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August 22 – An ominous warning

“Nevertheless the children of Israel did not drive out the Geshurites or the Maachathites, but the Geshurites and the Maachathites dwell among the Israelites until this day.” – Joshua 13:13

Scripture reading: Joshua 13:8-14

Because of the Lord’s righteous judgment against sin, the Israelites were to exterminate all of the Canaanites from the Promised Land. This was a foreshadowing of what will happen at the end of time when God’s eternal judgment is brought upon the whole earth. In our passage today, we see the first occurrence of what will quickly become a common pattern with Israel: a failure to walk by faith and to trust in the Lord. Even though they have God’s specific promise to lead them, they fail to do as He commands. Pagans are allowed to live in Israel.

Our tendency is to read this and not see anything too threatening. This is not much to get worked up over, is it? A couple of minor Canaanite tribes? Whom we have never even heard of before? Whose names we can’t even pronounce? Is this really such a big deal? After all, Israel has been through a lot already. They have been very faithful in the big tests given them against those massive coalitions of pagan kings! So they deserve a break, don’t they? Maybe later they can take care of these last few stragglers.

But “later” never comes. Israel too easily lives with sin. They become comfortable with pagans in their midst. And within one generation these pagans have taken over God’s people (see Judges 2:7-10). This is how easily sin infects our heart. Do not live with it. Fight it! Trust in Jesus, and He will strengthen you for this battle.

Suggestions for prayer

Ask the Lord to reveal and root out sin from your life. Ask the Spirit to increase your spiritual fervour. Ask Christ to work within you in powerful new ways.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Ed Marcusse is the pastor of the Oak Glen United Reformed Church of Lansing, Illinois.

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