Friday, January 18, 2008

Are we harbouring Canaanites?

According to the Bible, God promised the Israelites the land of Canaan even from the Great Sea to the River Euphrates. The Israelites were told to annihilate the heathen and pagan nations from that area completely. Joshua was on the path to doing just that when he was deceived by the Gibeonites and made an alliance with them.

Earlier, Balaam, who couldn't pronounce a curse on Israel, decided to use trickery to get the Moabites to seduce the Israelites and weaken them that way. He succeeded, they intermarried and trouble ensued. Read Joshua's summary of what happened in Joshua 23 and 24. These weren't the only backslidings of the Israelites, but yet God helped Israel subdue the pagan nations around them and in Joshua's time, Israel had rest from all their enemies. Close to his death he made the Israelites promise and swear that they would never ally themselves with any heathens or their gods. He wrote this covenant down and brought there a great big rock to be a witness.

Well, unfortunately, if you'll read on into Judges, the people soon forsook their promise. Judges 2:11 and on "And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger. And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth" etc...Then the LORD gave them judges (v.16) who, despite their disobedience, were able to help defeat their enemies. These are the nations who were left in the land of Canaan: the Philistines, the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites.(Chapter 3:1-3). Although the Israelites did have physical battles with them, the real influence of these heathen remained to corrupt and pollute their morals, their allegiance to God and purity of heart. If they had been committed to removing these peoples in their entirety, they would have been less likely to have been corrupted, and would have remained true, at peace, and would have fully revealed God's true character to the world.

So, the point of this discussion is to lead us to question whether we, as Spiritual Israel, have removed Canaan entirely from our lives or whether we are still being corrupted by it. First, we have to identify WHAT is modern Canaan. Because if we don't know what or who we're "fighting", then we won't feel a need to purge it. This is a work of heart-searching and honest evaluating of ALL we allow to influence us - and there is so MUCH in 2008. Besides the obvious influence from things of technology, there remains the subtle influences of a lavish and wasteful lifestyle, materialism, procrastination, workaholism, fashion, lack of value for family, structure, discipline, order, courtesy, integrity, healthy industry, spiritual nurture of ourselves and of our families, service to those in need, time for meditation and lots of other things that the "world" leads us away from in tiny increments. Before we know it, we're worshipping the ideals and philosophy of this world - a world tainted by "Canaan". Although it is mostly unrealistic for us to purge Canaan from the world, we CAN and should purge it TOTALLY from our homes.

We have to realize that the "who" behind Canaan is Satan himself. We are so easily led astray and deceived unless we are firmly on the ROCK of Jesus. As the LORD God helped the Israelites defeat the Canaanites, so He is the only one who can help us defeat modern Canaan. But we must do our part in not courting evil where we can control it - in our homes and hearts. Refuse to be seduced, by turning from evil and studying the good. We have no time for frivolous amusements and dallying with the 'enemy', thinking we can avoid contamination. Just the giving of our TIME to these things is walking on enemy ground, never mind the corrupting influence it has on us. "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation..."(Matt 26:41)

Eventually God gave the Israelites up fully to the heathen nations in a physical way - they were exiled to Babylon - but "only" for 70 years. At Christ's first coming He MORE FULLY revealed to them a merciful and longsuffering God, ready to forgive and redeem. We have the whole history of Israel to see what happens when we forsake the only true way - and yet we so easily fall into the snares of the evil one ourselves - Spiritual Israel; we, who have pledged ourselves to following ONLY Him. The next exile will be FOREVER, not a measly 70 years. We have a lot more at stake this time. Let's not throw eternal life away for the sake of worthless, worldly idols. We must return to a pure and innocent (primitive) godliness. Let us repent!

"Choose ye this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." Joshua 24:15.

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