Thesis: We must irrevocably decide to follow God and destroy any other option.
1. When God's people first approached the Promised Land after deliverance from Egypt they sent 12 men to spy out the land.
a. Land of milk & honey, huge grapes; also giants & great walled cities.
1) 10 ............... Might as well forget it.
2) Joshua/Caleb ..... Tough, but not a match for God.
b. Promised Lands don't come cheap--they carry a price tag.
1) That's as true today as over 3,000 yrs. ago.
2) Israel unwilling to pay price first time around.
3) Now, 40 yrs. later, Moses, on Plains of Moab asks:
"Are you willing to pay the price now?"
2. That's the text we come to this AM in study of Dt.--7:1-6.
I. "YOU MUST DESTROY THEM TOTALLY!" (2)
A. That seems a little extreme, doesn't it?
1. Couldn't we just tolerate them?
2. And what about their stuff--why waste it?
3. One thing is clear: Promised Land is not going to be some kind of pluralistic society with each one doing his/her own thing!
B. God's people always had trouble with this command:
1. Story of Achan (Josh. 7:20-21).
2. Saul & Amalekites (1 Sam. 15:3, 7-9, 13-14).
C. Why does God command this of his people?
1. V. 4--"They will turn your sons away from following me."
a. Deut. 12:29-31 ff.
b. Deut. 29:16-18 describes this as "root of poison."
2. God's people always had trouble with this command--and it was their undoing! (Solomon--1 Kgs. 11:1-13).
II. HOW DO YOU PREVENT THIS SORT OF THING FROM TAKING ROOT?
A. There's only one solution--"kill it before it multiplies!"
1. Illust. Remember seeing "Aliens"? Do you remember the scene where Sigourney Weaver is trying to convince some board of directors to return to the space colony and destroy the creatures? Treated her like an insane woman. She knew danger--kill it before it multiplies!"
2. Illust. That's the way we treat cancer. Some forms of cancer are able to be detected years in advance. Slight changes can be detected in human cells that, if left untreated could become cancerous 10-15 yrs. down the road. Few are willing to wait that long to find out! They want to kill it before it multiplies!
B. God's people must have zero-tolerance for sin--that's the price-tag for being God's people (Dt. 7:6).
III. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN ON A PERSONAL LEVEL?
A. If it's wrong we've got to stop it before it starts.
1. Illust. Sin has a tendency to take over. It is just like a cuckoo bird. Cuckoo birds do not build their own nests-they take over the nests of other birds-usually smaller thrushes. Mother bird flies around until she sees a nest with eggs in it and no bird on it. Quickly lands, lays an egg, and flies away. The little bird whose nest has been invaded comes back, and not being good at arithmetic, takes care of all the eggs. What happens? Four little thrushes hatch, but one large cuckoo hatches. The cuckoo is two or three times the size of the thrushes. When Mrs. Thrush brings to the nest one large, juicy worm, she finds four petite thrush mouths, one cavernous cuckoo mouth. Guess who gets the worm? A full-sized thrush ends up feeding a baby cuckoo that is three times as big as it is. Eventually the growing cuckoo throws the other birds out one at a time.
2. Sin takes variety of forms & it always starts out small.
a. Using inappropriate words (4-letter variety).
b. Long, lustful looks at a co-worker (even short!).
c. Habits such as drinking, smoking, drugs.
d. Compulsive behaviors such as overeating.
e. Harboring grudges; bitter thoughts.
f. Missing church when you know you shouldn't.
3. Dealing with these things is not an easy thing.
a. Illust. Remember the movie "Old Yeller"? Faithful, loyal animal finally gets rabies. Do you remember that gut-wrenching scene when Travis has to go out and shoot Old Yeller?
b. Dealing with sin in our lives is just as painful! It often becomes a part of us.
B. What it comes down to is this:
1. Making an irrevocable decision to follow God and to completely destroy any other option.
a. That's what Israel was called upon to do.
b. That's what Jesus calls upon us to do (Lk. 14:62).
2. Illust. Just a few years before Jesus made that statement Julius Caesar set out to conquer England. After landing his army he did something unexpected. He had his army march to the edge of the Cliffs of Dover and to look down. Below them they could see the 11 ships that had brought them across the channel. Every one of them was ablaze! Julius Caesar made an irrevocable decision and destroyed any other option.
1. Have you made an irrevocable decision to follow God?