You’ve Crossed Over the Jordan, But the Inheritance Is Not Yet Ready For You to Enjoy

Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy, which was written and recorded by Moses the servant of the Lord. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters seven through eleven of this Old Testament book. When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find Moses continuing to rehearse before the congregation of the children of Israel that which they were commanded and instructed by the Lord their God to fulfill and accomplish. The more I think about this new generation of the congregation of the children of Israel the more I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that even though the Lord had promised to bring them into the land which was sworn unto their fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and even though the Lord was going to lead them into the land which was to be their inheritance and possession, the land would not be without commandments and instructions concerning it. It would be very easy to allow ourselves to get caught up in the fact that the living God was going to bring the congregation of the children of Israel into the land of Canaan, and it would be very easy to get caught up in the fact that this land was a land that flowed with milk and honey. It would be incredibly easy to get caught up in the fact that this land was to be theirs as an inheritance and possession, however, what we must recognize and understand concerning the land is that it did not come without commandment and instruction. THE LAND DID NOT COME WITHOUT ASSIGNMENT AND RESPONSIBILITY! THE LAND DID NOT COME WITHOUT COMMANDMENT AND INSTRUCTION! We tend to think of the sheer provision and promise of the land of Canaan, and yet what we fail to understand concerning the land is the commandment that was directly linked and directly connected to it. We tend to think of the land of Canaan simply as that which the Lord God of the Hebrews was offering unto them, and yet we fail to recognize the responsibility that was directly linked and connected to the land. With that being said, it’s necessary that we not only recognize the commandments that were to govern the people upon their entrance into the land, but there were also commandments concerning their activity within the land. When we think about the responsibility that surrounded the land into which the living God brought the congregation of the children of Israel it is necessary that we understand that there were commandment which were to govern how they lived within the land, but there were also commands that were given concerning what they were to do upon entering into the land. What we must recognize is that it wasn’t simply about the congregation of the children of Israel entering into the land of Canaan and simply beginning to enjoy everything the land had to offer and afford them upon dwelling and inhabiting the land. There was more to the land than simply enjoying the fruit of the land, and even having an inheritance in the earth after wandering in the wilderness for forty years.

As I sit here this morning I can’t help but think about the fact that the generation of the children of Israel which entered into the land of Canaan was a generation that had spent forty years wandering in the wilderness as they bore the whoredoms of their fathers and that previous generation. It is true that there were most likely some present in that generation which entered into the land of Canaan which had experienced the slavery, bondage and oppression of the land of Egypt. It is true that there were perhaps those present within the generation which entered into the land of Canaan which witnessed and observed the sovereign judgments, signs and wonders which the Lord their God performed in the midst of the land of Egypt. There were undoubtedly those among that first generation which were present in the land of Egypt when the firstborn of all those in the land of Egypt were slaughtered by the angel the Lord sent within and throughout the land to execute His judgment. There would have been those who entered into the land of Egypt who celebrated the Passover with their loins girded, with sandals upon their feet and with a staff in their hand, as they each dwelt and abided within their houses together with their families and households. Undoubtedly there would have been those who were preparing to enter into the land of Canaan that remembered when Pharaoh awoke during the night and ordered the congregation of the children of Israel to depart from the land of Egypt, and to once and for all be removed from the land. There would have been those who would have been present in the generation that would enter into the land of Canaan that would have passed through the waters of the Red Sea when the LORD their God divided the waters to allow them to pass through on dry ground. There would have been those who would enter into the land of Canaan which would have watched as the Egyptians tried pursuing the children of Israel through the parted waters of the Red Sea only to find themselves contending with the Lord their God as He caused the wheels of their chariots to come off, and caused the horses, the chariots, and the army of Israel which had entered into the Red Sea to be thrust into complete chaos and confusion before they would ultimately be destroyed by the waters as they returned to their place. There would have been those who prepared to enter into the land of Canaan which would have stood before the mountain of God in the wilderness as it quaked violently under the weight and pressure of the divine presence and glory of the living God who descended upon it in thick darkness and thick clouds as His presence upon the mountain was as a consuming fire.

Upon thinking about and considering the generation that was preparing to enter into the land of Canaan I am reminded of the fact that there were those who entered into the land of Canaan who were nineteen years of age and younger at the time that first generation refused to rise up and take possession of the land, and instead chose to reject and forfeit the land which was sworn unto their fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob because they believed the evil report which ten of the spies brought back from the land. We would be incredibly naïve to think about and consider the fact that there wouldn’t have at least been some who entered into the land who were alive and present at the time of the Exodus, who were alive and present at the time of the parting of the waters of the Red Sea, and who were alive and present at the time the Lord their God descended upon the mountain and not only gave them the Law with all its statutes, commandments, precepts and decrees, but also gave them the pattern of the Tabernacle, as well as the ministry of the priesthood. What’s more, is that there would have been those who prepared to enter into the land of Canaan which ate of the bread which the living God had provided them from heaven, and which drank from the water which the Lord their God provided from the midst of the rock. There would have been certain of those which were preparing to enter into the land of Canaan which would have been present when their fathers provoked and tempted the Lord their God—not only with the golden calf at the base of the mountain of God, but also with their complaining and murmuring. Such individuals would have also watched and beheld as the Lord destroyed Korah, Dathan, Abiram and On by causing the earth to open its mouth and swallow them alive as they descended into the pit. They would have been present when fire went out from before the Lord and consumed Nadab and Abihu when they offered stranger fire before the Lord, and when fire came out from before the Lord and consumed those two-hundred and fifty men which aligned themselves with the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, Abiram and On. They would have observed as the Lord sent plagues into the midst of the camp when they complained and rebelled against the Lord their God, and as the Lord sent fiery serpents into the midst of the camp which after biting a number of those in the congregation caused some to die, while others would live after looking upon the image of the bronze serpent. There would have been those who observed the glory of the living God filling the Tabernacle of testimony so that not even Moses could enter into it, and as fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed the sacrifice(s) which were upon the altar.

There is not a doubt in my mind that those who were preparing to enter into the land of Canaan had observed and witnessed a tremendous amount over and during that period of forty years as they wandered in the wilderness. That generation which prepared to enter into the land of Canaan which was sworn unto their fathers would have spent forty years wandering in the wilderness as they bore the whoredoms and transgressions of their fathers who sinned and transgressed against the command of the Lord time and time again during those forty years in the wilderness. Please make note of this and mark it well within your hearts and minds, for undoubtedly that generation which were preparing to enter into the land of Canaan would have been tired and weary after spending forty years wandering in the wilderness waiting for that first generation to perish and to fall in the midst of it. Undoubtedly there would have been those who would have looked forward to crossing over the Jordan River and enjoying and experiencing a period of rest—particularly and especially after spending such a considerable amount of time wandering and journeying through the wilderness. What’s more, is that there would have been those who would have grown tired and weary from battle as not only did they engage the king of Canaan in battle, but they also engaged Sihon king of Heshbon and Og king of Bashan, together with their forces in battle on the eastern side of the Jordan River. Not only this, but they were also commanded to the Lord to engage the Midianites and overthrow them because of how they defiled, polluted and corrupted the congregation of the children of Israel at Peor—not only by enticing them with foreign women, but also with idolatrous worship of Baal there on the eastern edge of the Jordan. It’s worth noting that when speaking unto the generation which stood before Moses on this side of the Jordan River he even made the bold and emphatic statement that those who clave to the Lord, and those who did not align themselves with Baal-peor were alive and remained unto this present day. Pause for a moment and think about all that this generation would have witnessed and experienced during that forty year period of time in the wilderness, as they not only witnessed the power, presence and provision of the Lord, and not only witnessed the judgment(s) of the Lord upon those who rebelled against his command and statutes, but also witnessed victory and triumph in battle as they would engaged more than one enemy and adversary on the eastern side of the Jordan River. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we think about and consider this reality, for when we come to the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy we find a people finally preparing to leave the wilderness behind and enter into a new era and new phase of their existence.

The more I think about and the more I consider the words which are found within this Old Testament book of Deuteronomy, and the more I think about and consider that which is spoken by the living God concerning this land, the more I can’t help but consider the fact that when it comes to the inheritance He was bringing them into, it was about more than simply crossing the Jordan River and beginning to inhabit and dwell in the midst of the land. As you read the words which are found in the Old Testament books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and now Deuteronomy, you will find that when the living God spoke concerning the land—not only did He reveal unto the congregation of the children of Israel their responsibility to the land, but also their responsibility within the land. Upon thinking and considering that which is and has been spoken concerning the land of Canaan it’s necessary to think about the fact that the congregation of the children of Israel were given the tremendous responsibility to the land by driving out and dispossessing the inhabitants of the land. What’s more, is the fact that you will find that the congregation of the children of Israel had a responsibility to the land by destroying and tearing down all the idols, images and shrines which were present in the midst of the land in order that the land itself might be cleansed and purified from those which dwelt therein before the people of God entered into. Even more than this, you will find that the living God gave the congregation of the children of Israel another responsibility to the land in the commandment of the Shemitah, for it was through the commandment of the Shemitah that the Lord would call for the land to lie at rest and remain fallow every seventh year. For six years the congregation and people of the children of Israel were to sow in their fields, work in their vineyards, and reap a harvest from the land, however, the seventh year was supposed to be a year of complete and utter rest then they would not sow, nor reap, nor gather anything during that year. This is quite astounding to think about, for the Lord promised that He would provide enough during the sixth year that it would not only sustain the congregation of the children of Israel during the sixth year, and not only during the seventh year, but would also continue through the eighth year. By the time the ninth year would come around the people of Israel would still be eating the old store of fruit that would grow and be produced within land.

When we think about the inheritance which the congregation of the children of Israel were given by the Lord their God it is absolutely necessary to think about and consider the fact that the inheritance was more than just something they would enter and begin to plant themselves within the land. It was true the living God had given the congregation of the children of Israel an inheritance within the earth, however, that inheritance would require of them a responsibility to the land, as well as a responsibility within the land. The more you read the words which were spoken by the Lord, and those words which Moses rehearsed in the hearing of the congregation of the children of Israel, the more you will come face to face with the fact that they bore a tremendous responsibility once entering into the land to immediately begin dispossessing and driving out the inhabitants of the land. It’s interesting and worth noting that the congregation of the children of Israel could not enter into the land of Canaan and after forty years of wandering in the wilderness, and after defeating Sihon king of Heshbon, after defeating Og king of Bashan, and after defeating the kings of Midian, as well as the king of Canaan, take time to rest from their wandering. Perhaps one of the most intriguing realities concerning and surrounding the inheritance is that while it would be through the land the Lord would give the people of Israel rest from their wandering in the wilderness, He did not give them rest from the work of warfare. THE WORK OF WARFARE! Would it shock and surprise you to consider the reality and concept that warfare is truly in fact work within our lives which must be carried out exactly as the Lord our God has commanded and instructed? Would it should and surprise you to think about and consider that while the congregation of the children of Israel could and would in fact experience rest from their wandering in the wilderness, they would not be free from work and warfare in the midst of the land. In all reality, it’s almost as if upon their crossing over the Jordan the River the Lord their God emphatically declared unto them, “Okay, you’ve crossed over the Jordan River and you’ve entered into the land which I swore on oath to your fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but now it’s time to get to work. You’ve spent the last forty years wandering in the wilderness, and you’ve spent the last forty years living as nomads within the vast wilderness, however, you have now entered into the land which I promised unto you, and you must now get right to work in the midst of the land.” Oh I can’t help but be absolutely gripped and captivated by the fact that although the congregation of the children of Israel had indeed and had in fact entered into the land of Canaan, the real work of preparing the land for habitation would begin.

PREPARING THE LAND FOR HABITATION! PREPARING THE LAND FOR LIVING! I find it absolutely wonderful and astounding to think about and consider the reality that before the congregation of the children of Israel could in fact truly begin to enjoy the land which was given unto them, there was a work that needed to be done—not only a work of warfare, but also a work of cleansing. Before the congregation of the children of Israel could truly enjoy and inhabit the land which was given unto them there was a work of warfare which needed to be done as they would drive out and dispossess nations and peoples which were stronger and mightier than they were. The congregation of the children of Israel would need to commit themselves to the work of driving out those inhabitants which dwelt in the midst of the land, and thus purging and cleansing the land of those peoples whom the Lord had called for their exit and exodus from the land. The Lord did not want the people of Israel to coexist within the land with the peoples and nations which had been their long before they entered, and therefore they needed to drive them out thoroughly and completely. What’s more, is that it wasn’t enough to simply drive out the inhabitants of the land alone, and that was enough for the congregation of the children of Israel to begin to inhabit and settle within the land. There was a secondary work which needed to be done which would accompany the work of dispossessing the peoples of the land—namely, destroying any and every idolatrous practice and symbol of worship that was present within the land. It would have been nice for the congregation of the children of Israel to enter into the land and immediately begin to enjoy everything the land had to offer, however, before the Lord could be suitable for them they would need to immediately get to work within it and fulfill that which the Lord had commanded and instructed them. It’s necessary that we recognize that while there were commandments, statutes, precepts and decrees the Lord gave unto the congregation of the children of Israel that they might be a peculiar people in the earth which were completely different from the nations round about them, there were also commands which needed to be carried out within the land. There was in fact the moral and civil law which the congregation of the children of Israel needed to obey and adhere to, however, there were also two specific commands that were given once the children of Israel actually entered into the land. Consider if you will the words which are not only found in the opening verses of the seventh chapter, but also the words which are found in the final verses of the thirty-third chapter of the Old Testament book of Numbers:

“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; 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: neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly. But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their grooves, and burn their grave images with fire. For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto Himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth” (Deuteronomy 7:1-6).

“And the Lord spake unto Moses in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye are passed over Jordan into the land of Canaan; then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places: and ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein: for I have given you the land to possess it. And ye shall divide the land by lot for an inheritance among your families: and to the more ye shall give the more inheritance, and to the fewer ye shall give the less inheritance: every man’s inheritance shall be in the place where his lot falleth; according to the tribes of your fathers ye shall inherit. But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell. Moreover it shall come to pass, that I shall do unto you, as I thought to do unto them” (Numbers 33:50-56).

KEEP MY COMMANDS AND STATUTES THAT YOU MIGHT ENTER INTO THE LAND! KEEP MY COMMANDS AND STATUTES THAT YOU MIGHT PROLONG YOUR DAYS WITHIN THE LAND! COMMANDS GET YOU INTO THE LAND, COMMANDS KEEP YOU IN THE LAND! THE COMMAND OF WARFARE AND CONQUEST! THE COMMAND OF CLEANSING! THE COMMAND OF OBEDIENCE! WHAT DOTH THE LORD THY GOD REQUIRE OF THEE? I am convinced that if we are to truly understand that which the Lord God was speaking unto the congregation of the children of Israel in the plains of Moab, we must turn and direct our attention to the words which are found in the tenth chapter of this Old Testament book. If you begin reading with and from the twelfth verse of this particular chapter you will find Moses speaking confidently and boldly unto the congregation of the children of Israel concerning that which the Lord their God required of them, and that which they bore the responsibility to adhere and live up to upon entering into the land of Canaan. Oh I can’t help but find it absolutely astonishing and remarkable that not only did the Lord declare unto the congregation of the children of Israel that His statutes and commands would be that which brought them into the land, but it would also be that which kept and secured them in the midst thereof. In fact, the words and language that is found in the tenth chapter is absolutely astounding and remarkable when you take the time to think about it in light of that which is found within this Old Testament book. Consider if you will the words which are found in this chapter beginning to read with and from the twelfth verse of the chapter:

“And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love Him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, to keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good? Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heaven is the LORD’s thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is. Only the Lord had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and He chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day. Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked. For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, not taketh rewqrd: he doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment. Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God; Him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name. He is thy praise, and he is thy God, that hath done for thee these great and terrible things, which thine eyes have seen. Thy fathers went down into Egypt with three score and ten person; and now the LORD thy God hath made thee as the stars of heaven for multitude” (Deuteronomy 10:12-22).

As you continue reading the words which are found within these chapters you will encounter and come face to face with the reality that for the congregation of the children to enter into the land of Canaan, it was about more than simply their entering into the land and beginning to dwell within the cities, towns and villages. There was an undeniable commitment that needed to be made by the children of Israel—not only a commitment to the land, but also a commitment to the Lord their God who had brought them into the land. The commitment to the land was expressed through the children of Israel driving out and dispossessing the nations and inhabitants which had dwelt within the land up until the time they crossed the Jordan river. It’s quite remarkable that the entrance of the people of Israel marked the end of the time of the inhabitants and nations which dwelt within the land, for in order for the children of Israel to enter into and claim their inheritance, the nations and people’s which dwelt in the land had to be driven out. What’s more, is that as we have already discussed, the congregation of the children of Israel not only needed to drive out and dispossess the inhabitants of the land, but they also needed to destroy every single item and symbol of idolatrous worship. If you read the words which are found within these Old Testament books you will find that they were to destroy every object of idolatrous worship that was found to be present within the land. In order for the congregation of the children of Israel to truly enjoy the land which would be before them they not only needed to destroy and dispossess the inhabitants which dwelt within the land, but they also needed to destroy their practices, their objects and their symbols of idolatrous worship. We dare not, we must not miss this absolutely incredible and astonishing point, for to do so would be to miss the tremendous reality that the inheritance itself was not without commands and instruction from the Lord concerning it. When the Lord spoke unto the congregation of the children of Israel He did declare that He would bring them into the land, however, upon bringing them into the land they would have a gene flus responsibility to the land to rid it of both inhabitant and idolatry alike. DESTROY THE INHABITANTS, DESTROY THE IDOLATRY! We dare not, we cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely tremendous reality, for while there were specific commands, statutes and decrees which the children of Israel were to obey and follow upon entrance into the land, there were specific commands given unto them to first ensure that the land was suitable for them to live and dwell in. This would mean the complete and utter destruction of all traces of idolatry, as well as the complete and utter removal and driving out of the inhabitants of the land.

If you take the time to read and study the words which are found within these chapters you will find that upon entering into the land there were two main and underlying concerns the Lord the God of the Hebrews had. The Lord would indeed bring the congregation of the children of Israel into the land of Canaan, however, he was concerned with their completely driving out and dispossessing the inhabitants of the land lest the children of Israel give their sons in marriage unto their daughters and take their sons unto their daughters as husbands. There was this strong and underlying concern within the heart of the living God that if they face their sons and daughters in marriage to the sons and daughters of the land—not only would the holy seed of the people of God be polluted and corrupted in the earth, but they would also turn their hearts away from serving and worshipping the living God. There was this strong and underlying command found within these chapters in the book of Deuteronomy that the congregation of the children of Israel not give their sons and daughters in marriage to the inhabitants of the land lest the holy seed of the people of God be mixed with the unholy seed of the nations round about them. This was what was so dangerous with what took place at Peor when the children of Israel began formulating and committing immorality with the daughters of the people of Midiam. What’s more, I’d that this was what was so deadly and dangerous about the marriage between Ahab king of the northern kingdom of Israel and Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king in Sidon. It’s quite interesting to think about and consider that the child which would be born unto this unholy alliance and power couple would not be one hundred percent of the people of the children of Israel but would be brought forth through the unholy womb of jezebel who would introduce and bring with her the idolatrous worship of Baal into the northern kingdom of Israel. This was on top of the two golden valves which Jeroboam interdicted when he became king of the northern kingdom of Israel. By the time we find ahab and jezebel ruling together within the land of Canaan we not only find a powerful mixture of the holy seed of the people of God with the nations and people around them, but we find the mixture of idolatrous worship in the makeup and psyche of the northern kingdom of Israel. What’s more, is that even if you read the narrative and account of Solomon son of David who ruled and resigned as king over Israel, you will find that he had given himself over to the lists and desires of his heart as he loved many foreign and strange women. If you turn and direct your attention to the eleventh chapter of the Old Testament book of First Kings you will encounter the tremendous reality of Solomon giving himself over to his love of foreign and strange women, and as a direct result of the giving of his heart to these Stengel women and wives they would turn his heart away after the gods of their people and the gods of their native lands.

In order to truly understand the absolutely danger that surrounds the command not to give sons and daughters in marriage to the inhabitants of the people which dwelt in the land, and even those nations and people which dwelt round about the land, it is necessary that we consider the tremendous narrative and account of this son of David king of Israel and how he had given himself wholly and completely to his love of foreign women and foreign wives. As a direct result of this dangerous and deadly game of affections his heart would be turned away from worshipping and serving the living God. I invite you to think about and consider the following words which are found within this chapter concerning this king of Israel who would be the final king of a unified kingdom of Israel. It would be the words we find within this chapter that directly impacts our thinking concerning the dangers of allowing ones heart to be enticed and drawn away by lusts and desires for foreign women and for women of the other nations which were round about the nation and kingdom of Israel. Consider if you will the words that are found in this particular portion of scripture beginning to read with the first verse of the eleventh chapter of this book of First Kings:

“But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; of the nations concerning which the Lord said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father. Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods. And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded. Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and I will give it to thy servant. Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father’s sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son. Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake which I have chosen” (1 Kings 11:1-13).

If you read and study the words which are found within the narrative of Solomon king of Israel you will find one who not only clave to foreign women of those nations which the LORD had commanded against, but you will also find them doing exactly what the living God had declared would indeed happen if they gave themselves in marriage unto foreign women. The narrative and account of Solomon is one that is incredibly tragic, but it is also one of great warning, for within it you will find one who gave himself unto many foreign women in love and affection, and as a direct result of this love and affection his heart would be turned away from the living God, and would be turned to other gods of the nations and peoples round about the kingdom of Israel. Solomon is a powerful testament, proof and picture of that which the living God had warned the congregation of the children of Israel—not only in the first generation of those which came out of the land of Egypt, but also unto that second generation which would actually enter into the land which was promised unto Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In fact, if you think about and consider this reality, it is absolutely necessary that you consider the fact that this command to refrain and abstain from marrying and giving in marriage to the nations and peoples which the Lord commanded against was not only spoken unto that first generation which emerged from the land of Egypt, but also that second generation which would enter into the land of Canaan in their stead. If you begin reading with and from the eleventh verse of the thirty-fourth chapter of the Old Testament book of Exodus you will find and encounter the living God speaking directly unto that first generation and warning them against giving their daughters and sons in marriage unto those among the nations and inhabitants within the land whither He was bringing them into, as well as giving them in marriage unto the nations round about the land. Consider if you will the words which are found in this particular portion of Scripture beginning to read with and from the eleventh verse of this chapter found within the Old Testament book of Exodus:

“Observe thou that which I command thee this day: behold, I drive out before thee the Amorites, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite. Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee: but ye shall destroy their alters, break their images, and cut down their groves: for thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice; and thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters go a whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a whoring after their gods. Thou shalt make thee no molten gods” (Exodus 34:11-17).

Concerning the land which the Lord God of the Hebrews was bringing them into He gave them a very specific command concerning the land—a command which essentially has two distinct and two different parts. The LORD God of the Hebrews instructed and commanded them to destroy that which was already in existence within the land in terms of idolatrous worship—all those symbols and objects of idolatrous worship unto strange and foreign gods—that the children of Israel not be caught up and swept away in idolatrous worship instead of worshipping the true and living God. What’s more, is that it wasn’t simply a matter of destroying those objects, symboled and images of foreign and strange gods within the land, but there was also the command not to give their sons in marriage, nor their daughters in marriage to the sons and daughters of the inhabitants of the nations and peoples within the land, and of those nations round about the land He was bringing them into, lest they go whoring after their gods and lead the hearts of the children of Israel astray from worshipping and serving the living God. The LORD was very specific when bringing the congregation of the children of Israel into the land which He swore on oath and promised unto Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, for He warned against two distinct actions that would cause them to abandon their worship of the true and living God, and to go whoring after the foreign and strange gods of the nations round about the land of Israel. There was the danger of giving their sons and their daughters in marriage unto the inhabitants of the land, lest they go whoring after their gods and turn the hearts of the people of Israel away from worshipping serving the living God. What’s more, is that the Lord warned them concerning the objects, images and symbols of idolatrous worship in the midst of the land, and commanded and instructed them to tear down and destroy them completely, lest they allow them to remain in the land, and their hearts be turned away and enticed to worship and follow the strange and foreign gods which the nations and peoples within and round about the land did worship and commit themselves to. Despite the fact that the living God did in fact bring the congregation of the children of Israel into the land of Canaan, they bore a tremendous responsibility once in the land—not only a responsibility to destroy all traces of idolatrous worship that was found to be present within the land, but also to abstain and refrain from giving their sons and daughters in marriage unto the inhabitants of the land. This was actually quite simple to understand, for if the congregation of the children of Israel failed on one or both of these fronts it would open a dangerous door into idolatrous worship in the midst of the land, and would invite strange and foreign gods into the land with them. That land which was supposed to be the dwelling place of the most high God would and could become a dwelling place of strange and foreign gods, as the people of the children of Israel would give themselves in worship unto these strange and foreign gods.

As you read and consider the words which are found within these chapters it is quite remarkable and astounding to consider the fact that the congregation of the children of Israel was given a tremendous warning and word of caution concerning idolatrous worship among them and in their midst, and were clearly instructed of the living God not to engage in any form of worship that would turn their hearts away from strange and foreign gods. Time and time again within these chapters you will find Moses the servant of the LORD speaking directly unto the congregation of the children of Israel and reminding them of how they stood before the LORD at the base of mount Sinai, and how it was there at the base of mount Sinai where their fathers engaged in idolatrous worship of the golden calf which they had Aaron the brother of Moses build and fashion for them. What’s more, is that scattered within and throughout these chapters is a strong and powerful message which seems to be an underlying theme and current flowing throughout the words which Moses spoke unto the congregation of the children of Israel. If and as you read the words which are found within these chapters you will quickly and unmistakably encounter and come face to face with the reality that the congregation of the children of Israel were not only reminded concerning the sin of the golden calf which was set up in the wilderness, but they were also warned concerning giving themselves unto strange and foreign gods. In fact, Moses even expressed the tremendous danger that could arise in the congregation of the children of Israel not seeing the person and form of the living God when He descended upon the mountain in the midst of the wilderness, for because they did not see His person, nor did they see His form, it would have been very easy for them to form and fashion an image of God which thy themselves could associate with. Moses was very specific and very adamant in the words which he spoke unto the congregation of the children of Israel concerning the danger of allowing their hearts to be turned away from the living God and unto foreign and strange gods. Not only this, but there was also the tremendous danger of forming and fashioning a grave image made of wood, or stone, or bronze, or silver, or even gold, and once that image has been formed and fashioned, they would begin worshipping it, and so turn their hearts away from the living God. Consider if you will two distinct passages which are found within the fourth chapter of this Old Testament book of Deuteronomy beginning to read with and from the fourteenth verse of the chapter:

“And the LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes, and judgments, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it. Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similtude on the day that the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire: lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a grave image, the similtude of any figure, the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air, the likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth: and lest thou of it up thine eyes unto heaven,a Nd when thou sets the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven” (Deuteronomy 4:14-19).

“Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make you a grave image, or the likeness of any thing, which the LORD thy God hath forbidden thee. For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God. When thou shalt beget children, and children’s children, and ye shall have remained a long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, and shall do evil in the sight of the LORD thy God, to provoke Him to anger” (Deuteronomy 4:23-25).

Lest you think that this command to refrain from going after strange and foreign gods is somehow exclusive to the congregation of the children of Israel, and had absolutely no application to us which are alive and present within this generation, I would invite you to think about and consider the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the first chapter of the epistle which was written and sent unto the Christians and saints which were at Rome. If you begin reading with and from the eighteenth verse of the first chapter of this New Testament epistle you will encounter and come face to face with the strong word of warning and caution which was given by the apostle Paul unto those Christians in Rome—Christians and saints who would have undeniably been exposed to the pantheon of gods which were worshipped and served in the midst of Rome. If you know anything about the history of the Roman Empire you will quickly recognize that there were parts of it that were influenced by Greek culture and the Grecian Empire which was the dominant world power in the earth before them. If you look closely at the history of the Roman Empire you will find strong and powerful traces of Greek mythology and Greek worship of foreign and strange gods in the midst of the makeup and psyche of the Roman Empire itself. But the time the apostle Paul would write the epistle unto the saints which were present in the midst of the city of Rome there would have undoubtedly been a great host and pantheon of gods which were worshipped by all those citizens within the Roman Empire. The words which we find in the first and opening chapter of the epistle written unto the Roman saints takes on a whole new meaning when you consider just how corrupt, just how defiled, and just how defiled Roman culture and society was, and how they gave themselves to all manner of idolatrous worship and fornication. Consider if you will the words which are found within the first and opening chapter of the epistle written unto the Roman saints beginning to read with and from the eighteenth verse:

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: because, that when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature; and likewise alto the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. And even as thy did not like to remain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despitefully, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them” (Romans 1:18-32).

It is quite clear from the words which we find in the first and opening chapter of the epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto the saints which were at Rome that this danger of idolatrous worship and going after strange and foreign gods was not exclusive and specific to the days of Moses, Joshua and the like. Throughout history we find the tremendous danger of idolatrous worship and allowing our hearts to be enticed and drawn away by and with strange and foreign gods. When speaking unto this new generation which would emerge within the land of Canaan, Moses spoke unto them very clearly that they were to destroy any and every trace of idolatrous worship that was found to be present within the land, and that they weren’t to allow any trace of it to remain within the land, lest their hearts be drawn away and enticed by the worship of strange and foreign gods. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize the tremendous responsibility the congregation of the children of Israel had within and toward the land, for not only did that responsibility and assignment require them to drive out and completely dispossess the inhabitants of the land, but it also required them to completely destroy any and every trace of idolatrous worship, and the removal of every strange and foreign god that was present within the land prior to their arrival. It’s absolutely astounding to think about and consider the fact that once the congregation of the children of Israel entered into the land, things needed to be entirely and completely different, for not only would the inhabitants of the land need to be driven out of the land completely, but there was also the great and tremendous need for them to destroy every trace of idolatrous worship that was found within the land. The congregation of the children of Israel were to enter into the land and were to immediately get to work within the land, for before they could truly inhabit, dwell within, and enjoy the land and everything the land had to offer, they would need to commit themselves to a truly wonderful and spectacular work that would be found within the land. Even though the congregation of the children of Israel would cross over the Jordan River, and even though they would enter into the land, the land itself would not be ready for them the way it was designed and created by the living God, for there was much work that needed to be done. Perhaps the greatest prophetic word that must be thought about and considered as we read the words which are found within these chapters in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy is that although the congregation of the children of Israel would in fact enter into the land, and even though it was to be their inheritance, there was still a work which needed to be done to prepare and make ready the inheritance for them to inhabit and dwell in. This must be carefully considered and understood by us who are alive within this generation and within these last days, for we spend a lot of time about entering into that which the Lord our God has prepared for us, and yet more often than not we forget and even neglect the fact that even though the Lord might bring us into that which He has called us, there is a work that needs to be done in making ready that inheritance and destiny the Lord our God has given unto us. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and consider this powerful truth, for although we might very well enter and step into that which the Lord our God has spoken unto us, there is a work that needs to be done before it can truly be enjoyed the way it was intended by the Lord our God. The question that must be asked is whether or not we are willing to engage in the work of preparing the inheritance and preparing that which the Lord our God has promised and given unto us in order that we might truly enjoy it the way it was intended to be enjoyed.

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