Israel’s entrance into Canaan was on the horizon. As they approached that great occasion, the Israelites needed to be prepared mentally.
Against great odds, Israel would prevail (7:1) – In the land of Canaan, the Israelites would encounter seven nations that were “greater and mightier” than Israel was. Not to worry, as God would cast out those nations (7:1). Israel must not shrink back in fear: “You shall not be terrified of them; for the LORD your God, the great and awesome God, is among you” (7:21). As we face battles in our lives, we, too, take comfort in God’s blessings and presence with us.
For Israel’s good, there were specific instructions about how to deal with the Canaanites (7:2-5) – God charged His people to conquer and destroy the Canaanites (7:2), make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them (7:2), do not intermarry with them (7:3), and destroy their idols and religious altars (7:4). Such commands were both correct and doable.
Being God’s chosen people brought lofty expectations (7:6) – “For you are a holy people to the LORD . . . a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth” (7:6). Israel was chosen, special, and holy – at least that was God’s desire for them! As Christians, living under the banner “God’s chosen people” still carries the great demand for us to be separated from the world’s darkness (1 Peter 2:9).
God’s love for Israel (7:7,8) – What Moses told Israel was no secret: “the LORD loves you” (7:8). The unchanging God of heaven is love (1 John 4:8). Why had God shown His love for Israel? Not because the Israelites were more in number than others (7:7), but rather because He was committed to fulfilling the promises which He had made to their forefathers (7:8).
Material and physical blessings for an obedient Israel (7:12-15) – God promised that due to His love and mercy, He would bless and multiply the Israelites, their crops, and their animals (7:12,13). At the same time, He would protect them from diseases (7:15). While the new covenant speaks less about God providing for the material and physical needs of Christians (such is noted in Matthew 6:31-33 and Philippians 4:18,19), the principle of God blessing those who submit to Him stands true today, too.
Hatred for idols (7:26) – Not only did Jehovah command Israel not to bring an abominable idle into their houses, He also told them, “You shall utterly detest it and utterly abhor it” (7:26). Let us not miss the point. It is not enough to abstain from sin: we must hate all forms of sin and what it does to those who engage in it. God hates it, too (Hebrews 1:9).
— Roger D. Campbell