Non believers get very excited about God and His command to the Israelites to annihilate the Canaanites. In the previous blog, ‘Were all the Canaanites killed?’ we saw that the Canaanites were not annihilated. What was God’s reasoning and what does it have to do with us?
# 1. God has one standard that He never deviates from. His goal is peace and harmony among people and it is only possible if they remain loyal to Him. He is the only true God who can give humans an inheritance on the eternal planet of peace and happiness. That explains God’s insistence that the Israelites should not worship idols and false gods. It has a deadly result, namely eternal separation from Him.
# 2. Disobedience to God has consequences. “I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land that I swore to give to your forefathers. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you, and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars.’ Yet you have disobeyed me. Why have you done this? Now therefore I tell you that I will not drive them out before you; they will be [thorns] in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you.” 1
# 3. Disobedience to God snowballs. ‘They [the Israelites] forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, who brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshipped various gods of the peoples around them. They provoked the Lord to anger because they forsook Him and served the Baals and Astoreths,’ 2
# 4. People can serve only one Master. If you do not love and obey God with your whole life (which you can only do through the Holy Spirit), the enemy stands ready to incorporate you into his plans. ’The Israelites lived among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. They took their daughters in marriage and gave their own daughters to their sons, and served their gods.’ 3
# 5. Punishment for their ingratitude and betrayal of God was inevitable. Both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms of Israel were later exiled by the Assyrians and Babylonians. The Northern Kingdom was dispersed and disappeared. The Bible only gives a record of some of the peoples of the Southern Kingdom who came back after 70 years in exile. For the Israelites the cost was tremendous in loss of family members, property, displacement, et cetera.
# 6. The valuable message to us. We, as believers in Christ, also have to conquer the enemies that might endanger our inheritance. They are not physical enemies, but the invisible ones mentioned in Ephesians 6:12, ‘…our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.’
# 7. We are also instructed to conquer ‘nations.’ They are fierce and strong: living in anger, rage, malice, slander, lust, evil desires, filthy language, et cetera.4 These are the things, the Bible tells us, that will cause us to be exiled just as the Israelites were, ‘Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the Kingdom of God?’ 5
- Numbers 2:2-3
- Judges 2:12-13
- Judges 3:5-6
- Colossians 3:5-10
- 1 Corinthians 6:9a