Moses wanted his people to return to the promise land. Knowing his people were prone to lust for the wrong things (i.e. remember "We're having Quail for supper!") Moses warned his people that the biggest problems facing them in the new land would be the evil beliefs of the inhabitants there. Israel would be consumed not by the people but by the idols and pagan beliefs there, if allowed to persist.
If Israel, 'The Church' at the time, adopted those cultures' values, they would be as evil or worse. While God promised great blessings of military victory over the promised land opposition, God also reminded them that it was not for Israel's righteousness that he would raze the opponents cities, but because of the promises he had made through covenants with their forefathers.
Covenants are a big deal with God, and they should be understood and valued by God's people. God's remembrance of The Covenants, like living roots on a dying tree, are our only hope for the Christian church to see future life and purpose with Jesus on this earth.
7:1 When the Lord thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;
7:2 And when the Lord thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them;
7:3 Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.
7:4 For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods
7:7 The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people;
7:8 But because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
7:9 Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;
Deuteronomy 9:6 ...Understand therefore, that the Lord thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiff-necked people.
So the question to be asked, is how today is the church accepting or rejecting the values of the culture surrounding it? The problem is, without knowing God's word, one can't adequately judge between good and evil. The foundational question is: does the Church adequately know and live by the Word of God to be able to judge between society's influence and the Spirit's?
What was the value God placed on marriages back then? What should the church's value on marriage be today?
The big warning was if Israel pursued the cultures' values (i.e. "Their Gods"), it would destroy them. The church was to make sure no vestige of the world replaced the true God who ransomed them: The same advice exists today: do not accept the cultures Gods, that is, what the culture values, and substitute it for the real God. No, they were to destroy it. As a church, our calling is to destroy lies with truth.
Deuteronomy 6: 14 Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you;
Deuteronomy 7: 25 The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire; thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that in on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein; for it is an abomination to the Lord thy God.
7:26 Neither 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.
The church has to know that there will always be blessed and cursed choices before it. Thomas Jefferson said "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." So too, is it for the church. The church must be eternally vigilant in discerning the choices set forth by the culture and those set forth by God. This has been the church's problem since Moses' day.
So Moses set before the people a blessing and a cursing. It was up to the people how to respond. The blessing would come if commandments were kept; the cursing would come if commandments were broken:
26 Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse;
27 A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day;
28 And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.
What was the blessing? Physical and spiritual life, health, and prosperity.
What was the cursing? That for disobedience they would suffer without the Spirit and protection of God, and in the hands of others, being tossed like a leaf in a storm. But realize, God never lost His passion for them. He does not today.
How did the church's disobedience start? Disregard for the word of God with simultaneous lust to be like the culture around it. That has always been the problem.
The same consequences face the church in any age: blessing for obedience, punishment for disobedience. The point to realize is that the church, yes God's Church, has strayed before and is ever capable of it. The fundamental issue becomes, what path will it choose?
Despite disobedience, God extends a promise to Israel, the ancient covenant people, that they will return to Him. Realize that this covenant has yet to be fulfilled in the history of time. It still awaits us in the world's future:
The promise: Deuteronomy 30
Intro Mercies promised unto the repentant -- The commandment manifest -- Death and life set before them.
1 And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing, and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath driven thee,
2 And shalt return unto the Lord thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul;
3 That then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee.
4 If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the Lord thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee;
5 And the Lord thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers.
10 If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.
11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.
12 It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.
15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;
16 In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply; and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.
17 But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;
18 I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.
19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live;
God's people/church, the Tribes of Israel, are given clear instruction to follow God exactly. Do they do it?
Remember, these promises for cursing and blessing were not pronounced upon the heathen--these were GOD'S PEOPLE receiving this counsel and chastisement.
God's people were the ones prone to stray, can they do so still today?
Read the next lesson at Stray? Not Us, Never....Joshua's Real Battle