Chapter 7: The Mercy of the Lord
When the Israelites go in among the nations of the; Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and the Jebusites the Lord commands them to not be afraid. All seven of these nations are much mightier than the Israelites. But the Lord commands them to not marry outside of their tribes and especially not to anyone from these nations. The Lord commands them to destroy the nations as he places them in their hands.
The Lord reminds the children of Israel that they were chosen for their actions, even though they numbered very few. (see verse 7). Verses 3-4 talk about the importance of marriage within the covenant, because marrying outside of the covenant can lead to a loss of faith and is not approved by God.
The Lord promises that if the Israelites obey and are faithful to his commandments that he will show mercy on them, bless them and love them. He will also cure their diseases and make them prosperous. (Deuteronomy 7:12-15)
Chapter 8: Don’t Forget God
The Lord speaks to the Israelites regarding the 40 year experience in the wilderness and desert. The children of Israel wondered for over 40 years, and the purpose of this was to humble and prove the congregation of Israel whether they would follow the commandments or not. (verse 2)
“And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.” (Deuteronomy 8:3)
We learn that the Lord wanted to prove the worthiness and dedication of his chosen people, by teaching them this principle. Someone can be fat and have plenty of food and wealth, but that person can only live so long without the Lord. The Lord, our Heavenly Father is just like our earthly father or parents. Sometimes they do things that upset us.
Children often get upset with their parents for limiting their ability to be free, because they want to protect them. For example a parent will try and prevent their child from touching a hot stove, because they know that it will hurt them. But what happens? The child will usually do it anyways, and then when they do it they cry and think why do I have to suffer? The parent of course will come in and love them and make things better, but sometimes the parent will let them learn from their actions by not taking away the consequences.
“…that as a man chasteneth his son, so shall the Lord thy God chasteneth thee” (Deuteronomy 8:5)
Chasten means; to discipline or correct by punishment. Punishment doesn’t always have to be of a physical nature, it can be done in a variety of ways; including shame. For example, a parent can punish their child just be letting them know that they are disappointed in them for something that they knew was wrong, but did it anyways. The Lord, is our Heavenly Father he disciplines us, because he knows what is best for us and wants to give us anything that we need. Sometimes however he has to step back and let us learn from our own mistakes, just like a good parent. When God doesn’t offer his helping hand in our life, doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love us. I am sure he is saddened and upset because he knows that he needs to step back, when really he wants to step in and make everything ok.
I look at the current situation of the world, not only from a distance, but also right in my own backyard. I see people complain and say that God cannot exist if he were to permit such violence and misfortunes in the world. But hasn’t God warned us about all of this? He has, and he continues to warn us. But like a good parent he steps back and lets us learn from our own mistakes. Think about it, let’s use the example of pregnancy, abortion and sexually transmitted diseases. God has warned us about the dangers of sex outside of marriage.
“Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his wife, and let every woman have her own husband” (1 Corinthians 7:2)
If everyone waited until marriage to have sex, and were faithful to their husband or wife than we would not have teen pregnancies, homes with single parents, sexually transmitted diseases or abortion issues. I would even say that we would have less crime and more productivity in the world. Think about it, if everyone came from a loving family with a loving father and mother, who chose to have children to love them and nurture them, would we have so much crime? I think not. Would we have so many emotional problems in the world? A lot less.
God, just like our earthly parents, warned us to not touch the stove, but we have and we continue to do it. There is only so much God can do, because after all we are free and able to make our own decisions. God gave us our agency and we must live with the consequences of not listening to his warnings.
The chapter ends with a warning, that if we do not follow the commandments of God and forget about him, then we will perish. Look at the world today… and we can see why we are “perishing”.