Deuteronomy 7—What will it be for YOU? Fear or faith?

Deuteronomy 7:12, Because you listen. This verse shows the conditional nature of the Mosaic Covenant. Blessings are conditional upon obedience to YHVH’s Torah instructions in righteousness. It was a person’s choice to obey or not. Either way, the law of cause and effect would come into play. Blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience. The same is true with the New Covenant. If we place our faith in Yeshua the Messiah,who is the Living Torah, and love him by keeping his commandments (John 14:15), we will not only be blessed physically blessed here and now, but we will be blessed with eternal life. Those who refuse to place their faith in Yeshua and obey his commandments will receive the fruit of their disobedience now, and will also perish in the lake of fire. The law of cause and effect still applies to both the Mosaic Covenant and the New Covenant, and humans will reap the consequence of their actions based on the choices they make whether good or bad. It’s that simple.

Deuteronomy 7:17–18, Dispossess them…not be afraid. Do we walk by faith or by sight (i.e. relying strictly on human logic or intellect)? Was it logical to think that Israel could dispossess a fortified land full of people mightier and greater in number than themselves? Fear and logic are often the enemies of faith in YHVH’s Word and promises. Without faith it is impossible to please YHVH (Heb 11:6), and the just shall walk by faith (Heb 10:38). What is faith? (See Heb 11:1.) By faith the physical creation came into existence (Heb 11:3), therefore, faith preceded the physical creation and is the “mother” of it. From the “womb” of faith, if you will, came forth all that we see and know. That “womb” is the very heart, character and mind of YHVH Elohim. It is spiritual. We live in a physical dimension. The new heaven, new earth, and the Jerusalem from above, for which we look, will be of a spiritual dimension. Those who plan on being there must learn to walk in that dimension here and now by trusting in the Word and promises of YHVH for all of their needs. What lessons can we learn from the Israelites in this regard?

Deuteronomy 7:18; 8:2, 11, Remember… forget not. An essential element of a strong faith in the promises of YHVH (e.g. ­prosperity, verse 13; fruitfulness of the womb, verse 14; healing, verse 15; victory over enemies, verse 16; etc.) is to remember YHVH’s past accomplishments in your life: how he has healed you, prospered you, answered your prayers, transformed your life, delivered you from enemies and troubles, given meaning, hope and purpose to your life. In the last days, many are turning away from Yeshua the Messiah (who is also YHVH of the Tanakh, see Acts 7:36–38; 1 Cor 10:4, 9; and compare John 14:15 with Deut 11:1 and Exod 20:6) and are turning to idolatry, doubt and unbelief, secularism, materialism, hedonism, rabbinic Judaism and false religions because they have forgotten what YHVH-Yeshua did for them. Have you forgotten? To forget is a slippery slope that can lead to spiritual oblivion. Take a moment to recall the wonderful things he has done for you. Write them down. Remember them. Thank and praise him for them.

Deuteronomy 7:20–24, YHVH will go before you. Do you really believe that YHVH is leading you into your spiritual Promised Land? What is your mission, calling, destiny and purpose in life vis-à-vis helping to advance the kingdom of Elohim? As he promised to be with the Israelites and to go before them (7:20–24), so his promise commandments and faithfulness are for a thousand generations (7:9), which means they are for you! If you do not have a mission, goal or purpose (the Israelites’ goal and mission was to enter and to possess the Promised Land) then you will wander aimlessly in the wilderness indefinitely.

Deuteronomy 7:25, Carved images of their gods. This shows the link between the two commands contained in the ten statements or commandments relating to idolatry. The prohibition against the worshipping of false gods and making graven or carved images is actually one command with two parts. Men tend to worship idolize what they can see or make.

 

The just shall walk by faith, but…

Numbers 13:28, Nevertheless/but. This verse begins with the word but or nevertheless. The spies’ initial report (verse 27) was factual and was in agreement with what YHVH had already said about the land, but all that was disqualified and negated in the minds of the faithless spies by the statement in verse 28 beginning by the qualifier but. Medieval Jewish Torah commentator Rambam comments that the key word in their report that revealed them to be lacking in faith was the word but. By using a word that implied a contradiction to the optimism of their first two sentences, they were, in effect, telling that nation that no matter how rich and blessed the land was, it was beyond their reach. The inhabitants were too strong and their cities too impregnable. Ordinary human beings could not do battle with giants. Thus the spies were advising the nation not even to attempt an assault on Canaan.

Numbers 13:32, It is a land which devours its inhabitants.The Jewish commentators in The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash cogently observe, “Such misinterpretations are typical of people who choose not to have faith. Invariably they interpret events in a way that will conform to their own notions” (p. 803). Having faith in YHVH is a conscious choice that one has to make. Faith does not come automatically. Fear, doubt and unbelief do, however, and are part of the fallen nature or evil inclination that all men possess. 

Paul talks about leaving behind the fallen, faithless, sin-bent nature (Rom 7) and moving into a walk of faith in the Spirit of Elohim when in Romans 8:1–2 he contrasts the “law of sin and death” with “the law of the Spirit of life in Messiah Yeshua.” Through Yeshua we become more than conquerors (Rom 8:37). Moreover, 1 John 5:4 tells us, “For whatever is born of Elohim overcomes the world, and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith[i.e. faith in Yeshua who is the Author and Finisher of our faith, the One who gives us the gift of faith, the One in whom we have faith, and on whose words and promises believers stand firm and secure as a house built on a rock].” 

The fear of death is the mother of all fears and is what plagued the disbelieving Israelites. Through identification with Yeshua’s death, burial and resurrection at baptism (Rom 6:3–6) we too (through Yeshua) can be victorious over the sting of death and the grave, which is the death sentence upon all Torah-lawbreaking mortals (note 1 Corinthians 15:47–58 and rejoice!).

Numbers 13:33, And so we were in their eyes…(The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash). “As [Israelites] and emissaries of the [Israelite] people, they should have thought only of their mission, not of what anyone else thought of them (ibid., p. 803). 

What can we learn from the example of the 12 spies? We must walk by faith and not by sight always keeping our eyes on Yeshua. Remember the Gospel account of Peter walking on the water (Matt 14:22–33)? As long as Peter kept his eyes on Yeshua he was able to walk on the sea, but when he took his eyes off of Yeshua and looked at the stormy circumstances around him he began to sink. The Scriptures tells us, “Now the just shall live by faith, but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him” (Heb 10:38), and, “without faith it is impossible to please him, for he that comes to Elohim must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb 11:6).

 

Know Elohim, No Fear; No Elohim, Know Fear

Deuteronomy 3:22, Must fear them. The Scriptures reveal an interesting, and counter-intuitive spiritual principle that humans have a hard time wrapping their heads and hearts around. It is this: When we fear Elohim, we won’t fear our enemies. When we don’t fear Elohim, we will fear and be tormented by our enemies. 

What is it to fear Elohim? It is to walk in the wisdom of his commandments or his loving instructions in righteousness. Rebellious humans have a hard time doing this, since their sin nature is opposed to submitting to YHVH legal instructions (Jer 17:9; Rom 8:7). 

Once, however, one gets their sin nature under control with the help of Yeshua, and one begins to love and fear Elohim by keeping his commandments, suddenly the physical things they once feared no longer have any hold on their hearts and minds. 

Having defeated the greatest enemy of all—one’s sin nature—with Elohim’s help effectively empowers and emboldens the saint. He no longer fears what other people think about him because, in the long run, all that matters is what Elohim thinks. He no longer is concerned about his future physical needs and well-being because Elohim promises to take care of us when we trust and obey him. He no longer fears those who attack and persecute him, because he knows that with Elohim’s help, he can overcome any enemy. 

So now what is there left to fear? Death, which is the mother of all fears? No, for at the end of one’s life, the overcoming saint has the ultimate victory in his possession—victory over death, which is eternal life!

 

Between “Devil” and “the Deep Blue Sea”?

Exodus 14:13–15, And Moses said. The first four statements that Moses makes in these two verses presupposes the four fear responses the Israelites would naturally have had when pinned between the Egyptian army and the Red Sea.

  • To those who wanted to commit suicide by fleeing, and since there was nowhere to go, fleeing meant certain death either by drowning in the sea or by Pharaoh’s army, Moses said, “Do not be afraid. Stand still and see the salvation [Heb. Yeshua] of YHVH.” 
  • To those who wanted to go back to Egypt, Moses said, “The Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see no more.” 
  • To those who wanted to fight, Moses said, “YHVH will fight for you.” 
  • To those who wanted to just complain, or even to pray about their plight, Moses said, “Hold your peace.” 

When faced with similar impossible situations, we typically have the same responses as that of the children of Israel, when all we have to do is to stand still in faith and wait on YHVH to supernaturally deliver us. But there’s more. Faith isn’t passive. It’s active. This is where the fifth statement—this one made by YHVH—comes into play. 

YHVH command the Israelites to “Go forward” in faith! YHVH expected Moses, the leader, to lead the way. YHVH told the Israelites to confront their fears including the fear of death and to step into the Red Sea. Only when the people’s leader stepped forward in faith and placed his foot into the Red Sea did the sea part and the deliverance of YHVH became evident.

Note what Moses told Israelites in this first statement: “Stand still and see the salvation [Heb. Yeshua] of YHVH.” As already noted previously, the pre-incarnate Yeshua the Messiah was the Messenger of YHVH who was with the children of Israel in the fire cloud positioned between the Israelites and the Egyptians. When Yeshua the Messiah is in your camp, there is nothing to fear! This was a lesson in faith that the Israelites had to learn—and one we have to learn as well. Let’s not forget the words of the apostle:

I can do all things through Messiah which strengthens me. (Phil 4:13)

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through [Messiah] that loved us. (Rom 8:37)

What shall we then say to these things? If Elohim be for us, who can be against us? (Rom 8:31)

Exodus 14:13, Salvation. The word salvation here is the Hebrew word Yeshua. Think about this for a moment in light of the context in which this word is found in this story, and the implications for our own lives when we’re confronted with difficult situations.


 

Know Elohim, No Fear; No Elohim, Know Fear

Deuteronomy 3:22, Must fear them. The Scriptures reveal an interesting, and counter-intuitive spiritual principle that humans have a hard time wrapping their heads and hearts around. It is this: When we fear Elohim, we won’t fear our enemies. When we don’t fear Elohim, we will fear and be tormented by our enemies.

What is it to fear Elohim? It is to walk in the wisdom of his commandments or his loving instructions in righteousness. Rebellious humans have a hard time doing this, since their sin nature is opposed to submitting to YHVH legal instructions (Jer 17:9; Rom 8:7). Once, however, one gets their sin nature under control with the help of Yeshua, and one begins to love and fear Elohim by keeping his commandments, suddenly the physical things they once feared no longer have any hold on their hearts and minds.

Having defeated the greatest enemy of all—one’s sin nature—with Elohim’s help effectively empowers and emboldens the saint. He now realizes he can, with Elohim’s help, overcome any enemy. So now what is there to fear?

Moreover, at the end of one’s life, the overcoming saint has the ultimate victory in his possession. That is the victory over death, which is the mother of all fears!


 

At the Edge of the Red Sea: Fear Versus Faith

Exodus 14:13–15, And Moses said. The first four statements that Moses makes in these two verses presupposes the four fear responses the Israelites would naturally have had when pinned between the Egyptian army and the Red Sea.

  • To those who wanted to commit suicide by fleeing, and since there was nowhere to go, fleeing meant certain death either by drowning in the sea or by Pharaoh’s army, Moses said, “Do not be afraid. Stand still and see the salvation [Heb. Yeshua] of YHVH.”
  • To those who wanted to go back to Egypt, Moses said, “The Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see no more.”
  • To those who wanted to fight, Moses said, “YHVH will fight for you.”
  • To those who wanted to just complain, or even to pray about their plight, Moses said, “Hold your peace.”

When faced with similar impossible situations, we typically have the same responses as that of the children of Israel, when all we have to do is to stand still in faith and wait on YHVH to supernaturally deliver us. But there’s more. Faith isn’t passive. It’s active. This is where the fifth statement—this one made by YHVH—comes in to play.

YHVH command the Israelites to “Go forward” in faith! YHVH expected Moses, the leader, to lead the way. YHVH told the Israelites to confront their fears including the fear of death and to step into the Red Sea. Only when the people’s leader stepped forward in faith and placed his foot into the Red Sea did the sea part and the deliverance of YHVH became evident.

Note what Moses told Israelites in this first statement: “Stand still and see the salvation [Heb. Yeshua] of YHVH.” As already noted previously, the pre-incarnate Yeshua the Messiah was the Messenger of YHVH who was with the children of Israel in the fire cloud positioned between the Israelites and the Egyptians. When Yeshua the Messiah is in your camp, there is nothing to fear! This was a lesson in faith that the Israelites had to learn—and one we have to learn as well. Let’s not forget the words of the apostle:

I can do all things through Messiah which strengthens me. (Phil 4:13)

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through [Messiah] that loved us. (Rom 8:37)

What shall we then say to these things? If Elohim be for us, who can be against us? (Rom 8:31)


 

Fear Elohim and You Will Fear Nothing Else

Deuteronomy 3:22, Must fear them. The Scriptures reveal an interesting, and counter-intuitive spiritual principle that humans have a hard time wrapping their heads and hearts around. It is this: When we fear Elohim, we won’t fear our enemies. When we don’t fear Elohim, we will fear and be tormented by our enemies.

What is it to fear Elohim? It is to walk in the wisdom of his commandments or his loving instructions in righteousness. Rebellious humans have a hard time doing this, since their sin nature is opposed to submitting to YHVH legal instructions (Jer 17:9; Rom 8:7). Once, however, one gets their sin nature under control with the help of Yeshua, and one begins to love and fear Elohim by keeping his commandments, suddenly the physical things they once feared no longer have any hold on their hearts and minds.

Having defeated the greatest enemy of all—one’s sin nature—with Elohim’s help effectively empowers and emboldens the saint. He now realizes he can, with Elohim’s help, overcome any enemy.

So now what is there to fear?

Moreover, at the end of one’s life, the overcoming saint has the ultimate victory in his possession. That is the victory over death, which is the mother of all fears!