“But of the cities of these peoples which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance, you shall let nothing that breathes remain alive, but you shall utterly destroy them: the Hittite and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite, just as the Lord your God has commanded you, lest they teach you to do according to all their abominations which they have done for their gods, and you sin against the Lord your God. (Deuteronomy 20:16-18)
And they did not drive out the Canaanites who dwelt in Gezer; but the Canaanites dwell among the Ephraimites to this day and have become forced laborers. (Joshua 16:10)
The Israelites have forgotten about God’s commandments! Even when these instructions are direct and non-ambiguous, these people quickly forgot about them. It could also be worse: perhaps the Israelites have ignored or dismissed them?
We might then question or even rebuke them in our hearts saying, how is it that they dare to ignore God’s commandments as though His words are nothing important! Why did they do that?
But isn’t it the same with us today?
Perhaps we do not mean it as an outright challenge against God’s word. We definitely still believe in God and want to follow Him. However at times, have we not also allowed certain small sins into our life, thinking that it is okay, we are in control, we know what the Bible says, but hey we know what we are doing and we would not allow ourselves to cross the boundary okay?
The Ephraimites in today’s sharing probably also felt the same. They have conquered the land and perhaps they felt superior to the Canaanites. The Canaanites became forced labourers and perhaps the Ephraimites felt that they have control over them, no problem at all. What can these Canaanites forced labourers do to us? Some of them might even say, yeah! We have God on our side!
Probably, the Ephraimites also saw the benefits of keeping these Canaanites as forced labourers and hence decided to keep them.
Similarly, we also often weigh the costs and benefits of things before we decide whether to go ahead with it or not. Even when the instructions are clear in the Bible, we leave some leeway for ourselves. Wow, this seminar is once-in-a-lifetime and it can greatly help me in my professional development! But hey, it is on a Sabbath Saturday…. it should be okay just to go this once?
The commandments of God are very clear: let nothing that breathes remain alive. God knows what a little sin or a little leeway can do to us. Leave the devil a foothold and he will grab your feet!
Every choice we make comes with a consequence. In the case of today’s sharing, the consequence was spelt out in Deuteronomy 20:16-18 and we see it in the later part of the history of Israel when they continually sin against God by being led astray to worship false gods. We cannot ignore the influence of “little sins”. We should not be haughty to think that we have control over them and thus allow them to dwell within us. A little drop of ink will taint the entire glass of water.
Let us strive to keep our glass of water clear. Let us learn to drive out the Canaanites within us. For the God we worship is a holy and perfect God. And He calls us to be holy and perfect as well. 🙂