Romans 12:2 tells us that God wants us to stop being conformed to the world, but instead to be transformed by the renewing of our minds to the Word of God. The word in the Greek for “conformed” means external patterns that don’t come from within. When God delivered the children of Israel from Egypt, He did so in order for them to be free, not just physically, but spiritually and mentally as well. However, Israel didn’t follow the Lord’s ways, but instead was conformed to the external patterns around them. They never enjoyed the lasting freedom that God wanted for them as His people. If we don’t deal with the external patterns in our lives, we will become just like the Israelites – Promised Land captives. When God told Israel to go in and possess the land, He also told them to drive out the inhabitants and destroy their idols and images. The names of the seven enemy nations listed in Joshua 3:10, are very telling when the definition of each name is looked up:
And Joshua said, “By this you shall know that the living God is among you, and that He will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Hivites and the Perizzites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Jebusites:
- Canaanite: “To press down”
- Hittite: “Fear or terror”
- Hivite: “Compromise”
- Perizzite: “Lack of commitment”
- Girgashite: “Strangers”
- Amorite: “Word of murmurers”
- Jebusite: “Heaviness”
Do you recognize any of the enemies in your life? Are you in heaviness? Is fear controlling your life? Are you compromising with sin? It is time to face the enemy and drive out him out! God has promised victory, you don’t have to live in defeat!
God didn’t tell Israel that they would overcome all their enemies at once, but “little by little” (Exodus 23:30). God did not want any traces of these heathen idolaters left for the Israelites to emulate. God told them to destroy all of their heathen paraphernalia:
Then shall ye drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places: And you shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein: for I have given you the land to possess it.
God’s people were to destroy and/or pluck down:
- All their pictures
- All their images
- All their high places
If these influences were to remain, it would not be long before the Israelites were worshipping idol gods. This is exactly what happened; they did not deal with them as God instructed. Thorns in their flesh they were until they were brought into captivity. Over and over, Israel went through seven cycles of idolatry bondage and deliverance during the period of the judges.
We will continue with our study tomorrow.