Joshua 16: Could Of, Should Of

Read: Joshua 16

Joshua 16 is a certainly a short text, covering the inheritance of Joseph’s descendants. Verse 10 makes a particular note about this inheritance: they did not oust the people of Gezer, rather they made them vassals to themselves such that the people of Gezer paid tribute Israel.  Verse 10 looks like Joshua 15:63 in some respect because it mentions a people living among Israel although Israel was supposed to drive them out. Joshua 15:63 however notes they “could not” drive out the Jebusites. Joshua 16:10 says that Israel “did not” drive out the people of Gezer. Some commentators have suggested that these should be treated the same, but this is problematic because Isreal was powerful enough to subjugate Gezer. It stands to reason that if Israel could subjugate Gezer, they could have also ousted Gezer as well.

Numbers 33:55 is pretty clear about the implications about what would happen if Israel did not drive out the inhabitants of Canaan. They would be a “prick in the eye” and “thorn in the side” and would also “vex” the land. Joshua gives warning against this in his parting word (Joshua 23:12-13). The very existence of Canaanites among the Israelites would be troublesome, a temptation leading them away from God to following other false gods, and sure enough, this happened (Judges 2:3).

The presence of temptation to turn away in the midst of believers does not always seem harmful, but like. Jesus taught about having sin around in one’s life. He says get rid of that which causes one to stumble (Matthew 18:8-9). James describes the nature of sin when one is tempted: temptation leads to sin, and sin brings forth death. That which Christians do have control over, they should remove. But Christians don’t have control over everything. For this reason one has to also be firmly rooted in what helps guide one away from sin: the word of God (Psalm 119:9, Psalm 119:105, 2 Timothy 3:15-17). By taking reproof from the word of God one can combat the temptations that come one’s way!

Lord, help rid myself of temptations that I can remove, and combat the ones that I cannot.

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