Found and loved
‘Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.’
Why do you think God chose you as his child? What was it about you that meant God found you and loved you?
Passages like this one can be hard for us to read. Many Christians dislike these ‘bloodthirsty’ passages in the Old Testament, where God commands his people to ‘destroy totally’ a group of people, with no treaties, and no mercy (v 2).
God commands this, to stop his people intermarrying with the locals, because that would lead them to follow other gods (vs 3, 4). So as well as destroying the people, the Israelites are to demolish all the idols and places of worship (vs 5, 25, 26).
All this seems over the top, cruel. But we need to keep three things in mind as we read this:
1) God wants to protect his people from the ‘detestable practices’ of the Canaanites (see 18.9–13).
2) God is perfect, holy and just. We must make sure we don’t sit in judgement over his actions, however much we may question them.
3) It isn’t that the people of Israel are better than the Canaanites. No: God loved Israel because he loved them (vs 7, 8). And the same is true for us. Our ‘prepare’ section today is a trick question. There is nothing about us that deserves God’s love: he simply loves us.
Sit quietly for a moment, consider all your faults and failings, and know that God loves you, despite all that. And, because you didn’t earn it in the first place, he will never take it away.