Deuteronomy 12 (NLT) When you drive out the nations that live there, you must destroy all the places where they worship their gods—high on the mountains, up on the hills, and under every green tree. Break down their altars and smash their sacred pillars. Burn their Asherah poles and cut down their carved idols. Completely erase the names of their gods! Do not worship the LORD your God in the way these pagan peoples worship their gods. Rather, you must seek the LORD your God at the place of worship he himself will choose from among all the tribes—the place where his name will be honored… Your pattern of worship will change. Today all of you are doing as you please, because you have not yet arrived at the place of rest, the land the LORD your God is giving you as your special possession… You must celebrate there in the presence of the LORD your God with your sons and daughters and all your servants. And remember to include the Levites who live in your towns, for they will receive no allotment of land among you… You must eat these in the presence of the LORD your God at the place he will choose. Eat them there with your children, your servants, and the Levites who live in your towns, celebrating in the presence of the LORD your God in all you do… When the LORD your God goes ahead of you and destroys the nations and you drive them out and live in their land, do not fall into the trap of following their customs and worshiping their gods. Do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations worship their gods? I want to follow their example.’ You must not worship the LORD your God the way the other nations worship their gods, for they perform for their gods every detestable act that the LORD hates. They even burn their sons and daughters as sacrifices to their gods.

I know the question you must ask as did I – Why would a God of love direct His people to cause such destruction to their enemy’s property and idols? Is there no room for secularism in God’s eyes?

It’s been what feels like months since I last wrote and the reason is that I often need to humble myself at the foot of the cross to reflect on what God is speaking into my life and be refreshed by His loving presence.

This book of Deuteronomy has been really challenging because it has moved from the life stories of people of God to instructions and I am not big on listening carefully to instructions but rather I like the stories and emotions that are related through them.

Another aspect is that this book has pictures of God that are hard to explain away like today’s instruction at the start of the chapter that the Israelites were to drive out the nations living in the promised land and destroy all their places of worship and their gods.

Why would a perfectly loving God destroy His very own creation? To answer this, we must reflect on the ten commandments God gave Moses which start off by clarifying that the people of God shall have no other gods before Him. God being the creator cannot bear to see His creation worship gods of their own creation and not Him.

Much of the pagan worship of the Canaanites was a sexualized worship of fertility and nature and their shrines and temples were often in beautiful outdoor settings. God din’t want Israel to adopt this approach of worshipping the creature and not the Creator.

They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. Romans 1:25 (NLT)

The problem with us is that we are easily influenced by those we live among and their rituals and culture and this was what God did not want for His chosen people. Take for example accents. Children of one culture easily take on the accent of the land they live in just by hearing and responding. This also effects their way of thinking, their personality, likes, wants, desires, etc.

When we are ‘born again’ by the transforming blood of Jesus Christ, we are no longer residents of this world craving for the things of this world but instead we are a chosen generation who are given the opportunity to live in this dark world to direct the blind to the light of Jesus Christ.

Our hope is not in the tangible world around us but in the spiritual world that Jesus has promised to take us to one day. Therefore we cannot bank our hopes on things of this world but have to be set apart from it. Here are some verses for us to keep in mind about being set apart:

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (ESV)

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9 (ESV)

“I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.” John 17:15-18 (ESV)

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 (ESV)

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Romans 12:1 (ESV)

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy

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Comments
  1. Debbie says:

    Thank you, Vineet, for helping us see His love for us . . .not His harshness, in what He asked His people to do as they came into the land He’d promised them. Praying to listen to Him and obey, to be in the world but not of it. God bless you and yours and your time with Him!

    • ServantBoy says:

      Thank you Debbie for continuing to stop by and encourage me to keep seeking Jesus’ face. I’ve taken many weeks off trying to refocus my relationship with Jesus where I hope to be about His business rather than mine. Hope you and your precious ones are doing well. God bless you in everything you do for His glory!

  2. Brian says:

    I also wondered about and questioned the destruction of the people in the land of Canaan. However when I read in Gen 15:16, that it was actually as a result of their sins that this would happen to them, then I understood that God was not doing it for nothing. True to His nature, He was patient with the people but they did not change. Deuteronomy 30 also helped me to understand His fairness and impartiality when God actually said the same thing would happen to them (Israel) if they forsook His ways; and it eventually did to an extent. By the way I also like to write my own personal journals on this Christian website called Halluco. So its cool to see that others do it too!

    • ServantBoy says:

      Hi Brian,
      Thank you for stopping by and sharing your wisdom. Yes, you are right that God had perfectly justifiable reasons for doing what He did to those who disobeyed Him. I’ve often been asked or hear of people making harsh comments towards the God of the OT and contrasting this God to Jesus stating that they are two different people. In the last few weeks, I’ve been studying the gospels again and have found that the character and personality of Jesus is no different from His father and that both are about their glory and work in perfect unison.
      Thank you for sharing a link to your site. I hope to pop by and read what you have been blogging.
      Blessings,
      Vineet

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