Joshua 16 - Steve Wiggins Daily Devotional

“This was the inheritance of the tribe of the descendants of Ephraim by their clans, together with the cities set apart for the descendants of Ephraim within the inheritance of the descendants of Manasseh – all these cities with their villages. But, they did not drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer. So the Canaanites live in Ephraim to this day, but they are forced laborers.” Joshua 16:10

Today’s passage is a continuation of the notion that Israel’s deliverance into Canaan is also a metaphor for our deliverance through Yeshua. Once the major enemies had been destroyed, the individual Israelite tribes were given the task of driving-out the rest of the land’s inhabitants.

This is a metaphor for us, because while Yeshua has conquered sin and death, we are charged with the task of subduing our fleshly desires, our former masters.

The apostle Paul said, “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is G_d who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good purpose.” Philippians 2: 12b-13

Paul wasn’t telling his friends to work in order to earn their salvation. We are saved by grace, not of good works. (Ephesians 2:8-9) What Paul was saying is, that Messiah followers must work hard to drive out the “old self”, in order to enjoy the fullness of our salvation, which was given to us from G_d, by His grace. If we will fight, G_d will go before us…even giving us the will to fight, if we choose to follow His leading.

In the same way, Israel was delivered into Canaan by G_d’s grace, but they would never enjoy the land until they removed the remaining insurgents. Think of the recent Middle East war. The Coalition forces eliminated Iraq & Afghanistan’s ability to wage full-scale war years ago…but there will never be peace until all the terrorist insurgents are completely neutralized.

The tribe of Ephraim puts a new twist on “failure to dispossess”. Unlike some of the Judean family tribes who could not drive out the Jebusites, so they allowed them to remain neighbors; Ephraim chose to make the remnant of Gezer their slaves.

Please, don’t rest until you have driven-out ALL the “former inhabitants” of your land. You cannot be “neighbors” with your old sin nature, nor can you make it your “slave”. It will not be mastered, because its nature is to master you! So, determine to kill the old self, and to deny its advances whenever it surfaces to negotiate you away from G_d’s great design for your life.

~Steve Wiggins
Daily Devotional, Friday, Aug. 1, 2014