God had made a promise to the Israelites to give them a land filled with milk and honey. And here they are on the border... only steps away from their promise.
But God also gave them a bit of instruction... a warning actually, of what they must do to have it. For it wasn't a land vacant and empty. It was actually occupied by many people who had a lifestyle as idol worshippers. These weren't just casual idols to the people of Canaan. These were statues, images and altars which captured the people's soul. And the rituals which they professed were very ungodly.
And Yahweh, wanting to keep the Israelites dedicated to Him, knew that if these people stayed in the land, if their idols remained... there would be trouble. So He commanded that they 'dispossess' the land before they could possess it.
That meant that they would need to take the land by force... to take the place of those who already lived there. And in doing such, God asked that they destroy the images and demolish the high places. For if these were left behind, they would be a temptation to draw their hearts away from Him; to temp them to become like those who did not know God.
And while that sounds harsh, it was commanded by God because He knew what was best for the people... He knows what is best for us.
Our God was actually wanting to bless them immensely; as He does for us. But He also knows what can happen when people become double-minded... trying to be open to all options, trying to make excuse for all ways of life.
This actually became a struggle for the Israelites, as it is often for us. We want so much to accept and love all people. And that is Godly. But excusing the lifestyle and participating in that which the world approves is not.
And God knows that can only lead to a life of ruin. If we, like the Israelites receive what God desires to give without dispossing what this world values, it will become tainted, unholy and worthless. So this is how He protects uss... by asking that we trust Him in this. This is how He protects the possessions He gives... that we keep ourselves set apart from the trappings of the world and live with a higher mindset.
Yes, we can love all people.
No, He no longer asks that we take possession by destroying people.
But excusing and accepting ways of life which are unholy is not receiving God's best for us. Rather we need to ask for His discernment, His grace and His help. We should want what is best for us... as well as for those who live as we don't. This does not require our condemnation of anyone.
Loving others can be done while we maintain right-standing with God. And as such, we will be greater witnesses. Just living our life without idols, without excuse, without compromise.
Let us look to God as our Possession Protector... for He wants everyone to have the best that He offers.
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