The first few chapters in Deuteronomy are full of gratitude. Moses reminds the Israelites over and over again that they did not earn God’s favor or their own salvation. Everything they had was because of God’s grace.
Out of that gratitude, Moses urged the Israelites to be content. Even in hard times, they were to be satisfied with what God had given them. After all, if they weren’t content with what they already had, they would never be content with what they sought to gain—a good reminder for all of us.
Moses knew that obedience flows out of contentment in present circumstances, not out of striving after worthless things. Because of this, he warned the Israelites to follow God rather than the ways of the world.
Judgment on the Nations
One of Moses’s warnings concerned the people living in the land of Canaan. God was going to use Israel as His rod of divine judgment; they were to destroy the nations there completely. However, this was not because of Israel’s worthiness, but because of God’s character. It would have been wrong for the Israelites to do this on their own arrogant presumption, but we can trust that God was both good and just in this judgment.
Part of the reason for this seemingly unjust command was the need for separation from the nations. After all, they were utterly corrupt, walking adversely to the Lord. They would turn the Israelites away from God, causing them to worship idols and walk in evil ways, even sacrificing their children to foreign gods.
Now, that’s not to say every single person was evil—some, like Rahab, came to believe in God. But Moses knew the Israelites would be seduced by the nations around them.
Separation from the World
We, too, need to be on guard about what we surround ourselves with. We need to be in the world but not of the world, agents of salt and light. The world will clamor for our attention, giving its siren call to trust in possessions, pleasure, prestige, popularity, promotion, power, and performance.
We, however, must not give in, but must remember God’s calling on our lives.
Watch part 104 of the 365 Key Chapters of the Bible series, based on Ken’s Handbook to Scripture.
Need help understanding the fear of the Lord? Check out this article by Ken.