“But the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the people of Judah could not drive out, so the Jebusites dwell with the people of Judah at Jerusalem to this day.” Joshua 15:63
Reading through the book of Joshua now (still staying with it, 3 months into the “Bible in a Year” plan!!! Wooohooo!), and had to pause at the verse above tonight. Judah “could not drive out” the folks living in Jerusalem. Now, if you know anything about the book of Joshua, you know that God was working some pretty amazing victories in the lives of the Israelites as they came into the land promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob! I mean, c’mon: Jericho, anyone? I don’t think it was the roar of the crowd alone that brought the walls down! God had something to say, in that. In His own words, He had “given Jericho into” Joshua’s hands. The battle is the Lord’s, right?
Then you have the city of Ai, which, upon first attempt at overtaking it (apparently without seeking first the wisdom of God), the Israelites are soundly thumped. After falling on his face in prayer, Joshua gets the reason WHY they couldn’t defeat Ai (though God clearly intended for them to do so…it’s IN the Promised Land!): one of their own had taken some of the plunder for himself, after being clearly told not to cling to any of it. (See Joshua 7) After dealing with that hidden sin, Josh and his boys take care of Ai quite easily.
So, tonight, I got to thinking: why couldn’t they drive out the Jebusites from Jerusalem. King David would later rectify this little hiccup, and no doubt there is some great symbolism there with Who David represents, but why not now? Why not now?
So, that rabbit trail led to this one: if the conquest of Canaan is a type of our walk with Christ as believers, then we, too, should be able to get the victory over the “inhabitants of the land” in our own lives. Joshua was led by the Spirit of God, but we HAVE the Spirit of God within us as believers! Why do we not walk in victory in some areas of our lives?
If the conquest of Canaan is any indication, the reason is that we are not willing to fully “devote them to destruction”, as the Israelites were commanded to do to the inhabitants of the land they were given. Why were they to totally destroy these people? They were completely corrupt. Their practices stood in direct opposition to the revealed will of God, and the moral law written on every human heart (child sacrifice, for example). If they were not totally destroyed, their influence would corrupt the Israelites, who were to be a people completely “set apart”, holy unto God. These people, the chosen ones from out of whom the Messiah would come, would become just like everyone else, if they would not fully separate themselves from the corrupting influences.
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people chosen by God, that you might declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness, and into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9
I believe the reason we don’t live in complete victory over the inhabitants in our lives, be they lust, greed, anger, gossip, gluttony, worry…name your own sin here…is that we are not fully willing to drive them out, to completely devote them to destruction. There is something that keeps us holding on. Strange as it might seem, we cling to our “pet” sins, do we not? Though they enslave us, like Israel looking back at Egypt, there is a strange comfort in them. And then we say things like “I guess this is my thorn in the flesh” or “I just can’t get the victory over this.”
Why not?!! If God be for us, who can be against us?!!! The same God that caused the walls of Jericho to fall flat as a pancake without a weapon being lifted is the same God yesterday, today, and forever! If you are His child, a born again follower of Christ, then the same power that knocked down those walls lives in you! The same power that healed the lame lives in YOU! The same power that conquered the grave LIVES IN YOU!!!
So stop playing around with the old inhabitants of the land. God didn’t call you to be subject to them, but to walk in freedom. And whoever the Son sets free, is free indeed!