Joshua 16:10 Sin does not keep its promises
But they did not drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer, so the Canaanites live in the midst of Ephraim to this day, and they became forced labourers.
The house of Joseph which made up of the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh inherited the rich territory of central Canaan. The house of Joseph was given two portions (to Ephraim and Manasseh) because he kept the whole family alive during the famine. This section begins with Ephraim receiving their lot. However, like the Judahites, they did not drive out the Canaanites; their vision was compromised by the promises of economic gain. In today’s devotion, we learn the importance of eradicating sin completely from our lives. Sin does not keep its promises, co-existing with sin will only expose us to its lure and bring disaster upon ourselves.
As with Judah (15:63), Ephraim did not completely drive out the Canaanites from their territory. As God had warned, the failure to eradicate the inhabitants of Canaan would have catastrophic consequences for Israel:
For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods; then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you. Deuteronomy 7:4
The Canaanites were steep in sin and they sacrificed their children to their gods in exchange for a bountiful harvest. Fearing the influence that the Canaanites might have on the Israelites, God commanded Joshua to completely obliterate them. Apparently, what contributed to Ephraim’s lack of resolve was the temptation to use the Canaanites in Gezer as forced labourers for economic gain. The Ephraimites were not spirited in their fight against the Canaanites because their vision was unclear. On one hand, they were set to wipe out the Canaanites, on the other hand they were enticed by the Canaanites’ offer of peace in exchange for tribute and labor.
Knowing sin does not keep its promises, believers must eradicate sin completely without delay.
Many churchgoers have yet to burn their bridges when they crossed over into God’s kingdom. Ever so often, they would gaze longingly across to where they used to revel thinking they may one day return for an occasional tryst. After all, their names were irrevocably etched in the book of heaven, so they thought. However, never in their wildest imagination would their seemingly innocuous flings end up in sudden death. Because of sin, the judgment of God and His divine discipline is fast coming to the family of God. If ever believers want an assurance of eternal life or a guarantee of salvation, he must in cold blood burn the bridges that are left standing. Therefore, God’s people must be singleminded in eradicating sin from their lives before it explodes in their faces.
Fleshly addictions must be rooted out, unhealthy relationships must be cut off, and self-defeating thought patterns must be shut down. The Ephraimites thought they could subdue the Canaanites by force as they wanted to use them to plough their fields and build their houses. As we know it, the Canaanites rose up years later and enslaved their Israelite masters. How did that happen? It was due to sin that was brought in by way of the Canaanites that infiltrated the Israelite way of life. Thus, the sinful patterns and fleshly passions of the Canaanites infected the blood stream of the Israelites causing them to sin against God. Before long, the sinful practices of the Canaanites became so entrenched in the fabric of Israelite society making them impossible to uproot. Moreover, many of the Israelites prefer to keep the Canaanites because they were deeply reliant on them for their livelihood. As the decay of godliness continued, the Israelites were beset with problems on multiple levels; within family, community, and government. By the time divine discipline came, the Jews, apart from their religious rituals, looked every bit like the Canaanites in lifestyle and mindset.
In today’s society, adultery, theft, licentiousness and materialism have become rampant so much so it is increasingly difficult to differentiate between believers and non-believers. Because of this, the judgment of God is coming into the world beginning with the community of God. What identify us as God’s sons are not religious habits or church membership but a transformed heart and a lifestyle that is of God.
Are you co-existing with the vices of sin? Do you have a tendency to trivialise sin as a personal matter thinking you are able to contain it? No sin is too trivial to turn a blind eye to. A believer may tolerate and excuse some pet sin only to wake up some day to realise that it has become too big to contain. If you find it hard to eradicate a sinful pattern, or it has become uncontrollable, it may be a sign that you need help from a more mature Christian. Make plans to approach your cell leader or pastor so that they could walk with you towards victory.
Dear Lord, forgive me for co-existing with a sinful pattern. I now make a decision to burn the bridge that leads me back into sin. Feel me with your Spirit and sanctify my mind and body from sinful passions. I now stand righteous and victorious in the blood covenant of Jesus. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.