SOAP Journal – 20 December 2016 (Exodus 23:33)

“[The Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites and the Jebusites] shall not live in your land, because they will make you sin against Me; for if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you.”

Exodus 23:33

The groups God names are those who were already living in the Promised Land. God said in an earlier part of the chapter that He would drive these people groups out and plant the Israelites in that land. The Amorites are the self-same group about whom God said that their iniquity was not yet complete (Genesis 15:16). These were not holy or good people. These were folks that God looked down the corridors of future history and saw no repentance, no turning from their wrongs.

There are people who are just unrepentant. These are individuals who should be avoided; people with whom the believer should have nothing to do. It is not that believers are better than them — the Israelites were no better, in many ways, than the people groups they displaced — but that unrepentant people will drag down those who are penitent. God does not say that these people cannot live in the land next door, but that they shall not live in your land. The idea expressed here is restated in the New Testament in the form of do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. We cannot help but live next door to people who do not believe as we do and there is no problem with that. The problem comes when they live in [our] land, i.e. are our most intimate friends or our spouses.

Let me not live with unbelievers in such a way that I serve their gods, but instead live a life in obedience to my God.

Father, please cause me to walk with You and keep me mindful that unequal relationships drag down.

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