August 21, 2019

Can You Be Holy in a Crazy World?

Deuteronomy 7

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A Chosen People

“When the LORD your God brings you into the land that you are entering to take possession of it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations more numerous and mightier than you, and when the LORD your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them, then you must devote them to complete destruction.1 You shall make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them. You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the LORD would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly. But thus shall you deal with them: you shall break down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and chop down their Asherim and burn their carved images with fire.

“For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, 10 and repays to their face those who hate him, by destroying them. He will not be slack with one who hates him. He will repay him to his face. 11 You shall therefore be careful to do the commandment and the statutes and the rules that I command you today.

12 “And because you listen to these rules and keep and do them, the LORD your God will keep with you the covenant and the steadfast love that he swore to your fathers. 13 He will love you, bless you, and multiply you. He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your wine and your oil, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock, in the land that he swore to your fathers to give you. 14 You shall be blessed above all peoples. There shall not be male or female barren among you or among your livestock. 15 And the LORD will take away from you all sickness, and none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which you knew, will he inflict on you, but he will lay them on all who hate you. 16 And you shall consume all the peoples that the LORD your God will give over to you. Your eye shall not pity them, neither shall you serve their gods, for that would be a snare to you.

17 “If you say in your heart, ‘These nations are greater than I. How can I dispossess them?’ 18 you shall not be afraid of them but you shall remember what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt, 19 the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs, the wonders, the mighty hand, and the outstretched arm, by which the LORD your God brought you out. So will the LORD your God do to all the peoples of whom you are afraid. 20 Moreover, the LORD your God will send hornets among them, until those who are left and hide themselves from you are destroyed. 21 You shall not be in dread of them, for the LORD your God is in your midst, a great and awesome God. 22 The LORD your God will clear away these nations before you little by little. You may not make an end of them at once,2 lest the wild beasts grow too numerous for you. 23 But the LORD your God will give them over to you and throw them into great confusion, until they are destroyed. 24 And he will give their kings into your hand, and you shall make their name perish from under heaven. No one shall be able to stand against you until you have destroyed them. 25 The carved images of their gods you shall burn with fire. You shall not covet the silver or the gold that is on them or take it for yourselves, lest you be ensnared by it, for it is an abomination to the LORD your God. 26 And you shall not bring an abominable thing into your house and become devoted to destruction3 like it. You shall utterly detest and abhor it, for it is devoted to destruction.


[1] 7:2 That is, set apart (devote) as an offering to the Lord (for destruction)
[2] 7:22 Or quickly
[3] 7:26 That is, set apart (devoted) as an offering to the Lord (for destruction); twice in this verse

Can You Be Holy in a Crazy World?

Key Verse | Deuteronomy 7:6

"For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth."

Bio | Sheri Gilstrap

Hi there! Who am I? I would rather write 100 devotionals than have to write something about myself. I always want to have something witty to say or insert some cool joke, but God made me a quiet and focused person who is to the point in conversations. So here goes: I am a daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, friend, and dog mommy. But most importantly, I am a daughter of the King. On Monday nights, you can find me leading and hanging with all the cool people at re:generation, Watermark's biblically based 12-step discipleship ministry for healing, recovery, and freedom from any type of struggle. Come and see what God has in store for you there.

Central Truth

Being holy is hard! There are so many things to distract us from who God is that we seem to get overwhelmed with how to live. But God has given us a whole book of instructions, and we just need to sit, learn, let it soak in, and live!

Devotional | Deuteronomy 7

This chapter starts with God telling the Israelites that He will clear the land for them. It is followed by the instruction that they "must devote [the seven nations] to complete destruction"...

This chapter starts with God telling the Israelites that He will clear the land for them. It is followed by the instruction that they "must devote [the seven nations] to complete destruction" (Deuteronomy 7:2) and finishes with His command to destroy all the carved images of these nations' gods and not to covet the silver and gold "lest you be ensnared by it" (Deuteronomy 7:25).

Why is this so important in today's world? God knows our hearts and how easily we are led astray. We think we can manage a little sin in our lives and be holy on our own. And you know what, in the beginning, we deceive ourselves into thinking we're succeeding. But as time goes by, it becomes evident that those "little" sins have served as a snare and a foothold for our enemy.

In our pursuit of holiness, we have to guard against what so easily entangles. It's like those cookies on my counter at home: they're within view, within reach, and always a temptation. Before I know it, my resistance turns into just one cookie; and just one cookie into an empty jar. Having those things that entice us in sight or accessible is just asking for trouble. My appetite for sin—just like the metaphorical cookie—is awakened and too overwhelming to suppress.

Such are the things of this world when we leave them for our eyes to see. God has given us instructions in life to show us how to live and how these instructions are for our best and His glory. When we replace our selfish desires with His, we come to see that His plan of being set apart is really not so hard. And the overwhelmingly compelling benefit is our new life in Christ. God understands the power of temptation, which is why He commanded us to remove what we can—those idols that compete for our affections. He wants us to see that only He can fully satisfy our every need.

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Discussion Questions

1. What idols are you letting seep into your daily life?

2. How can you renew your mind for the next 24 hours to be sober from that "thing" that keeps enticing you?

3. Is there someone you can share the Good News with today so that they, too, might know they can break free from the idols that are holding them in chains?

8 Comments available

Mary Buri 37 minutes ago

I had to delete Pinterest! And rarely get on Facebook! Both of those make me compare myself too much to others. They give me the impression that how I look and how nice my clothes or house are is what matters in this life and before I know it I’m striving for that goal instead of focusing on loving Jesus and helping others know Him!

John Hill 37 minutes ago

Great job with the devo Sheri. When I initially read…“then you must devote them to complete destruction. You shall make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them”… I was “surprised” with God’s instructions. But, as I considered the “bad seeds” that would be sown into the nation of Israel, I realized God wants to leave NO provision for people or things that will draw us apart from Him! God knows temptations are real and can easily draw us away from HIS will for our lives.

Joshua Mathew 37 minutes ago

im struggling with stuff i watch

Hope Harris about 3 hours ago

I have been having a conversation with someone who has been comparing interracial marriage to gay marriage.

Here in Deuteronomy 7 is where the question is planted. One thought strikes me today is: Is the Bible that had it wrong about interracial marriage or broken fallen people who had it wrong? From my perspective I believe the later is true.

As I have shared with my friend gay marriage /rights are not a civil rights issue because the social construct of being born gay is not found in scripture. It is illogical from a biblical perspective to to compare sexual orientation or gender confusion to race or ethnicity.

For further thoughts I recommend John Piper’s message Racial Harmony and Interracial Marriage.

Sue Bohlin about 3 hours ago

Bless you Sheri! We need to instruct and encourage each other about idols lest we think they disappeared in Bible times.

I am so glad the Lord told His people before they crossed over the Jordan that He would have them “clear away these nations before you little by little,” lest the wild beast population explode with no people around. What a picture of the process of sanctification, of cooperating with the Lord to take back spiritual real estate so we can plant the banner of the Lordship of Christ on more and more internal territory of our souls. In our impatience, we want instant, lasting change to put an end to our struggles–but the process of surrendering each square inch of our souls to the Lord is what builds our maturity and Christlikeness.

Lindsey Driscoll about 4 hours ago

Sheri, incredible devo! I am continually reminded that God wants us to uproot our sin, we saw it in numbers and now in Deuteronomy as well. The Lord continues to command Israel to “destroy them (other nations) totally.” (7:2) I love how God proclaims in verses 19-25 what he will do to drive the sinful nations out from tempting Israel. Q1 - Those idols and temptations that seep in to life: comfort, laziness, lust, discontentment, anxiety, and feeling overwhelmed. Meditating on how the Lord has promised to be faithful to “provide a way out” as Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:1-13. Paul recounts numerous times that Israel gave into temptation (see Numbers) and then ends with the reminder that God will provide a way out.

Michael Scaman about 23 hours ago

Can you be holy in a crazy world? Well, you can taste and see that the Lord is good in a crazy world.

The subtitle for Psalm 34 shows it was written regarding the time David had to drool over his beard to escape a dangerous Philistine leader. In the Psalms David sings ‘Taste and see that the Lord is good’ even while he had one of the craziest times of his life.

Hugh Stephenson 3 days ago

2 Timothy 3:16 From verse 1, Who are the 7 numerous and mighty “many nations before you” in my life? The Fear-ites, Anxiety-ites, Lust-ites, Greed-ites, Slander-ites, Guilt-ites and Anger-ites.

Why does God call me to completely eliminate them? He knows that if I don’t break down, chop down, dash and burn them, then the empty house and the roaring lion will apply to me, (Matthew 12:43-45, 1 Peter 5:8).

Verses 6-16 tell me I am the one sheep for whom He will leave the 99 and go rescue me, (Luke 15:4)

More than that, He promises He will crush all opposition. In my surrender, Jehovah-Jireh provides for me, guards me, defeats my former enemies.

Occasionally I am asked if I am ever tempted with alcohol or porn. I am not. Though I still have thorns in my flesh, His grace is sufficient.

Cory Asbury sings “Reckless Love”

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