“When my angel goes ahead of you and brings you to the Emori, Hitti, P’rizi, Kena‘ani, Hivi and Y’vusi, I will make an end of them. You are not to worship their gods, serve them or follow their practices; rather, you are to demolish them completely and smash their standing-stones to pieces.“-Exodus 23:23-24
Concerning the possession of the Promised Land, the Lord had some stern and harsh instructions for Israel.
Not only were they to avoid worshipping the gods of the Canaanites, they were to utterly destroy their idols and smash to pieces the various stone altars and monuments erected to these false deities.
What would be the results of complete compliance to the Lord in this matter?
The Lord would bless them and make them fruitful.
He would save them from all manner of illnesses.
No Hebrew women would miscarry and Israel’s population would flourish.
In order to achieve this, the Scriptures tell us that the Lord would affect Israel’s enemies both spiritually and physically by putting a supernatural fear of Israel into the hearts of the Canaanites and sicking hoards of stinging hornets on them.
In fact, we’re told that Israel’s victory in taking the land was going to be so swift that the Lord was going to have to slow them down lest the wild animals take over.
The Lord was going to have Israel conquer the Promised Land at a nice inch-by-inch, step-by-step pace so they could assume proper stewardship over the land and its resources.
Now take a look at verse 31.
“I will set your boundaries from the Sea of Suf to the sea of the P’lishtim and from the desert to the [Euphrates] River, for I will hand the inhabitants of the land over to you, and you will drive them out from before you.”
The REAL borders of the Promised Land that the Lord has bequeathed to Israel stretch all the way from the Gulf of Aqaba (the finger the of Red Sea) eastward all the up to the Mediterranean Sea to the West (the domain of the Philistines).
This is a HUGE tract of land that is nothing like the tiny little dot in the Middle East where Israel is today.
And here’s the thing.
To this very day, Israel has yet to fully possess the land according to the boundaries the Lord has established!
Now take a look at verses 32-33.
“You are not to make a covenant with them or with their gods. They are not to live in your land; otherwise they will make you sin against me by ensnaring you to serve their gods.”
There is ONE SINGULAR REASON why we have a Middle East crisis today.
It is because the Hebrews DISOBEYED God’s clear instructions.
Against God’s clear instructions they….
….made treaties with the Canaanites,
When Joshua was leading Israel, they let their own ideas of human mercy get in the way and now not only Israel today but the whole world is suffering for it.
While this may be a bitter pill to swallow, the truth is had ancient Israel followed God’s instructions completely, we would NOT have a Middle East crisis today and Israel would be in full proper possession of ALL the land the Lord had given to them.
Fortunately, when the Messiah returns, the second JOSHUA, He is going to fulfill the Lord’s instructions perfectly in driving Israel’s enemies out of the land.
Not one jot or tittle will be overlooked in following the Lord’s instructions when the Messiah returns.