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Also you shall destroy all the peoples whom the Lord your God delivers over to you; your eye shall have no pity on them; nor shall you serve their gods, for that will be a snare to you. (Deuteronomy 7:16)

This verse uses some pretty strong language in regard to the enemies of Israel — they were to be destroyed without pity. On the surface, that seems to go against everything we believe God to be — merciful, compassionate, long suffering etc. Of course, He is all those things and so why would He say something that seems to challenge that? First of all, let us remember that four centuries before this instruction to destroy the people of the land, God had set a righteous family among these very same people as an example to them. Not only that, He had given these nations 400 years to alter their ways so as not to be destroyed. Point being, He is long suffering but He is also just and does not allow the guilty to escape justice. Apparently, these people had much to answer for.

Secondly, allowing these people to remain meant allowing their beliefs to remain, i.e. their false gods. Moses explicitly says, the gods would be a “snare” for God’s people. The Hebrew word translated “snare” is מוקש mokesh and is numerically equivalent to the Hebrew word מות mavet or “death” (all Hebrew letters have a numerical value). In other words, the gods of the land and what they represented might appear to be attractive but they are death to God’s people. In fact, these gods of wood and stone were often overlaid with gold, silver and ornaments so as to disguise their true “nature.” By that I mean the “beautiful” was meant to conceal their worthlessness.

This practice fits perfectly with the methodology of the Adversary –- he presents the attractive and the “good” but hides the snare that leads to death. In consideration of previous posts regarding the word, עקב ekev (“heel”), it is interesting to consider that many snares are designed to catch their prey by the heel. David wrote that, “The sorrows of Sheol surrounded me; the snares (mokesh) of death (mavet) confronted me” (Psalm 18:5). However, when confronted with these situations, David responded properly because he also said, “In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry came before Him, even to His ears” (Psalm 18:6).

The Adversary is good at what he does — he’s been at it a long time. However, our Creator is even better at what He does and He has been at it since … well forever. So then, let us look to Him and not the supposed beauty of what this world has to offer. Remember that all that glitters is not gold; in fact, it may be a snare that leads to death. Consequently, we should not lament the destruction of those things that would, given the opportunity, destroy us. Rather let us look unto the Author and Finisher of our faith and follow Him that we might live and prosper.

Blessings and Shalom,  




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