Judges 2:2,3—You are not to make a covenant with the people who are living in this land, and you are to tear down their altars. But you have not obeyed Me. What is this you have done? Therefore, I now say: I will not drive out these people before you. They will be thorns in your sides, and their gods will be a trap for you.
God communicated His Commander’s Intent for the Israelites in Numbers 33:51,52 and again in Deuteronomy 7:2-5. They were to destroy the Canaanite inhabitants so as to eradicate their idolatry and evil that flourished in the land. God knew that if they did not
do this they would be compromised and their hearts would turn away from Him. Yet, in the process of gaining their land inheritance, each tribe in Israel disobeyed God by letting their enemies coexist with them. Collectively they lost His favor. Therefore, He did not remove the idolatrous enemy in the land and they became “thorns in your sides . . .”
During my time in prayer I was immediately challenged with the thought, what am I allowing to live in my heart that God has forbidden? Thorns do not suddenly appear. They grow from plants rooted and fed with nutrients and water from a hospitable soil. Unless the entire plant with its thorns is removed, it will persist as a problem.
It is vital that we periodically inspect to see if we are permitting what may be offensive to God. Thorns may be a critical spirit, lust, anger, time wasted on frivolous activity, lack of discipline, obsession for food, devotion to sports or anything that impairs fellowship with God, etc. Whatever resides in our heart at the expense of our relationship with God is a thorn. Anything that we know we are not supposed to do by conscience or by God’s command we must eliminate.
Jesus warned us in Matthew 13:22, “Now the one sown among the thorns—this is one who hears the word, but the worries of this age and the seduction of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” Let us make no covenants with anything or anyone that stands between us and our love for God. We have the right, the privilege, the power and the promises to uproot what is harmful to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is our spiritual worship (Romans 12:1).
The thorns which I have reap'd are of the tree I planted they have torn me and I bleed! I should have known what fruit would spring from such a seed.—Lord Byron
©2018 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)