This article was first published on our church website.
“They did not dislodge the Canaanites living in Gezer; to this day the Canaanites live among the people …” (Josh 16:10)
A throwaway line at the end of a chapter that may interest government officers involved in boundary changes but not the rest of us. Right? This apparently incidental statement about how the Ephraimites didn’t manage to eject the Canaanites from their newfound home speaks volumes into the battle for the even more important territory of our hearts!
In chapter 5, we read of Joshua’s circumcision of all of the Israeli men, as a sign of separation and devotion to God. In Chapter 6, we read about God’s warning to keep away from the devoted things (see verse 18) as these belonged to the Lord and he didn’t want their hearts hankering after secondary pleasures. In chapter 7, we see the effects upon Achan of not dislodging these physically enticing things from his heart! And on and on it goes. Dislodging is a key idea for those who would be devoted to God!
To follow Jesus requires a radical (and I use that word appropriately) devotion. Allegiance to him means that we are at war with the love of the world which is expressed in “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16). To be a disciple or apprentice of Jesus means to actively look to “dislodge the Canaanites” or desires of this world, not so we become vacant and empty, but so our hearts and lives can be filled and flooded with overwhelming love and devotion for Jesus!
Dear Father, here is my heart, I don’t want it to be filled with small enemy kingdoms that cannot be dislodged. No, I want my heart to be fully consumed with love and devotion for you. Where there are Canaanite-like encampments, would you give me the power to resist their lure, and to forcefully remove them from my heart so I might love you with all my heart, soul and mind. Amen