Until now we had more the inner condition of the people before us. Now we are being given the duty to the outside world. The nations must be utterly destroyed because they are an obstacle to inheriting and enjoying the land’s blessing. God wants us to learn that the blessings He has given us can only be taken possession of by us through struggle to enjoy them.
They must destroy those peoples, not on the basis of murder, but as executors of divine judgment. These nations have earned that judgment righteously from God. Research has shown that at that time they were the most depraved peoples of the earth. God has endured them for 400 years, but now their iniquity is full (Gen 15:16-2116Then in the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete.”17It came about when the sun had set, that it was very dark, and behold, [there appeared] a smoking oven and a flaming torch which passed between these pieces.18On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying,
“To your descendants I have given this land,
From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates:
19the Kenite and the Kenizzite and the Kadmonite20and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Rephaim21and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Girgashite and the Jebusite.”).
God could also have exterminated these peoples by disease, hunger, or natural disasters (cf. Eze 38:21-2221I will call for a sword against him on all My mountains,” declares the Lord GOD. “Every man’s sword will be against his brother.22With pestilence and with blood I will enter into judgment with him; and I will rain on him and on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, a torrential rain, with hailstones, fire and brimstone.). But he lets His people do it, so that they may receive the serious lesson of how holy He is and how terrible sin is in His eyes. The judgment they pronounce will be their portion if they follow the nations in their sins and abominations.
Seven nations are mentioned who have taken over the land of God unlawfully. The number seven shows that in these nations the complete power of wickedness is seen. They are a picture of the rulers and powers and world forces, spiritual powers of wickedness in the heavenly places. Against these powers is our struggle and not, as with Israel, against blood and flesh: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual [forces] of wickedness in the heavenly [places]”. (Eph 6:1212For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual [forces] of wickedness in the heavenly [places].).
The only way to take possession of the inheritance is through struggle and victory. We are placed in the inheritance by God – He “raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:66and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus,) – but enemies have taken possession of it and want to prevent us from making it our property. For Israel is the promise that the LORD will deliver them to His people, so that they will be able to defeat them. For us the Lord Jesus defeated all enemies on the cross and in His resurrection (Heb 2:1414Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,; Col 2:1515When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.). With Him as our Leader, victory is certain when we go in the armor God has made available to us (Eph 6:13-1813Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.14Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,15and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;16in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil [one].17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.18With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,).
Israel must not show these enemies any mercy or make any covenant with them. They must be “utterly destroyed”. For us, believers of the church, applies that we cannot make a covenant with unbelievers (2Cor 6:1414Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?), but we must show them grace and do them good. Proving grace and doing good suits the revelation of God our Savior in this day and age (1Tim 2:3-43This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,4who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.).
What we should not show any mercy to are the wicked powers, which are the principles by which unbelievers let themselves be guided. That is why we cannot commit ourselves to social groups that pursue noble goals, or to political parties that want to improve the world. The principles behind it are not from God.
In the land nothing can be tolerated that does not come from obedience to God. Only what He gives is appropriate for the land. Therefore, all that is not of Him must be destroyed with the axe and fire (verse 55But thus you shall do to them: you shall tear down their altars, and smash their [sacred] pillars, and hew down their Asherim, and burn their graven images with fire.). This means that the altars and sacred pillars used to serve the idols should not be cleansed and then consecrated to God. This happened in Christianity with the Christianization of originally pagan feasts such as Christmas and the worship of Mary.
The inheritance contrasts with things in our lives that make enjoyment impossible. The types do not speak about what we have become in principle, but about living and experiencing the truths of the New Testament. We have received an inheritance in the light (Col 1:1212giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.). This contrasts with our salvation from the power of darkness. What we already own, we must now enjoy. We do this in the midst of the world of darkness from which we are redeemed. To really enjoy, we must remove all remnants of darkness and thus make the heritage our property.
It is not God’s intention that we own an inheritance without knowing about it and enjoying it to the full. When John speaks of eternal life in his letters, he does so as something we already own and not as something we will only get later. Therefore, the enemies must be driven out of our lives to enjoy it. We can overcome the powers in our lives through the power of the Spirit.
The more terrain the enemy possesses, the less we can enjoy the blessings. Everything that is attractive is dangerous and must be disposed of, otherwise we lose the blessings (verse 1616You shall consume all the peoples whom the LORD your God will deliver to you; your eye shall not pity them, nor shall you serve their gods, for that [would be] a snare to you.). God gives a blessing in place of every evil we drive out of our lives. He fills every terrain that we conquer from enemy and give way to Him with His blessing.
It is a matter of expelling the enemy so that we may inherit the land and be a pleasure to God. An absolute separation is needed with the world forces of this darkness. God wants us to possess for Himself to have fellowship with us. This is only possible if our thoughts correspond to His and we have the same interest as He has. What is it like in the families? Are the parents looking for this for their children?