A treaty is defined as an agreement between two or more states in reference to peace. Unless you happen to be a head of state, you may think that you haven’t signed a treaty lately, but I’ll bet you have. I sign way too many of them.
I have been reading through Deuteronomy which primarily deals with the Old Testament Law, but also gives a lot of detail about the journey of Israel as they seek to enter the Promised Land. Their journey provides a remarkable parallel to our spiritual journey. An example would be the passover lamb serving as a prequel to our sacrificial lamb, Jesus. Another example is God providing a deliverer in Moses to rescue his people from literal slavery. For us, God provides Jesus to deliver us from slavery to sin. The parallels go on and on. I uncovered a less obvious one in Deuteronomy 7.
Moses is instructing the Israelites on how to handle things when they enter the Promised Land. They are going to have to fight for it and they have to do it God’s way. In verse two, Moses says “when the Lord your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally.”
Why this instruction and what does it have to do with us?
God was at work building a people that would be fully devoted to him. That nation was to be completely separate from all other nations. They were to worship the one true God of the Scriptures. They were to follow the law that was given to Moses to govern their lives. If they allowed the inhabitants of the land to stay, God knew that relationships would form, curiosities would be peaked and people would be tempted to follow other God’s. So God commands his people to fully drive out all the inhabitants of the land.
God is doing the same type of thing today. He is building a people that would be fully devoted to him. It is called the church. And while all people, of all backgrounds and faiths are invited to come, they are called to the same absolute devotion to the Lord. Here is the rub. We don’t like absolute devotion. Obedience isn’t a topic that is now trending. We like to mix a little of this with a little of that and call it good. The consequences don’t seem that significant at first. A small compromise here or there doesn’t seem to do much harm, but eventually they lead us a long way from where we ever intended to go. Those compromises destroyed Israel. They will destroy us too.
That is why the Lord warned Israel to not show mercy to the inhabitants of the land nor sign treaties with them (Deut 7:2-4). If they let the people and their practices stay, they would draw the Israelites away from God. If you let sin hang around, it will draw you away from God too. It is like signing a treaty.
Remember, a treaty is an agreement for peace. What happens is that we make these kind of agreements with the sins in our lives so that they can hang around on the fringe. We negotiate peace with them rather than eliminating them. It is a trap for us as it was for Israel.
“Do not look on them with pity and do not serve their gods, for that will be a snare to you.” Deuteronomy 7:16
If the Israelites decided it was too harsh to eliminate their enemy or displace them from their homes and they were to sign a treaty with them, it would be like a snare. It seems okay, but there is a hidden danger. Temptation is always like that. It seems good. It seems harmless. It’s no big deal. Then the trap goes off. Then your marriage is a wreck. Then you lose your job. Then your integrity is shot. Then your spiritual life is cold. Then no one trusts you. Then you are embarrassed to look people in the eye. Then …
Don’t sign a treaty with sin to coexist in your life. Debt, porn, lies, bitterness…most everything that enslaves us began with a little treaty. “I’ll let you live…we can coexist in peace, but this is all you get.” But like a nation, it grows, wages war and seizes control.
Don’t let that happen to you. Choose differently. No treaty. No compromise. No room for a little hidden sin over in that dark corner of your life. Let’s live like God commands.
“…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” -Hebrews 12:1,2