I am taking a class in my church that I am loving. It is called Panorama of the Bible. I actually took the course 20+ years ago and to be honest it has served as the key shaper of my thinking of how the Bible fits together. It is a survey type course that does a systematic fly-over of the Scriptures. Once I finish it this time I may spend some time on here floating through the timelines with you. But anyway. We are in the portion of the timeline where the nation of Israel has entered into the land and conquered the land. Read this section in Exodus 23 where the Lord gives them a heads up of how they will finish the campaign of taking the land:
29I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the wild beasts multiply against you. 30Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possess the land. 31And I will set your border from the Red Sea to the Sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness to the Euphrates, for I will give the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you shall drive them out before you. 32You shall make no covenant with them and their gods. 33They shall not dwell in your land, lest they make you sin against me; for if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you.”
The goal of the conquest was to have a major military operation to capture the land, then they would divide the land among the tribes and then the tribes would slowly complete the task by driving out the small pockets of resistance. The Lord was very clear that He did not want them co-existing in the land with the people of the land lest the nation become ensnared with the spiritual pollution of their lifestyles.
The trouble is that the Israelites did not complete the conquest. They didn’t drive out the inhabitants. And this incomplete conquest became their downfall and led to apostasy that eventually would cause them to falter in their walk with the Lord.
The imagery of the incomplete conquest is a snapshot into the life of the believer as well. God has conquered the land of our souls yet leaves some areas of challenge for us to root out (areas of sin and compromise). And it is our responsibility to rid ourselves of these areas of sin. But we don’t and we allow these to co-exist with our new belief system and it causes us to fall away from walking in obedience with the Lord.
What insurgents still co-exist with you and me in our incomplete conquest of the land of our souls. Just like God promised them to drive out the people of the land, so He is committed to helping us become holy in all our ways. He is committed to helping us clean up the resistance. It may take some work but it is do-able.