Oh, the Israelites. My heart aches for them. My heart aches for God. What heartache they put Him through!
Reading the end of this chapter is like the ominous music in the background of a movie when you know someone is about to die. The Israelites are warned again to get rid of the inhabitants of the land. They are commanded to remove them all and to destroy their images and high places, their means of false worship.
It’s for their own protection. Their love and life and hope and security all comes from being with God. If they remove themselves from Him, they are in danger. A loving parent wants to protect a child from danger.
They are warned that if they don’t drive out the inhabitants of the land, those inhabitants will become irritants and thorns to the Israelites. Why would they keep them around? Why don’t they believe and trust God? Why don’t they drive them all out? It’s all those same things – namely, self.
We have the Reubenites and the Gadites, who have already decided to not enter the Promised Land. Why should they fight and claim the territory if they already have their land, already have what they decided they wanted?
If you have the career you always wanted and that’s what you sought after, why would you give it up?
If you have a home and were settled and secure and that’s what you had sought after, why would you give it up?
If you had a relationship that was meeting your needs and that’s what you had sought after, why would you give it up?
If you have a ministry and position that you had always wanted and had sought after, why would you give it up?
If you have money because you worked hard and invested wisely just as you had always sought after, why would you give it up?
Why? Because He is worthy! Because He is good. Because He is love. Because He is the I AM. Because He was and is and is to come. Because He is King of the Universe and Jesus will reign forever as your King. Because He is worthy of every last ounce of everything you’ve got, and more so.
We don’t give it up because there’s a great reward waiting for us in heaven. We give it up because His glory is our reward.