God's Desire for Blessing: Deuteronomy 7:17-8:4

Deuteronomy 7:17‑8:4  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Deuteronomy 7:17-8:417If thou shalt say in thine heart, These nations are more than I; how can I dispossess them? 18Thou shalt not be afraid of them: but shalt well remember what the Lord thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt; 19The great temptations which thine eyes saw, and the signs, and the wonders, and the mighty hand, and the stretched out arm, whereby the Lord thy God brought thee out: so shall the Lord thy God do unto all the people of whom thou art afraid. 20Moreover the Lord thy God will send the hornet among them, until they that are left, and hide themselves from thee, be destroyed. 21Thou shalt not be affrighted at them: for the Lord thy God is among you, a mighty God and terrible. 22And the Lord thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee. 23But the Lord thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed. 24And he shall deliver their kings into thine hand, and thou shalt destroy their name from under heaven: there shall no man be able to stand before thee, until thou have destroyed them. 25The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the Lord thy God. 26Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing. 1All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers. 2And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. 3And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest 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. 4Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years. (Deuteronomy 7:17‑8:4)
The children of Israel were told not to fear the mighty nations that were in Canaan, for the Lord said He would deliver them into their hands, and He assured them that He was, and is, mightier than all the power of the enemy. He told them, however, that He would not drive out their enemies all at once, for they would not be able to possess it all, but “little by little” as they needed it. So it is with us as Christians. We do not learn everything all at once, but as we learn a truth and walk in it, God gives us more. May our prayer be like that of Jabez who said, “Oh that Thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that Thine hand might be with me, and that Thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested” (1 Chronicles 4:10).
Christ Taking Israel’s Place
As we read these chapters we cannot help but see that the longing desire of the heart of God was for the blessing of His people. He sought to do them good at their latter end, but they refused and rebelled. We see the same longing desire in that blessed One who came to tell out what was in the heart of God, as He wept over Jerusalem when they rejected Him. He would have brought them the promised blessings, had they received Him, but now, though rejected and cast out, He has accomplished that mighty work on Calvary whereby all God’s promises will yet be made good in a future day. He took Israel’s place (Isaiah 49:33And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified. (Isaiah 49:3)) beginning their history, as it were, over again, coming out of Egypt (Matthew 2:1515And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. (Matthew 2:15)), triumphing over all the wiles of the enemy in the wilderness as the perfect obedient and dependent Man, and then bearing the curse of a broken law for them at the cross. He has now opened the way whereby God can righteously bless them, though they have forfeited every claim to it in themselves. Such is man, whether Jew or Gentile!
Lessons From the Wilderness Journey
Now to notice our chapter more particularly. We find the Lord reminding the people of the wilderness journey and its lessons of how they were humbled and proved by it. They found out what was really in their stubborn hearts, though they had not realized it before. And don’t we learn, too, how stubborn and rebellious our poor hearts are, by what we pass through day by day in this world? Peter is an example of this. He never thought he would deny his Lord, but when put to the test he did. Boys and girls, and even we who are older too, sometimes do not realize how bad our hearts really are, and then when exposed to temptation we see what they will do, for God would teach us all the need of dependence on Him for strength, each step of the way. Undoubtedly each one of us has to admit we have done things in life we never thought we would do; but if we really believed what God says about our hearts (Jeremiah 17:99The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)), we would not be surprised at anything we might do. Instead of trusting self, we would feel how very weak we are, and ask the Lord to keep us (Psalm 16:11<<Michtam of David.>> Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust. (Psalm 16:1)).
But there is a bright side to this wilderness journey. The children of Israel not only learned in it what they were, but they also learned what God is, as the One who can meet every need of His people. He fed them and even kept their clothing from wearing out. For forty years their clothes never got old, nor did their feet swell in the long tramps over wilderness sands.
Further Meditations
1. What lessons were the people reminded of from the wilderness journey?
2. A little baby depends on its mother for food, shelter, warmth, love, in fact, everything. As teens or adults do we depend less on the Lord? How does Luke 4 hint at an answer?
3. Answers to Prayer by G. Muller is filled with faith-stirring descriptions of complete dependence on God. It would no doubt help to build your faith in the dependable One.