No other Gods

no other gods

Wednesday 05/15/19

Series: Thru the Bible

Message –  No other Gods – Deut. 7 & 8

Deut. 7:1-5, HCSB “When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess, and He drives out many nations before you–the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations more numerous and powerful than you– (2) and when the LORD your God delivers them over to you and you defeat them, you must completely destroy them. Make no treaty with them and show them no mercy. (3) Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, (4) because they will turn your sons away from Me to worship other gods. Then the LORD’s anger will burn against you, and He will swiftly destroy you. (5) Instead, this is what you are to do to them: tear down their altars, smash their standing pillars, cut down their Asherah poles, and burn up their carved images.”

God sometimes meets out judgment through His people…

Sometimes God has Israel defeat a nation, which OFTEN involves killing it’s leaders, but will allow the women to be brought back as wives.

Other times God has allows them to bring them back as slaves (though there were laws regarding their treatment).

Other times God’s commands them to kill them all and show them NO mercy!

Each of these are SPECIFIC judgments and they differ based upon the people He is judging, the nature of their sin and the willfulness of their rejection of Him (or at very least their failure to seek after Him).

Remember and NEVER forget:

  • ALL of these nations descend from someone!
  • God knows these people – each of them by name and desires NONE to be lost but ALL to surrender to the knowledge of the turth!
  • EVERY nation is GIVEN the land they had that they might seek after God and find Him.
  • Each are allotted a certain amount of time (predicated on MANY variables – such as – did any of their immediate descendants ever know God, are they guilty of just not seeking God or are they guilty of knowing about Him but rejecting Him out of spite or defiance….etc. and many others). ALL of which might affect how long they are give to seek God and find Him before judgment.

So WHO are these people that God’s judgment is so complete against them?

  1. The Hittites — Descendants of Ham. They are the offspring of Heth, the second son of Canaan (Gen. 10:15). They occupied the mountainous region around Hebron, in the south of Palestine.
  2. The Girgashites — These were also descended from Canaan. They occupy a place on the west of Jordan (Joshua 24:11), and may be a singular branch of the large family of the Hivites.
  3. The Amorites — Descended from Emer the fourth son of Canaan. They occupied sizeable settlements west of the Dead Sea, in the mountains.
  4. The Canaanites — These derived their name from Canaan himself and were located in Phoenicia, particularly about Tyre and Sidon.
  5. The Hivites — These were the original “Village people” since that is what their name means. They lived about Ebal and Gerizim, extending towards Hermon. They may be the same people as the Avims.
  6. The Perizzites — These were also “Village people” in that their name means “Belonging to a village”. They were a tribe who were dispersed throughout the country and lived in unwalled towns in the southern portion of Canaan.
  7. The Jebusites — They occupied the territory about where Jerusalem and the adjacent country would eventually be.

God called these seven nations greater and mightier than you

Now, way back in Gen. 15:19-21 God had told Abraham He was going to drive out 10 nations, but in span of the nearly five hundred plus years, since God spoke to Abraham some of them had already been extinguished before Israel arrived and some may have been destroyed BY Israel themselves though it remains unmentioned.

Kill them ALL

God tells Israel to kill them all – showing NO mercy. That these were all the descendants of Ham and had rebellion and sin rooted in their ways since the flood – all that is surprising about this is that God allowed them SO MUCH time to seek Him. They were to show no mercy for mercy had already been shown in abundance and was summarily rejected! As God said, “My spirit will not always strive with man.” [Gen. 6:3] The idea of that word strive in that pre-flood context was VERY much the same as God’s view of these nations here. It means to plead the cause of, strive & quarrel with…God had done His convincing and convicting and He was DONE – Their time was up!

DO NOT MARRY THEM!

This was sometimes done, but not this time! One has to ask why? Is God being unjust? Does God give preferential treatment to other nations but not to them?

NO! God is JUST and God does not play favorites – He shows NO partiality!! “What a man sows he will reap.”!

These people would have turned their hearts away from God and so sweep Israel into the same destruction as was declared upon them!

Notice He does not say, their sons will turn the hearts of your daughters but, “because their daughters will turn your sons away from Me to worship other gods.”

As I have told you, God has ALWAYS reacted strongly against His people intermingling with unbelievers! THAT was the reason and cause of the flood – NOT some silly, fanciful & imaginary mingling of the angelic with the mortal, but an intermarrying of the just with the unjust!

This was Adam with Eve all over again. This was the pre-flood world all over again! Like in Isaiah – a book dedicated to the restoration of Israel and Judah who had been romanced away to become unequally yoked with the wicked. God told them,

Isa. 54:4-10, HCSB “Do not be afraid, for you will not be put to shame; don’t be humiliated, for you will not be disgraced. For you will forget the shame of your youth, and you will no longer remember the disgrace of your widowhood. (5) For your husband is your Maker–His name is Yahweh of Hosts–and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; He is called the God of all the earth. (6) For the LORD has called you, like a wife deserted and wounded in spirit, a wife of one’s youth when she is rejected,” says your God. (7) “I deserted you for a brief moment, but I will take you back with great compassion. (8) In a surge of anger I hid My face from you for a moment, but I will have compassion on you with everlasting love,” says the LORD your Redeemer. (9) “For this is like the days of Noah to Me: when I swore that the waters of Noah would never flood the earth again, so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you or rebuke you. (10) Though the mountains move and the hills shake, My love will not be removed from you and My covenant of peace will not be shaken,” says your compassionate LORD.”

So what ARE they to do?

  • Tear down their altars
  • Smash their pillars
  • Cut down their Asherah poles – they likeness of which was that of a tree [not groves – the image of this goddess was often associated with high places filled with green trees and thus the misleading translation of “groves”]. We are NOT 100% certain what these were – though they were associated with the fertility goddess Asherah who is often portrayed as a consort of Baal.  
  • Burn their carved images

Deut. 7:6-26, HCSB “(6) For you are a holy people belonging to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be His own possession out of all the peoples on the face of the earth. (7) “The LORD was devoted to you and chose you, not because you were more numerous than all peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. (8) But because the LORD loved you and kept the oath He swore to your fathers, He brought you out with a strong hand and redeemed you from the place of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. (9) Know that Yahweh (The self-existent One) your God is God, the faithful God who keeps His gracious covenant loyalty for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commands. (10) But He directly pays back and destroys those who hate Him. He will not hesitate to directly pay back the one who hates Him.”

I LOVE the God I have found in the actual reading and studying of the scriptures! He is ALL TOGETHER more compelling and more awe-inspiring than the caricature of God I followed through my youth and on-past college!

He owns Who He is and He makes NO apologies for Who He is or what He does.

God will bless you and keep covenant with the faithful but if someone hates Him – He will destroy them TO THEIR FACE!

Notice the “if/then” of God…

But before you do remember – NO ONE was holding a gun to God’s head. It is VERY important that we remember that!

God says WHAT He says because it originates from within His Own heart! He IS WHO HE IS – Just like He told Moses at the bush!

“ (11) So keep the command–the statutes and ordinances–that I am giving you to follow today.

(12) “If you listen to and are careful to keep these ordinances [SHEMA], the LORD your God will keep His covenant loyalty with you, as He swore to your fathers.

(13) He will love you, bless you, and multiply you.

He will bless your descendants, and the produce of your soil–your grain, new wine, and oil–the young of your herds, and the newborn of your flocks, in the land He swore to your fathers that He would give you. (14) You will be blessed above all peoples; there will be no infertile male or female among you or your livestock. (15) The LORD will remove all sickness from you; He will not put on you all the terrible diseases of Egypt that you know about, but He will inflict them on all who hate you.”

Whether you realize it or not THIS is what 2 Chronicles 7:14 is ACTUALLY addressing. Solomon was NOT asking God in 2 Chronicles 7:14 to heal the POLITICAL landscape by giving them another king who was godly. Solomon, after building the temple asked God to hear His people when they repent from NOT obeying His commandments resulting in all of these curses falling on them. The curses (which are not listed here) are the OPPOSITE of the blessings which ARE listed here. Solomon was asking God to heal their land from pestilence like locusts and hornets, from dirth and drought, IF they would turn back to Him with all their hearts.

So God is saying, IF you will obey this good stuff will come on you and overtake you.

HOWEVER, if you DISOBEY I will BRING ON YOU the complete opposite.

In our WoF days, we would say, “God does not bring any of these things on people.” We would then reference some cherry picked verse out of context like in Isa. 54:14, which says that if people come against you it will not be because of me and I will destroy them. But this was stated in a hypothetical context of a restored Israel who was walking in obedience to their God.

I remember hearing brother Copeland say, God doesn’t give anyone Leprosy – He doesn’t have any to give! Yet, we’ve seen at least twice God has claimed responsibility for having given leprosy to both Moses on his hand for a miracle and Miriam for judgment.

HERE, in this passage we see God is claiming responsibility for bringing disaster like boils & hornets and such for the destruction of His enemies….Let’s read it!

“(16) You must destroy all the peoples the LORD your God is delivering over to you and not look on them with pity. Do not worship their gods, for that will be a snare to you. (17) “If you say to yourself, ‘These nations are greater than I; how can I drive them out?’ (18) do not be afraid of them. Be sure to remember what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and all Egypt: (19) the great trials that you saw, the signs and wonders, the strong hand and outstretched arm, by which the LORD your God brought you out. The LORD your God will do the same to all the peoples you fear. (20) The LORD your God will also send the hornet against them until all the survivors and those hiding from you perish. (21) Don’t be terrified of them, for the LORD your God, a great and awesome God, is among you. (22) The LORD your God will drive out these nations before you little by little. You will not be able to destroy them all at once; otherwise, the wild animals will become too numerous for you. (23) The LORD your God will give them over to you and throw them into great confusion until they are destroyed. (24) He will hand their kings over to you, and you will wipe out their names under heaven. No one will be able to stand against you; you will annihilate them. (25) You must burn up the carved images of their gods. Don’t covet the silver and gold on the images and take it for yourself, or else you will be ensnared by it, for it is abhorrent to the LORD your God. (26) You must not bring any abhorrent thing into your house, or you will be set apart for destruction like it. You are to utterly detest and abhor it, because it is set apart for destruction.”

Chapter 8

Deut. 8:1-20, NKJV “Every commandment which I command you today you must be careful to observe, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers.”

You will remember that last week I spoke to you and played a video illustrating the definition of the word Shema.

Do you recall its meaning? To hear and obey with reverence.

This week I am introducing the word Shamar, which is the word translated by “careful to observe”. While the words have a similar meaning as well as sounding similar in English – they actually have quite different etymologies and are not related at all.

The Hebrew word shema means “to hear and do.” while, shamar means to guard, beware or keep.

They juxtapose well since when we guard or keep God’s commands, we will hear and do them and the other way about.

The concepts of guarding/keeping and hearing/doing go hand-in-glove. When we Shema & Shamar God’s word we are prevented from falling into idolatry.

“(2) And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. (3) So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD. (4) Your garments did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years. (5) You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the LORD your God chastens you.”

These are POWERFUL words and teach us much!

First off we see that in the keeping of the commands and guarding our hearts against breaking them – it is actually NOT a practice of organized religion but relational to its core. God describes it here as remembering or NOT FORGETTING God HIMSELF…and not just HIM but what He has DONE with and to you and WHY He did it! In other words – HAVE EYES TO SEE AND EARS TO HEAR what God was saying and doing with you!

He is testing the heart…and here we see another example of God’s wisdom and power. Though God is limitless in power, He does not spend energy needlessly – He practices a type of economy of practice. More often than not, God is accomplishing multiple things in any given action He takes.

What have we learned so far was the purpose of the 40 years in the wilderness?

  • Judgment on the first generation tempered with mercy in that He did not utterly destroy them in a moment!
  • A tool for teaching the second generation to bear with the iniquity and weaknesses of others and bear their oppressive burdens with them without complaint!

…and here we are given yet another reason.

“to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.”

Now these thoughts are MUCH bigger than the naked eye can see! Testing AND trial (though they come from different sources) are necessary for the fortification of God’s people.

God tests to reveal what is in the heart. NOT TO HIM – but to us!

God knows both the thought and the intentions of the heart and the word of the tongue BEFORE it is spoken [Ps. 139:1-4; Heb. 4:12]. So like any good teacher, the test is given to show you where you really are so that you can have confidence that you truly do know something or to reveal a weakness you may not have realized that you have. Good teachers do this to prepare you for further advancement in college, university or career or life – not to frustrate and fail you!

Satan, who could be likened to an evil teacher brings trials to tempt you away from the truth – or in the context of a test – away from the correct answer. He suggests lies to believe “Did God really say?” “Is God really good?”…etc.

Here God was testing to reveal so as to set them up for success rather than failure!

GOD IS GOOD!

“(6)Therefore you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him. (7) For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; (8) a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; (9) a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper.”

I do not believe that God is encouraging obedience for a cookie here, but He is  reminding them of the nature of their relationship to Him as Creator/provider. Remember this is an ancient relationship God has always had with man due to WHO they are and WHO HE is! Also, it is the nature of the Jacob’s stated relationship with God- Jacob being their immediate father (after whom they were named – Israel). Jacob had said, if You will be with me wherever I go and provide for me – then You will be my God. God is simply continuing to reinforce the obvious – because with humans, even the obvious is not always obvious!

Also, notice the abundance of the provision!

As a side note, notice God has left the idiom “milk and honey” and goes into specifics. Notice also that he mentions the honey next to another PRODUCT which comes FROM something, but is not naturally occurring.

Olives occur naturally – oil OIL is produced. Honey (as we know it) is naturally produced by bees, but what the meant by the word honey was a jam or preserve made from dates, grapes or figs.

“(10) When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you. (11) “Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, (12) lest–when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; (13) and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; (14) when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; (15) who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water; who brought water for you out of the flinty rock; (16) who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end– (17) then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’ (18) “And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. (19) Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the LORD your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish. (20) As the nations which the LORD destroys before you, so you shall perish, because you would not be obedient to the voice of the LORD your God.”

Remember do not forget! Pride goes before a fall!!

Blessings! 

I hope this message will bless you richly…not because I taught it, but because it reveals Christ. He alone is our blessing and if in any way – whether big or small, 100% accurate or even just partially so – I have revealed our great God and Savior to you in a relationally knowable way, then this was time well spent on both our parts.

We at Living Grace Fellowship encourage you to place your trust in Jesus Christ, deliberately choosing Him and bowing the knee to Him as your Master and Lord, so as to come to realize Him as your Savior.

You have a special place in God’s family & kingdom. The fact that you exist… that you are His creation, says you were in His heart, you are His delight!

If you do not know Him, please reach out to us. Give us a call at the number located on every page of this website or use our ‘Contact Us‘ page. We would be deeply honored, if you gave us the privilege of introducing you to the Lord. Neither money nor attendance at our church will EVER be mentioned.

If you HAVE been spiritually fed by this ministry and WANT to give, we truly appreciate that and you may do so here, but please understand that all the outreaches of this ministry are FREE for you and anyone to enjoy at no cost.

Blessings!

Hi I am Pastor Mark...

I have been a pastor for nearly 30 years now (2018), though never quite like I am today. (more on that in a moment)

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As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my best friend, greatest personal support and most valued aid.
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As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught. I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled). Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then,

"If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling."

~ Fredrick Buechner

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By 2009 I’d been Pastoring for nearly 20 years. Earlier in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our church was not in keeping with the New Testament. This was a shock to me and it is was a revelation that did not come all at once but over the course of a few weeks.

We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until about 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We believe the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly and though we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keep authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provides teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me. I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!