Moses had led the people of Israel through the desert for 40 years and was now preparing them to cross the Jordan River into the promised land of Canaan. As part of this preparation, Moses reminded the people how God had provided for all their past needs and reviewed the laws by which God expected them to live; “and if we are careful to obey all this law before the Lord our God, as He has commanded us, that will be our righteousness” (Deuteronomy 6:25).
The people of Israel would be brought into a right relationship with God as they worshipped Him and obeyed His commands. But as they entered the promised land, there were many enemies which had to be removed.
“When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations – the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations larger and stronger than you – and when the Lord your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy.”
These enemies posed a serious physical threat, but the longer term danger was to their spiritual survival. God wanted these “Ites” completely destroyed because their worldly gods would continually pull at the heart of His chosen people; “Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods” (Deuteronomy 11:16).
This can be a difficult message with today’s soft view of sin. But there is an important lesson for each of us who long for a close relationship with God. Today, Jesus has provided the path to righteousness; “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe” (Romans 3:22). But God still desires the entirety of our heart and expects us to turn from anything which pulls us away from an unhindered and unrestrained devotion.
As he leads us into His promised land of rest and peace, there will always be enemies which entice us to turn from God, many temptations which compete for our time and thoughts…and for our worship. These “Ites” will appear stronger than our ability to conquer. But as we follow hard after God, He will grant us victory; “the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you” (Deuteronomy 7:22).
What enemies take us away from the worship of God? What addictions, activities, desires or fears are consuming our heart and keeping us from being focused on Jesus – keeping us from a closer relationship with our Heavenly Father? Let’s be determined to possess the land and fully give our heart to God. Let’s identify the enemies which hinder our walk and, without mercy, let’s completely destroy the Ites.
Have a Christ Centered Day!
God’s Daily Word Ministries
**** Reading Plan ****
Apr 25 Judges 4:1-5:31; Luke 22:35-54; Psalm 94:1-23; Proverbs 14:3-4