But in the cities of these peoples that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes, but you shall devote them to complete destruction, the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, as the LORD your God has commanded, that they may not teach you to do according to all their abominable practices that they have done for their gods, and so you sin against the LORD your God.The Lord clearly told the people that they were to drive out and destroy all of the people in the Promised Land.
However, we read in Joshua 17: 12-13:
Yet the people of Manasseh could not take possession of those cities, but the Canaanites persisted in dwelling in that land. Now when the people of Israel grew strong, they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but did not utterly drive them out.Oops. I think the Israelites once again forgot what God told them to do. What I found interesting was that even after the Israelites grew strong enough to defeat the Canaanites, they didn't, but kept them as slaves, probably reasoning that forced labor was close enough to destruction, right? And far more useful. . .
The Lord also commands me to be holy and to not entertain the slightest bit of sin. Yet I think sometimes that I do the same thing the Israelites did. God tells me not to be anxious. Instead of ruthlessly confessing, praying, and turning to the Lord whenever I have an anxious thought, I reason that since the anxiety is not over the top, well, then it's not that big of a deal. Or maybe there are some fears I have or lies that I believe that I ignore--they are there, but I can usually stuff them down. My reasoning is that those sins or weaknesses are under my control (forced labor, if you will). However, like with the Promised Land, the Lord wants my heart to be free of both sin and influences which draw me away from Him. Only by working with the Lord to root out both sin and lies completely will I walk freely in the abundant life I have been given.
The Israelite's disobedience led to their exile and destruction. My disobedience could lead to my downfall as well. I am praying that the Lord will show me any areas where I am letting sin or lies hang around with the mistaken belief that they are serving me.