Richard Agee

Deuteronomy 12:1-7: Destroy the places, names of false gods after entering the Land

This chapter introduces a new concept not previously noted in the Torah: “These are the statutes and judgements…” not, “these were the statutes and judgements….” God was giving Israel the Land to posses it, but He wouldn’t go in until they clean it up of the wicked pagan influences. Statutes and judgements go hand in hand. God gives a rule and then instructions on how to accomplish the statute. 

Other texts: 1st Kings 14:21-26; 2nd Kings 16:1-4; Ezek. 6:1-13

The first thing He tells the people to do is to destroy the worship places, not to destroy the people. He tells them were these places are:

  1. high mountains (הָרִים הָרָמִים harim ha-ramim, Strong’s lexicon Nos. H2022 and H7311).
  2. hills (גְּבָעוֹת gevaʿot, H1389).
  3. under the “fresh,” “luxuriant,” “green” (רַעֲנָן ra’anan, H7488) groves. 

The people disregarded Moses’ instruction in this matter and it became a snare to them all the way through the time of the exile to Babylon. King Rehoboam is recorded as the first to re-institute the kind of nature worship that Moses is specifically telling them at this time to wipe out from all memory in the land. We often criticize Jeroboam for his separatist worship but Rehoboam did it first. Jeroboam’s ascent to the throne of Israel was a direct response to Rehoboam’s arrogance.  

Since the Israelites did not destroy these worship sites, they became a snare and temptation to future generations who wanted to worship God with the ways that the people originally in the land had worshipped their false gods. They were drawn away from God by neglecting their duty to destroy all these worship places. 

If the people had obeyed Moses and destroyed the high places and evil worship places, they wouldn’t need to do anything else, because the evil inhabitants of the land would have self-deported to other lands. 

God tells the people through Moses that there would come a day that He would pick a spot for His temple. He will establish His presence there and that will be the place that His people are to worship Him there in the way He wants to be worshipped, free of any temptation to incorporate pagan practices into His worship.

Reader: David De Fever. Speaker: Richard Agee. Summary: Tammy.


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