Introduction: In the original Hebrew Torah, the text had no chapter breaks, headings, or line numbers. The Torah was instead divided up and written on separate scrolls. What today is referred to as Deuteronomy chapter seven marked the beginning of a new scroll following the Ten Commandments and the first part of the Shema, the Jewish call to worship. The first word of chapter seven in Hebrew is Ekev or “because.” That is also the title of the scroll. The chapter stated all the things that should follow in your life “because” an observant believer has learned the Ten Commandments and made a meaningful vow to follow them out of love. This study looks at the seven things that follow “because” of your love for God and His Law. First, with your knowledge of the Law, you are called to be sanctified or set apart from the unholy world around you. Second, with your knowledge of the Law, you are called upon to be “salt” in the world around you. This means that your presence should sting in the open wounds of sin in the society around you. Third, you are called upon to be humble as you act as God’s representative. Fourth, you are called upon to be an example of the His light by having faith or hope in His promises to love and protect you. Fifth, separate and apart from your salvation, He promises to bless your life in seven ways if you follow His Law with the right motivation. Sixth, He calls upon you to be patient. He answers prayers based upon both His will and His time line. Finally, He warns you to be wise or wary at all times. If you fail to listen to His words and follow the Law and remove sinful influences in your life, your sins will ultimately ensnare you.
God’s commandment to remove the seven nations in the Promised Land. In Exodus, God promised to “completely destroy” five nations in the Promised Land because of their sins. These included: “the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites [and] the Hivites.” (Ex. 23:23). These nations engaged in sins including child sacrifices, temple prostitution, and other forms of idolatry. Their curse dated back to the curse against Noah’s son Ham (Gen. 9:24-25). God alone judged them for their sins (Dt. 32:35; Rom. 12:19). Yet, the Jews knew that they were instruments of His judgment (Rom. 13:3). God told Abraham about His coming judgment against the nations of Canaan after the Jews completed 400 years of captivity (Gen. 15:16). After repeating the Ten Commandments to His people, God reminded the Jews of their solemn duty to enforce His judgment. Yet, here we learn that the list of nations to be judged had grown to seven: “When the Lord your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and stronger than you, and when the Lord your God delivers them before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them.” (Dt. 7:1-2(a)). God not only had to judge the sin that was in the Promised Land, He also wanted to keep His people from being defiled by it. Before describing the rules for sexual morality, He specifically warned the Jews not to do what people did in Canaan, a place also filled with temple prostitution (Lev. 18:1; Ezek. 20:18-19). When the Jews later invaded Canaan, God also ordered Joshua not to let the locals stay because He knew that His people were too weak to avoid the temptations (Josh. 10:40). Yet, after entering the Promised Land, the Jews did not fully obey God. They allowed the nations to remain. As result, they became entangled in their sins. This would later lead to the Jews’ exile. God’s ways and His thoughts are not ours (Isa. 55:8). He also does not change or evolve (Heb. 13:8). Popular culture will always conflict with the Word because the devil controls it as the ruler of this world. To a skeptic, God is allegedly condoning ethnic cleansing. If it was acceptable here, some may ask what is to stop a racist tyrant from claiming that God told him to cleanse villages of people with a different color skin. You are called to explain the hope that lies within you with gentleness (1 Pet. 3:15). How would you respond?
Application for the nations today. Even though the Jews failed to fully carry out their orders, God still judged these seven nations. Today, these seven nations have completely disappeared. No one today claims ancestry to these nations. The descendants of these nations were all absorbed by other nations. They are only known to exist because they are mentioned in the Bible and in archeological relics. If God judged these seven nations for their sins, should the Western world today feel immune from God’s judgment today? If God were to judge the Western world, His judgment might include disasters and recessions. Is there any evidence that the Western world is already being judged?
Application for the individual. Today, these verses also have a spiritual application for individual believers. Believers are to take the same zeal in rooting out evil in their own lives: “If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.” (Matt. 5:29-30). As a believer, you are part of God’s royal priesthood (Lev. 11:44-7; 1 Pet. 2:5, 9). You are also His light in this world (Matt. 5:14). Thus, if you fill your eyes and then body with sin, He cannot use you in His spiritual battles: “if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness.” (Matt. 6:23). “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (Jam. 1:27). Christ freed you from your bondage with the ultimate sacrifice. Don’t make His sacrifice wasted by placing yourself back into bondage. Is any part of your life filled with darkness, open sin, or hypocrisy?
Do not form business partnerships with non-believers. Part of keeping your self “unstained by the world” includes who you select to be a business partner: “You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them.” (Dt. 7:2(b)). “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’” (1 Cor. 15:3). If your partner’s unethical practices are ok with you, should be surprised if they become yours as well?
Do not marry or permit your children to marry non believers. A person who marries becomes one flesh with the other person (Matt. 19:5-6). Thus, another part of keeping yourself unstained by the world includes only marrying someone who shares your faith in Christ: “Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons. For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods; then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you.” (Dt. 7:3-4). “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnerships have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,’ says the Lord. ‘and do not touch what is unclean; and I will welcome you. And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,’ Says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Cor. 15-18). Solomon paid the price after failing to follow God’s Law. Out of lust and coveting, he took 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kgs. 11:3). These included pagan-worshiping foreign wives who turned his heart away from God: “For when Solomon was old, his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been.” (1 Kgs. 11:4). If you marry a non-believer, your heart will also over time be pulled away from God. These lessons also apply to parents. Part of raising a child up in the Law (Prov. 22:6; Ps. 78:4-6) is guiding the child in who the child should date and select for marriage. A parent is dishonored when a child becomes a prostitute (Lev. 21:9). A child who has many partners (which is no less offensive in God’s eyes) is also guilty of fornication under the Law (1 Cor. 6:9). If you are single, do you date only non-believers? Do you look to God for guidance in dating? If you are a parent, do you set boundaries for your children regarding when and who they date?
Christ’s future bride. These verses also apply to your relationship with Christ. Jesus will one day marry His Church to form a bond of spiritual intimacy with His believers (Rev. 19:7-8; 21:1-9). His marriage to His church, however, is complicated by the fact that He is also our High Priest (Heb. 8:1). As High Priest, He can only marry a virgin (Lev. 21:13-14). As High Priest, if He fails to marry a virgin, He will “profane” His offspring (Lev. 21:14). You are part of God’s offspring because your faith in Christ has made you God’s adopted child (Rom. 8:15, 23). Thus, you must be a spiritual virgin to marry Christ (2 Cor. 11:2; Rev. 14:4). Because this is impossible without Christ, you must repent of any acts of unfaithfulness (1 Jo. 1:9). Are you trying to stay pure by abstaining from the unclean things if this world? (Jam. 1:27).
Be an advocate for removing the evil influences around you. The Jews were not only to keep themselves free of the sin in the world around them, they were to actively root out the sin in the communities that surrounded them: “But thus you shall do to them: you shall tear down their altars, and smash their sacred pillars, and hew down their Asherim, and burn their graven images with fire. For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.” (Dt. 7:5-6). You also were meant to be God’s salt and His instrument against sin in the world around you: “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.” (Matt. 5:13). There are three meanings to Jesus’ words. First, salt was a preservative in that time to keep meat from rotting. Without our prayers and our actions to keep society pure, it will rot in its sins. Second, salt is a symbol of judgment. Lot’s wife was turned into salt (Gen. 19:26). Salt was also scattered on destroyed cities to destroy crops (Dt. 29:23; Jdgs. 9:45; Ps. 137:34; Jer. 17:5-6; 48:9; Zeph. 2:9). Unless the Church acts through prayer and politics to root out sin in our society, our society will face God’s judgment. If God repeatedly judged Israel, the West should not feel immune. Third, salt (or judgment) is an important ingredient in our life (grain) offering (Lev. 2:13). We are not to take personal vengeance against others (Rom. 12:19). We are to always be kind to and love those who are enemies of the Gospel (Matt. 5:44; Rom. 12:20). Yet, through prayer and politics, the Church can and should be an agent for change. “For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the superiority.” (Rom. 13:4). Are you actively praying for the world around you? Have you made your voice heard on the questions of morality in public discourse?
The Jews had no reason to boast about their status. Before giving the Jews the Promised Land, God reminded them that they did not deserve the honor that He gave them: “The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the Lord loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the Lord brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.” (Dt. 7:7-8). The Jews first left Israel as a clan of only 70 people (Gen. 46:27). They then spent approximately 400 years in captivity (Gen. 15:13- “400”; Ex. 12:40-“430”). The Jews were only freed from captivity because of God’s power. They did not have any reason to boast about their superiority in taking the Promised Land. They also were not virtuous nation of people. Yet, if God had selected one of the stronger nations to be His people, He would not likely have received the same credit.
Don’t take pride in what God has done in your life. Every good and perfect thing that you have also came from God (Jam. 1:17). Your acts of righteousness are but filthy rags before Him (Is. 64:6). All have sinned before Him (Rom. 3:23; 1 Pet. 2:22; Ps. 14:3). If your righteousness came through keeping the Law or your good works, then Christ’s death was unnecessary (Gal. 2:21). God wants to use you in His spiritual army to root out sin. Yet, He cannot use you if you are filled with pride: “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.” (Prov. 16:18). “Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, but humility goes before honor.” (Prov. 18:12). “When pride comes, then comes dishonor, but with the humble is wisdom.” (Prov. 11:2). “A man’s pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor.” (Prov. 29:23). Do you give credit to God when things go well in your life? Do you gladly tithe God’s money to grow His kingdom on Earth? Or, do you feel like you are parting with your own hard earned money when asked to tithe?
God is faithful and loving to His people. God reminded the Jews that they had no reason to fear because He loved them and would keep His promises: “Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments;” (Dt. 7:9). Christ was the ultimate fulfillment of God’s love: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (Jo. 3:16). Just as He did with the Jews, God will be faithful to keep His promises to us: “God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Cor. 1:9). “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;” (Heb. 10:23; same, 1 Cor. 10:13; 2 Cor. 1:18; 1 Thess. 5:24; 2 Thess. 3:3; 2 Tim. 2:13). Besides your eternal salvation, can you name God’s other promises to you? If you cannot name them, how much faith can you have in them?
Because God is also just, He will also eventually punish the unrepentant sinners. God is a God of love (1 Jo. 4:8). Yet, He is also a God of justice (2 Thess. 1:6). Thus, He must also judge sin and those who reject Him: “but [He] repays those who hate Him to their faces, to destroy them; He will not delay with him who hates Him, He will repay him to his face. Therefore, you shall keep the commandment and the statutes and the judgments which I am commanding you today, to do them.” (Dt. 7:10-11). Can the West ignore this warning? Knowing that God will judge people you know who reject Him, what should you be doing to stop that from happening? (Matt. 28:19).
(1) The promise of the covenant of peace. Dt. 7:12. God’s Law was never meant to be a burden. Instead, it provides the covenant of His protection: “Then it shall come about, because you listen to these judgments and keep and do them, that the Lord your God will keep with you His covenant and His lovingkindness which He swore to your forefathers.” (Dt. 7:12). The “covenant” God promised was, among other things, a “convent of peace” (Nu. 25:12). If the Jews followed His Law, He promised to give them peace (Lev. 26:6). This included a general promise that things “may be well with you.” (Dt. 6:33). This includes a “clear conscience.” (1 Cor. 4:4). This also included fellowship with Him (Lev. 3:1-16). The Jews were then intended to represent His covenant of peace to the other nations: “I am the LORD, I have called You in righteousness, I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You, and I will appoint You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the nations.” (Is. 42:6).
The fulfillment through Jesus. Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of God’s everlasting covenant (Matt. 26:28; 2 Cor. 3:5-6; Heb. 7:22; 8:6-10; 12:24). “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.” (Mk. 14:24). Jesus is also the fulfillment of the covenant of peace. His covenant of peace comes through Him alone (Isa. 54:10; Mal. 2:4-5; Phil. 4:7). Moreover, His does not bring a peace that is contingent upon your circumstances. He offers a Shalom peace, a peace that surpasses all understanding (Phil. 4:7). If you are struggling, are you taking refuge in Him?
(2) God’s promise to multiply His people. Dt. 7:13(a). If the Jews followed God’s Law, He further promised that they would be blessed and multiply as a nation: “He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb . . .” (Dt. 7:13(a); 6:3; Lev. 26:9-10). He showed this blessing to be true for the Jewish nation. As stated above, the Jews first left Israel with only 70 people (Gen. 46:27). After approximately 400 years in captivity and two years in the wilderness, God told Moses to assemble and count the men of fighting age who would invade the Promised Land (Nu. 1:1). At that time, the men of fighting age totaled 603,550 (Num. 1:46). God had greatly blessed the nation of Israel. Yet, this blessing of growth was conditional. The Jews rebelled during their 40-year-march through the wilderness. By the end of their year journey, the men of fighting age totaled 601,730 (Nu. 26:51). This was a decrease of 1,820 fighting aged men. If they had been obedient they would have continued to grow in number.
Application to the Christian nations today. For most of Europe, the birth rates fell when church attendance plummeted. As America has become more secular, its church attendance has begun to drop. Not surprisingly, America’s birthrate has also begun to shrink. Should a country or church expect to grow when they are not following God’s Word? If Christians closely study the Law, would any of this be a mystery?
Application for the individual. God’s promise of fertility was directed to the Jewish nation as a whole. Yet, it also applies to individuals. God might bless an infertile couple with children when they are faithful and follow His Word out of love. Hannah, for example, made a vow to God and He blessed her with a child for her faithfulness (1 Sam. 1:9-20). He might also force a person to wait, as He did with Sarah. Or, He might bless the individual in another way. For example, the fruit of the Spirit will always multiply when you follow God’s Word with the right motives (Gal. 5:22). By contrast, what kinds of fruit come out of an unrepentant sinner’s life? (Matt. 7:17-19).
The fulfillment though Jesus. Jesus also became the fulfillment of God’s promise to bless the womb of Israel: “And she cried out with a loud voice and said, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!”’ (Lk. 1:42). “While Jesus was saying these things, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed.” (Lk. 11:27).
(3) The promise of economic blessings. Dt. 7:13(b)-14. God also promised to bless the Jewish economy if the nation as a whole followed the Law: “He will also bless . . . your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock, in the land which He swore to your forefathers to give you. You shall be blessed above all peoples; there will be no male or female barren among you or among your cattle.” (Dt. 7:13(b)-14; Lev. 26:3-5). God also did not limit the ways that He might bless the Jews.
Application for the nation. If the Jews followed God’s Law, He specifically promised “rain” for the produce to grow (Lev. 26:3-13). Rain is a symbol of blessing, life, and God’s Word (Dt. 11:10-17; 32:1-3; 1 Kgs. 18:41-46). The lack of rain is symbol of His judgment (1 Kgs. 8:33-43). If God blesses a nation, He uses natural or large scale processes that can result in blessings upon those within the society who are undeserving: “ . . .for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matt. 5:45). Conversely, if a nation as a whole is evil, the righteous might be impacted by God’s global punishment, i.e. a drought. If a whole nation can be blessed or curse based upon the morality of its people, the Church cannot ignore sin. The Church should buy into the argument that all morality is a matter of private conscious. There also should not be a wall between public life and God’s definitions of morality. Is your church an irritant in the wound of sin?
Application for the individual. God also promises to provide for the “welfare” of the individual believer: ‘“For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for your welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”’ (Jer. 29:11). “Welfare,” however, does not always mean economic prosperity. Jesus explained that believers have no reasons to worry because God will provide for their needs (Matt. 6:25-34). He makes no promise that He will fulfill your wants. If God did fulfill all your wants, what would most likely happen to your heart? (Prov. 30:8-9).
The fulfillment through Jesus. Jesus also became the fulfillment of God’s promise to bless the land of Israel when He returns and reigns on Earth (Jer. 31:11-12; Hos. 2:21-22; Joel 2:19, 23-24). Hosea said that the Messiah would come like rain on the Earth (Hos. 6:3). The Holy Spirit also later poured out like rain (Acts 2:1-8, 14-21). When Christ returns, He will remove the curse upon the Earth.
(4) The promise of healing. Dt. 7:15. God also promised that obedience could bring healing: “The Lord will remove from you all sickness; and He will not put on you any of the harmful diseases of Egypt which you have known, but He will lay them on all who hate you.” (Dt. 7:15). “If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the LORD your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the LORD, am your healer.” (Ex. 15:26).
The fulfillment through Jesus. Jesus also fulfilled God’s promise to heal His people: “But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.” (Is. 3:5). “And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” (1 Pet. 2:24). “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” (Jam. 5:16). Have you been praying for Jesus to heal you or others? If you are suffering from poor health and your prayers for healing haven’t worked, search for any rebellion in your life. Open rebellion against God can “hinder” your prayers for help (1 Pet. 3:7; Jo. 9:31).
(5) The promise of victory. Dt. 7:16. If the Jews followed God’s Law out of love, He also promised victory over their enemies. “You shall consume all the peoples whom the Lord your God will deliver to you; your eye shall not pity them, nor shall you serve their gods, for that would be a snare to you.” (Dt. 7:16; Lev. 26:7-8; Ex. 23:22, Nu 10:9, 35; Isa. 54:17). When you take refuge in His Law out of love, He also promises to be a shield to the evil attacks of the enemy: “Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.” (Prov. 30:5; 2 Sam. 22:31). With only a few hundred men, God allowed Gideon to defeat thousands of Israel’s enemies (Jdgs. 8:10). With His help, Jonathon also killed many Philistines (1 Sam. 14:12). He also allowed David to kill Goliath (1 Sam. 17:50-58). He does not want us to fear any evil, person or enemy (Rom. 8:15). Even though the enemy might rob from you or cause you embarrassment, God may still spare you from physical harm. A thief cannot steal your treasures if they are stored in heaven (Matt. 6:19-21). Like the Jews, we are also commanded to “fight the good fight of faith . . . ” (1 Tim. 6:12). We are we called to fight in God’s army (2 Tim. 2:3). If a nation submits to God, it should also expect Him to protect it from its enemies.
The fulfillment through Jesus. Jesus will one day judge God’s enemies (Is. 11:4; 63:1-6; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; Rev. 9:6). “The Lord is at your right hand; He will shatter kings in the day of His wrath. He will judge among the nations, He will fill them with corpses.” (Ps. 110:4-7). Are you letting God take vengeance against those who hurt you?
(6) The promise of a spirit of strength. Dt. 7:17-20. If the Jews followed the Law out of love, God also encouraged them that they had no reason to fear the evil around them: “If you should say in your heart, ‘These nations are greater than I; how can I dispossess them?’ you shall not be afraid of them; you shall well remember what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt: the great trials which your eyes saw and the signs and the wonders and the mighty hand and the outstretched arm by which the Lord your God brought you out. So shall the Lord your God do to all the peoples of whom you are afraid. Moreover, the Lord your God will send the hornet against them, until those who are left and hide themselves from you perish.” (Dt. 7:17-20). Besides developing a love for evil things, there is nothing that you should fear: “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread?. . . Though a host encamp against me, my heart will not fear; though war arises against me, in spite of this I shall be confident.” (Ps. 27:1-3). “I fear no evil, for you are with me.” (Ps. 23:4). “How blessed is the man that fears the Lord . . . He will not fear evil tidings” (Ps. 112:7). “Say to the anxious heart, ‘take courage, fear not.” (Is. 34:4). “I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do.” (Lk. 12:4). By contrast, if you fear mankind, you can become enslaved by the devil to your fears “[t]he fear of man brings a snare. . . ” (Prov. 29:25). Fear of the people or the things of the world also leads to “spirit of slavery.” (Rom. 8:15). If the Jews knew God’s love for them, they would not have feared. For there is nothing “able to separate us from the love of God.” (Rom. 8:38). God’s “perfect love casts out fear. . . ” (1 Jo. 4:18). Is the devil controlling you with fear in any area of your life? If so, rebuke the devil in Jesus’ name and ask God in faith to cast out your fear.
The fulfillment through Jesus. Jesus again is the fulfillment of this promise. Through Him, we have the strength to do all things: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13). “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,” (Eph. 3:16). Yet, His strength is perfected in your weakness: “And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” (2 Cor. 12:9). How might you make yourself weak to allow Christ’s powers to be perfected?
(7) The promise that God will be with you. Dt. 7:21. If the Jews followed God’s law, God also promised to dwell with His people. “You shall not dread them, for the Lord your God is in your midst, a great and awesome God.” (Dt. 7:21; Lev. 26:11). God has also promised that He will never leave you nor forsake you (Dt. 31:6; Heb. 13:5).
The fulfillment of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the fulfillment of this promise. He now dwells within you and guides you and answers your prayers when you follow God’s Word (1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19; 2 Tim. 1:14). Yet, your prayers may again be “hindered” when you are in rebellion (1 Pet. 3:7; cf., “We know that God doesn't listen to sinners, but he does listen to anyone who worships him and does his will.” Jo. 9:31; Prov. 15:29; Ps. 66:18; Prov. 28:9; Isa. 1:15). If your prayers are going unanswered, have you checked to see if you are rebelling against God? As a nation, shouldn’t we also expect that God will guide a people and answer their prayers when they turn to Him and obey His Law out of love and not obligation?
God only promises victory in small steps. Although we can trust God’s promises, we cannot control the timing of when He will fulfill them. Take, for example, the failure of the Jews to invade the Promised Land based upon the false report of the Jewish spies. The size of their enemies caused 10 of the Jewish spies to feel like grasshoppers (Nu. 13:33). They feared that they could not dislodge the alleged “giants” all at once. But God did not promise to instantaneously remove the Canaanites from the land. He instead promised to drive them out “The Lord your God will clear away these nations before you little by little; you will not be able to put an end to them quickly, for the wild beasts would grow too numerous for you. But the Lord your God will deliver them before you, and will throw them into great confusion until they are destroyed. He will deliver their kings into your hand so that you will make their name perish from under heaven; no man will be able to stand before you until you have destroyed them.” (Dt. 7:22-24). “I will drive them out before you little by little, until you become fruitful and take possession of the land.” (Ex. 23:30). If the 10 doubting Jewish spies heeded His promises, they would not have felt the need to conquer all of the Promised Land at once. Will you find victory with God if He rewards you “little by little?” Or, do you expect Him to give you everything at once? If so, are you setting yourself up for disappointment in God?
Tolerance of the evil is not a virtue. Finally, God warned the Jews not to tolerate evil things around them. If they accepted what God called evil, they would be ensnared by sin: “The graven images of their gods you are to burn with fire; you shall not covet the silver or the gold that is on them, nor take it for yourselves, or you will be snared by it, for it is an abomination to the Lord your God. You shall not bring an abomination into your house, and like it come under the ban; you shall utterly detest it and you shall utterly abhor it, for it is something banned.” (Dt. 7:25-26). In Numbers, God also told the Jews to drive out the Canaanites and to “destroy all their figured stones and destroy all their molten images and demolish all their high places.” (Nu. 33:52). God also warned them that the Canaanites would become a snare to them if they tried to live with them: “But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall come about that those whom you let remain of them will become as pricks in your eyes and as thorns in your side.” (Nu. 33:55; Ex. 23:23-33; Dt. 7:1-6; 12:29). Our God is “a jealous God.” (Ex. 20:3-6). He took great efforts to free the Jews. He did not free them from enslavement to Egyptian vices only see them become enslaved to Canaanite vices. The same lesson applies to us. Is there sin that you are tolerating in your life?