Conquering The Canaanites In Your Life
Several years ago, I did a two-part study on what the Bible says about Rest. The first part was And I Will Give You Rest (The Rest Of Salvation), and the second part was Rest For Your Souls (The Rest Of Victory In Christ). In the second study, which I would encourage you to read prior to reading this one (as it builds upon what was presented there), I showed how the Israelites conquering the Canaanites in the Promised Land picture the Christian overcoming spiritually, conquering the sins in their life, through faith.
This morning, with that mindset, I was reading some of the book of Deuteronomy, and more things fell into place on this theme and picture
Deuteronomy 3:27-28 Get thee up into the top of Pisgah, and lift up thine eyes westward, and northward, and southward, and eastward, and behold it with thine eyes: for thou shalt not go over this Jordan. But charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him: for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which thou shalt see.
We know that Moses lost his opportunity to go into the Promised Land due to his sin, and the Lord said Joshua would enter in instead, as the leader of the people. I believe this also is typical (ie. a type). This also pictures the defeat of the law to give us victory, but we have victory through the grace of the new covenant. We lost the victory and power to overcome through sin, but through following our Joshua (OT form of the name Jesus, Saviour, and in various ways a type of Christ) we can enter into the Promised Land of spiritual rest and have victory.
How fitting! The Israelites had to enter into the Promised Land and conquer all their enemies, the Canaanites, through faith; just as the believer enters into victory through Christ and must conquer the sins in our lives through faith. When the Israelites disobeyed or did not choose to fight the Canaanites, they lost their victory and were defeated at great cost; similarly, when we choose to disobey and not deal with the sins in our lives, those same sins will conquer us and be thorns in our sides.
Now reading the above part about Joshua, it seems to add even further to that picture. We could also add Exodus 17:8-16, where while Moses help up his hands, Joshua gave Israel the victory – when we persevere in fervent prayer and uphold one another before the throne of grace, we have victory through Christ. I just find it neat how OT literal events contain pictures of aspects of our walks with the Lord – and sometimes cause you to think about things in a different light. Let’s keep looking unto Jesus!
In Deuteronomy 1-3, we have the recap of the previous generation’s failure to enter the Promised Land through unbelief, which led to their disobedience. Then at the end of chapter three, they are exhorted to follow Joshua and enter the Promised Land of victory.
Deuteronomy 3:28 But charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him: for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which thou shalt see.
It was through following Joshua that the Israelites would have the victory and would be able to inherit the land which the Lord has promised them. Likewise, through following our Joshua, by faith we can have complete victory and overcome through claiming the promises in God’s Word.
Now this is the next thing said:
Deuteronomy 4:1-2 Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you. Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
Their victory depended upon their heeding of the Word of God! In the New Testament, the same is stated for the NT believer in Hebrews 3-4 (which I cover in my second study on Rest linked above – but I did not notice the parallel here in Deuteronomy). From Hebrews 3:7-4:10, we have the admonition of how the Israelites lost their victory through unbelief, then this exhortation:
Hebrews 4:11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
The word for labour means “to use speed, i.e. to make effort, be prompt or earnest; be diligent.” Paul (and the Holy Spirit) are exhorting us to earnestly strive for victory in Christ, to be diligent to ensure that we do not lose this victory through our willful unbelief, through our lack of trust in the Lord – the word unbelief here means “to disbelieve (willfully and perversely)”. They made a choice NOT to believe – let’s make the choice to trust the Lord and walk in obedience. How do we obtain that victory? Notice the very next verse:
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Their victory depended on heeding the Word of God! I could never figure out before why Deuteronomy 4:2 emphasized the Word of God right here – (one of only 4 strong warnings like this in the whole Bible – Deuteronomy 12:32; Proverbs 30:6; and Revelation 22:18-19 being the other ones; basically at the beginning, middle, and end of God’s Word). Now with the parallel passage in Hebrews 3-4, we can understand why now.
My study on Rest also clearly explains Hebrews 4:12-16, giving three specific ways that the Lord Jesus Christ will enable us to overcome in Him (here are the headings from that part of the study – please refer to the study to get the full explanation):
How do we achieve or maintain this victory? The next five verses give us three things to continue in, three things that are so essential if we are to be victorious, three things that will enable us to abide in the rest of victory that Jesus Christ offers to the child of God:
1) Stay continually in the Word of God. Hebrews 4:12
2) Look continually to Jesus Christ. Hebrews 4:13-15
3) Pray continually, and come continually to the throne of grace. Hebrews 4:16
I would encourage you to read the rest of the study to learn more about our victory in Christ.
All that was by way of Introduction and background for this Devotional study today
Deuteronomy chapter 5 recaps the 10 commandments, chapter six states they are to obey and love the Lord, and chapter seven starts with this verse:
Deuteronomy 7:1 When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;
In a chapter promising them complete victory through obeying the Lord and not compromising with the Canaanites, I find the number of nations interesting (other places list six or ten depending on the context – so here as well we see a picture).
Deuteronomy 7:2 And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:
When the Lord delivers these nations up, then they are to conquer them; when the Holy Spirit brings a sin to our attention, then we are to overcome it. (See Leviticus 4-5) Why then? Because God knows when we are at a level of maturity and knowledge of the Word of God to be able to handle and deal with a particular sin or struggle in our lives. If we try to deal with these areas before God’s timing, we may cause ourselves some grief. Let the Holy Spirit work in your life and make all things beautiful in His time.
On the above note, I wanted to add this extreme warning about something I have seen creep into Christendom, and has caused damage to many. That is the New Age garbage about recovered memories. Basically the idea is delving in your past (whether through a psychiatrist or counsellor, or through reading “Christian” self-help books) to bring to light areas where you have been hurt – whether mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally. Through this “recovered memories” therapy Christians are exhorted relive and deal with all the abuse and wounds from their past. This can cause so much harm! Not just to the individual, but to those around them – and I have seen it in my own life as a young believer and in the lives of others.
Instead of waiting until the Holy Spirit brings something from the past to your mind for you to deal with – this type of New Age therapy seeks to force it out. So instead of dealing with these things in God’s timing, when you are a mature enough believer to do so, when you are able to run to Him for the grace and healing necessary, you skirt the ministry of the Holy Spirit to your heart and mind, and try to heal it yourself – thereby causing untold harm. The warning is: When, then!
Just two personal examples to get this across. In our teen years, my sister and I encountered abuse in various ways – and in trying to cope with it, we resorted to our own ways. My sister’s way was to run from the situations that caused her grief, pain, or seemed too much a conflict to deal with – so instead of maturing in that area and having the victory, she would just side-step the problem, run somewhere else, and take her problem with her. Then one day the Holy Spirit dealt with her about this area of her life – when she was ready to deal with it, when she was more knowledgeable in God’s Word, when she had learned a lot more about His lovingkindness and care for her – then she realized her Heavenly Father would give her the wisdom and grace to deal with these conflicts in her life. Since then she has been an Overcomer in Christ.
Likewise, I had built up my own self-defense mechanisms to cope. My way was to withdraw from the world, lose myself in fantasy and Science Fiction novels and in Dungeon and Dragons materials – basically entering imaginary worlds to escape the pain and conflict in my own. After I got saved, these things went out of my life – yet the defense mechanisms were still there, I still coped by hiding, though in different ways. To make a long story short, there came a point in time when the Lord brought this sinful manner of coping to my attention, and then – even though it was painful to face it – He gave me grace and strength to Overcome and put this area behind me, after working through it. Part of the process prior to this time was dealing with ongoing depression that I struggled with for over half of my life – He enabled me to have and maintain the victory over this through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and through claiming Bible promises. Here is how through Christ I got that victory: My Victory Over Depression. Then it was after this point in time that the other issue of my past was brought to mind; I had already gotten the victory in some areas – and was enabled to get the victory in this area as well. My testimony on overcoming past abuse is: Provoke Not Your Children. I am sure I still have a lot of growth to do – but my life has never been the same after each of these major victories – BUT they occurred in God’s timing: WHEN He said it was time to deal with my Canaanites, THEN He gave me the victory over them! Praise the Lord for those victories through Christ!
Deuteronomy 7:16 And thou shalt consume all the people which the LORD thy God shall deliver thee; thine eye shall have no pity upon them: neither shalt thou serve their gods; for that will be a snare unto thee.
We know they were to wipe out these nations because of their utter wickedness and sinfulness in God’s sight – they were not to spare them or compromise with them. In the same way, spiritually we are to wipe out ALL the Canaanites in our lives (all the sin) and not to compromise (see 1 John 2:1). When each group of Canaanites were delivered into their hands, then they were to go and conquer them through faith.
Is the Lord teaching they will have no more battles after a certain point (which would picture us as believers overcoming ALL sin in our lives, which we know the Bible teaches will not happen until we get our new bodies)? (See 1 John 1:8-10 and 2:2)
Look at this next part
Deuteronomy 7:17-21 If thou shalt say in thine heart, These nations are more than I; how can I dispossess them? Thou shalt not be afraid of them: but shalt well remember what the LORD thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt; The great temptations which thine eyes saw, and the signs, and the wonders, and the mighty hand, and the stretched out arm, whereby the LORD thy God brought thee out: so shall the LORD thy God do unto all the people of whom thou art afraid. Moreover the LORD thy God will send the hornet among them, until they that are left, and hide themselves from thee, be destroyed. Thou shalt not be affrighted at them: for the LORD thy God is among you, a mighty God and terrible.
The Lord promises victory over all our Canaanites. But notice the path of victory – it is not complete and utter eradication of these enemies all at once; it is as we walk with Him. The Lord God would stir them up by sending hornets among them, to sting them. Ever notice how sore your conscience gets, how it stings, when a sin is freshly brought to your attention? Time to deal with it then!
Deuteronomy 7:22-24 And the LORD thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee. But the LORD thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed. And he shall deliver their kings into thine hand, and thou shalt destroy their name from under heaven: there shall no man be able to stand before thee, until thou have destroyed them.
Little by little, these Canaanites will be exposed and conquered; little by little, they will be destroyed. Little by little, the sin is exposed in our lives – oh, first the major ones – then little skirmishes with pride, lust, bitterness, selfishness, envy, gossip, etc. An ongoing process. The Lord will continue – little by little – that work He has begun in us, giving us complete victory over all areas we give to Him, exposing our “little” sins one by one, revealing them to us, so that we may conquer them through our Mighty Leader, Jesus. An ongoing process of conquering the Canaanites; an ongoing process of mortifying our sinful flesh.
Notice verse 24, where God states that He would even deliver the kings of the land into their hands for them to conquer. Are there any sins that have dominion in your life? Any sins conquering you – whether addictions of any kind, whether depression and sinful ways of dealing with areas of your life, whatever has dominion over you – if it is not the Holy Spirit of God filling and controlling you, then something else has dominion. The Holy Spirit wants to deliver up these kings in your life, and give you the victory over them. Look up these following passages: Romans 6; Psalm 19:13; 119:33.
We are going to have these “little” skirmishes with self and sin until we are taken home to Heaven (whether at the rapture or when we fall asleep in Jesus), but we can have the victory as we walk with Christ. Every victory will lead to further victory, making the next battle easier, but sin and abominations in the camp will cause us defeat until we deal with them.
Deuteronomy 7:25-26 The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the LORD thy God. Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing.
This passage just above is the one that Achan didn’t heed (in Joshua 7) and caused grief to the whole tribe of Israel – he harbored an abomination in his tent, against God’s clear instructions in His Word, and it led to defeat and death. The whole nation lost the victory until their Achan was dealt with. The word Achan means “trouble,” and he caused serious trouble to the whole nation of Israel. Are there any Achans in your life, any idols in your heart, any known sin in your camp? Don’t give this Achan (trouble) a foothold in your camp – this will only cause you despair and grief. The victory is in Jesus. Claim it today.
One final note to end this study on: in the very next chapter, only a few more verses down we see this verse:
Deuteronomy 8:3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.
In the context of possessing the Promised Land through faith and conquering the Canaanites, here again the Lord tells them, it is through heeding the Word of God, by living “by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD.” In the New Testament (Matthew 4:4), we see the Lord Jesus Christ, the believer’s great example (1 John 2:6; 1 Peter 2:21), using this exact same verse to resist the devil and his temptations to sin. Likewise, we need to live by every Word of God to conquer the Canaanites in our lives. How well do you know your Bible? How much are you living by faith and claiming Bible promises? They were given to us so that we could conquer the lusts of our flesh and live a life that is pleasing to the Lord.
2 Peter 1:3-4 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
February 28th, 2006