Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, “When you pass over the Jordan into the land of Canaan, then you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you and destroy all their figured stones and destroy all their metal images and demolish all their high places. And you shall take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given the land to you to possess it…
But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then those of them whom you let remain shall be as barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall trouble you in the land where you dwell. And I will do to you as I thought to do to them."
Numbers 33:51-53, 55-56
Israel was about to cross over into the Land that God had promised to give them. The people who dwelt in the Land were known for their fierceness, their cruelty, and their terribly sinful lifestyle, and the Israelites were ordered to drive them out of the Land.
God had given the Canaanites hundreds of years to repent, even though He knew that they would continue to get worse until “the iniquity (sinful perversion) of the Amorites was full,” as the He had said to Abraham. Israel was to be the instrument of God’s judgment, and He would give the Land to them, instead.
But the Canaanites, wicked as they were, were people, too. Knowing human nature as He does (after all, He created us), God warned the Israelites that they must not compromise and make friends of these wicked people instead of driving them out of the Land. If they did that, they would learn their sinful ways and become just like them. They would eventually end up being judged by God and driven out of the Land themselves.
In the New Testament we’re warned, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.” (1 John 2:15-16)
Sometimes out of compassion for people we know and love, we begin to compromise and accept the sinful World’s point of view. We start to think that, after all, what God calls abominable sin isn’t so bad. Human compassion is a good thing; it’s a reflection of God’s image, still in us. But when compassion gets twisted into compromise and deceives us into rejecting God’s Word, it can destroy us, because “the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:17)
Lord Jesus, You know all about my loved ones, friends and family members, who have embraced a sinful, perverted lifestyle. It pains me to know that they will be judged, while I have been delivered by Your grace, although I am no better than they. But I know that You love them even more than I do. Have mercy on them and give them the gift of repentance and faith. Deliver them as You have delivered me, for Jesus’ sake. Keep my eyes on You and my heart close to You. Amen.
Pastor Dan Giles