One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Friday, March 22, 2013: Numbers 33:40-35:34
55 But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall be that those whom you let remain shall be irritants in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall harass you in the land where you dwell. 56 Moreover it shall be that I will do to you as I thought to do to them.’” Number 33:55-56 (NKJV)
The story of the journey from Egypt to Canaan serves two purposes. It is first off the accurate HISTORY of how God led His Israel out of slavery into possession of the Promised Land. Secondly, it is a LESSON for us today concerning our journey out of the bondage of sin and into our divine destiny. I Corinthians 10:1-13 states this. There we find these words written by the hand of the Apostle Paul: "Now all these things happened to them (Israel) as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come" (I Co. 10:11).
This is rich with meaning for us today! The story of Israel's journey is a parable to us about our journey. Paul gives several illustrations in I Corinthians 10 about how this parallel works, and it is well worth our time to study each one.
In the light of this, Numbers 33 comes alive to us. Israel is poised on the east bank of the Jordan ready to go into Canaan and conquer. They are given some very exacting instructions. They are told to "drive out all the inhabitants of the land" (Num. 33:52). A succession of powerful and dramatic words are used by God in His instructions concerning driving out these inhabitants. Words like "destroy", "demolish", and "dispossess".
How in the world does this apply to us today? What is the parallel? In II Corinthians 7:1 we read these words, "Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." It is clear that as we move into our destiny in Christ, there are "old ways" that we have to lay down. Just as there is new territory we have to possess, there are also old ways that we must leave behind.
Out of Numbers 33, God gives us a warning. The age-old challenge to God's people has been PARTIAL OBEDIENCE. From Adam and Eve to King Saul, COMPROMISE and partial obedience have always served to bring a stumbling block. God tells Israel in Numbers 33 to thoroughly drive out the pagan inhabitants of the land. It isn't because He hates them; it's because He wants His people to learn a new way of living.
Here's the warning: God says that failure to follow through will bring irritation and pain. Most people who have come to Christ have brought a whole pile of "old ways" with them. It may be anger or greed. It may be "flesh patterns" of carnality. Most people have two or three major life-long battles that have accompanied their path. God says, "DECLARE WAR!" Drive these enemies out of your land. If you allow them to stay, they will be irritants in your eyes. They will blur your vision so that you will find it at times hard to see the path ahead. They will be thorns in your side. Just as you begin to gain momentm, they will bend you over again in pain.
God has given you new life in Christ. He has brought you on a great journey toward destiny. We can learn great lessons from the story of Israel about how to take the next steps. Here are a few questions:
Are there any areas in your life that regularly bring you defeat and that stop your progress?
Have you allowed the enemy to remain active in certain areas of your life despite your repeated attempts toward obedience?
Have you accepted an unbiblical idea or practice to remain in your life because you simply couldn't defeat it?
If the answer to any of these is YES, then perhaps it's time to DECLARE WAR. By the power of the Holy Spirit and in the Name of Jesus, declare that there will be a new day of advance toward your God-given destiny. No more compromise. No more partial obedience. No more acceptance of intruders on your territory. This is the good battle. This is destiny.