God equips us to live in alien territory

Even before the all-knowing God created the heavens and the earth, He knew that His followers would live in a hostile world under the control of His enemy, the devil.1  Yet Colossians 1:13 says that He will help us to defect from the reign of Satan if we want to, ‘For He [God] has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us unto the Kingdom of the Son He loves….’ 2

#  Guess who hates us?

The devil is not in the least impressed when we escape from his kingdom of darkness.  So followers of Jesus are subjected to his ‘xenophobic’ attacks.  However, God did not leave us defenceless, ‘…Take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.…’ 3

#  The sword is Scripture.

Scripture has many promises of protection and help like:

  • ‘God is our refuge and strength, and ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea….’ 4
  • ‘I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.’ 5  It refers to the omnipotent Creator God who made the heavens and the earth in six twenty four hour days.  That is why He can help—He is powerful.
  • The well known ‘warrior psalm,’ Psalm 91.

#  The Holy Spirit helps us.

There are many more ‘defence’ and ‘protection’ verses in Scripture.  All we need to do is ask the Holy Spirit to direct us to the ones we need in a specific situation.  That doesn’t mean that we can then relax and God will apply them in our lives while we carry on living.  No, we need to proclaim them.  Why?

#  The Israelites who entered Canaan are an example.

God gave the Israelites wonderful promises that He would drive out their enemies before them when they entered Canaan.  He would send hornets ahead of them, He would deliver their enemies into their hands, they were to drive them out little by little, et cetera. 6  It certainly did not mean that they could just saunter into Canaan, and God would kill all the enemies.  They had to fight, guided by God.   We, like the Israelites, have to take up our sword in the Word for victory. 7

#  It is prayer and proclamation that annihilates the enemy.

We have to speak God’s Word.  Prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah and many others did it.  It is not enough to have a Bible but not use it.  It is like owning a weapon that you don’t use.  It is prayer, proclamation and faith in God’s Word that gives protection and victory.

Conclusion

In Scripture (all 66 books), God provides the means of protection against xenophobic attacks.  Even though there is increasing hatred against God’s people world wide, we are not defenceless.  Jesus said, ‘I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions, and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.’ 8

References

  1. 1 John 5:19
  2. Colossians 1:12
  3. Ephesians 6:10-18
  4. Psalm 46:1-3
  5. Psalm 121:1-8
  6. Deuteronomy 7:17-24
  7. Joshua 1-12
  8. Luke 10:19

One of the privileges of God’s new ‘Family’

In God’s New Covenant His family is scattered all over the world.  It is different from the Old Covenant where one man’s sin influenced the whole nation.  We want to look at the example of Achan to show the difference.

#  The ‘family’ principle of the Old Covenant

  • Israel was one big family.  In the Old Covenant the Israelite nation was one big ‘family.’  What one person did influenced the whole community.  When they made a covenant with God at Sinai, the nation as a whole was responsible to God.  All twelve tribes agreed to keep the commands of God.  The Old Testament laws specifically deal only with the nation of Israel.
  • So what Achan did influenced the whole nation.  When the conquest of Canaan began, God told the Israelites that the first city they conquered was devoted to Him.  All Jericho’s treasures belonged to God and the Tabernacle.  They could take nothing for themselves.  Nobody knew that Achan took a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of sliver and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels. 1
  • It caused the defeat at Ai.  Subsequent to the conquest of Jericho, the Israelites sent a small contingent of soldiers to conquer Ai.  They were defeated and 36 men were killed. 2  It was a direct result of Achan’s sin that husbands and fathers died.  Even though the Israelites did not know what Achan did, the whole nation suffered.
  • The nation reacted with shock.
    • ‘…the hearts of the people melted and became like water.’ 3
    • ‘…Joshua tore his clothes and fell face down to the ground before the ark of the Lord, remaining there till the evening.’ 4
  • God was not amused.  He asked Joshua, ’What are you doing down on your face?’ 5   
      • Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep.’ 6
    • They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions.’ 7

One man’s sin affected the nation.

#  God’s new nation

With God’s universal invitation to all nations to join His Kingdom, His people are scattered all over the world. 8  There is no way that those millions of followers of Jesus can be treated as one.  So the individual follower of Jesus, who has the Holy Spirit to guide him/her, is personally responsible to God.

Application

Even if God’s family is scattered, our walk with God still effects others.  Jesus said, ‘You are the salt of the earth….   You are the light of the world….’ 9  With the Holy Spirit’s guidance and help, we can be positive ‘Achans’ in society, spreading the sweet savour of our Lord Jesus.

References

  1. Joshua 7:20-21
  2. Joshua 7
  3. Joshua 7:5c
  4. Joshua 7:6
  5. Joshua 7:10
  6. Joshua 7:11
  7. Joshua 7:11b
  8. 1 Peter 1:1-2
  9. Matthew 5:13-14

Kill them all! Part 3, the Canaanites

In Part 3 of this series (part 1 and part 2Destroy them completely) we discuss the second group of people God vowed to annihilate, the Canaanites. In Genesis 15:18-21 God promised Abraham that his descendants will inherit the land of among others, the Hittites, Perizzites, Amorites, Canaanites and Jebusites.1 We discuss them collectively as the Canaanites.

God gave the Canaanites 400 years of grace to repent of their evil deeds. After that the descendants of Abraham would take over their country. God’s command was, ‘… and when the Lord your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, you must destroy them totally.’ 2

From Joshua 24:11-12 we understand that the Israelites were successful, thus we assume the Canaanites were wiped out. Is that what happened? Not at all according to Scripture:

  • This is a list of all the parts of the land that still remained unconquered. 3
  • This is a summary of the failure of the Israelites to drive out the supposedly ‘dead’ Canaanites. 4
  • There were towns of the Canaanites that were destroyed. However, in Joshua 15:20-63 there is a long list of the towns allotted to the tribe of Judah which gives us an idea of how few were destroyed.

The Canaanites were not annihilated as God commanded. They remained the enemies of Israel for hundreds of years after the command to get rid of them, as seen in the following passages:

  • During the time of the Judges:  The Israelites lived among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.Where did they come from? Were they resurrected from the dead?
  • During David’s time:
  • David conquered Jerusalem from the Jebusites, a nation supposedly completely destroyed.6
  • Uriah, one of David’s trusted warriors, was a Hittite. 7
  • In Solomon’s time:
  • There were still ‘extinct’ nations in the land which the Israelites could not exterminate. 8
  • Shishak of Egypt sacked Gezer and killed the Canaanite inhabitants, giving the town to his daughter who was married to Solomon. 9
  • In Ezra’s time: The Israelites did not keep themselves separate from their neighbours with their detestable practices, like the Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, and Amorites. 10

So from the time that Joshua supposedly ‘killed them all’ (around 1,300 BC) to Ezra (458 BC) was 850 years. Then there were still many Canaanites around for many years. The logical conclusion is that the people fled when they heard about the victorious army of God, and returned later on. The conclusion is that those who judge God base their accusations on a few selected verses.

In the next blog we discuss the Midianite problem, especially that the married women and boys had to be killed.

References

  1. Genesis 15:13-16
  2. Deuteronomy 7:2.
  3. Joshua 13:2-5
  4. Joshua 13:13; 15:63; 16:10; 17:12-13; 19:47
  5. Judges 3:5
  6. 2 Samuel 5:6-7
  7. 2 Samuel 11:3
  8. 1 Kings 9:20-21; 2 Chronicles 8:7-8
  9. 1 Kings 9:16
  10. Ezra 9:1
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