Pericope: Numbers 33:55-56
One of the instructions the Lord gave to his people as they were setting out to conquer the Promised Land was to destroy everything! God had his people practice the law of the Ban. This is a difficult concept to satisfy. Why would God want his people to annihilate innocent lives of even children instead of having his people evangelize them? Why such morbidity? Was this a fair practice? In reality, Israel was God’s tool to bring judgment on the inhabitants of the land of Canaan. They were wicked people who had a long history of utterly rejecting God and worshiping idols. God’s grace allowed them to live until this point, and the land was God’s anyways. So in essence, God was simply making room for Himself, for His people, by clearing the land from the rule of the wicked. So here Israel is at the footstep to the Promised Land. And God asked them to destroy everything. Why? In addition to commencing judgment on the wicked, God knew the effects that their wickedness would have on his people. He knew that Israel would be evangelized instead of the evangelizers. He knew that if they did not destroy the inhabitants of the land, then those who remained would be “irritants in your eyes and thorns in your side, and will cause you trouble in the land where you will be living.” The wicked would bring Israel into bondage. Not only that, but Israel would be in the same jeopardy of being annihilated if they started worshipping other Gods. So what relevance does that have for me today? First, I am thankful because God is at work on behalf of His people. He is patiently providing a place of peace and rest for his people. The world as we know it right now will one day not exist and a new heaven and earth will be created. One day sin and death will be gone. In addition, as God brings us into His community, he is delivering us from a world of hurts, habits, and hangups. Therefore, I should do all I can to destroy the opportunity for sin because it will always seek to bring me into bondage and destroy the freedom I have in God’s community. God knew what he was doing when He asked Israel to practice the Ban. So also should believers practice the Ban against opportunities for sin!