountains of junk start to overwhelm us, and we feel like we might suffocate under all of our sins, let us remember Deuteronomy 7. God is fighting for us! When we devote ourselves to Him, we are “…more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).