God commanded Israel to make a clean sweep of the land. They were to drive out ALL the inhabitants from the Promised Land.
I don’t know what it is about this one section of the world but God had plans for it. Of all the places on planet Earth that God could have chosen, He chose the land of Canaan. Of all the people on the face of the Earth He chose Israel. And He promised Israel that they could have the land of Canaan as their own possession.
But there were already people living there. God tells Israel to drive them out completely. The people are not the only thing God says to do away with. Israel is to destroy all their stone figures, their metal images and all their high places of worship. In other words, totally eliminate all their false gods. The people are to be gone and their gods are to be gone also.
The land is to be ready for God’s holy people. No other people and no other gods. A fresh start for all. But God had a warning for them. “But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then those of them who 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” (verses 55-56).
We know the stories about the consequences of them not heeding this warning from God. Israel is still struggling today with their decision not to follow God’s command to the letter.
The biggest threat to Israel of not wiping the slate clean is the consequences of bringing in other gods. People hold fast to what they believe in and they can’t help but share that belief with others. It is more that they can’t resist trying to show others how right their belief system is.
I’m going to admit that I’m doing the same thing here. Asking you to believe along the same lines as I do. The thing is, my belief has proof to back it up. The children of Israel were preparing to leave the wilderness with more than 40 years of living that proof. They were fed mana every day. They received water from the rock at least twice. They had meat in the form of quail. Granted, the second time wasn’t nearly as pleasant as the first. They had God’s visible presence living among them and directing their paths. Could ANY of the man made idols of worship do even ONE of the things that Israel’s God did? No. Because of the fundamental difference; Israel’s God was the Creator of the universe. All the other gods were works of the creation.
God won’t share our hearts. He wants all of it. Letting something else “sit on His throne” in your heart is a recipe for disaster. He won’t make you dethrone the other “god” no matter how bad He wants to. But He will make it uncomfortable for you until YOU decide to claim it back for Him. Which will you choose? To keep something around that will cause problems in your life its entire life or to give Him what He so justly deserves? ALL of you!
Father God, I’m forever going back and cleaning Your throne in my life. I let things remain that should have been banished from the beginning. I want to give You ALL of me! This doesn’t mean that I have to stop interacting with the world and shut myself off so nothing can temp me anymore. It means that I have to keep the THINGS in my life as tools only. They can NEVER become my source or my reason for living. Help me keep my life in balance and in Your order. Don’t let me keep anything that is going to be a “thorn” for me. Lead me clearly Lord like You did for Israel so long ago. Thank You Holy Spirit for being my “pillar of fire and cloud.” Help me see Your direction as easily as Moses did.