“So now I say, I will not drive them out before you, but they shall become thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you.” (Judges 2.3)
When God gave the Promised Land to the children of Israel He gave them homes that they didn’t build and fields that they didn’t sow. He blessed them with a land of milk and honey. But He told them that they must drive out the inhabitants of the land. They were to smash their pagan altars and idols. They weren’t to make any covenant or peace treaty with them. God knew that if His people made a pact with these unbelievers, then they would soon adopt their evil practices. The Canaanites would become a snare to them, and they would worship their false gods.
So what did Israel do? They made a covenant with the Canaanites. Rather than driving them out they made them slaves. Israel lived among them. Their daughters they took for their wives, and their own daughters they gave to their sons. And guess what? They served their gods.
Now the apostle Paul tells us that these things are examples for us (1 Corinthians 10.6). What they did physically relates to us spiritually. God delivers us out of the world (Egypt) and brings us into a new life in Christ (Promised Land). But there are still inhabitants of our old life of sin. If we do not put these to death, then they will become thorns in our sides. If we make a pact with our sins and give them a place in our lives, then they will soon cause us to stumble and fall. And we will find ourselves bowing down to the same idols as the world.
Thankfully, God has given us a Helper–the Holy Spirit.
“For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” (Romans 8.13–14)
Be wise. Don’t make a covenant with the Canaanites. The greatest battle you will ever fight is over your own heart. But the one who conquers himself is better than he who takes a city! (Proverbs 16.32)
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