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March 11 Today’s Reading: — Joshua 15-17
“Could not Drive Them Out”
How the heaven born soul agonizes with the torments of indwelling sin! When I was but a babe in grace, I foolishly imagined that I would quickly get the victory over sin. I never thought that it would be eradicated from me until the Lord takes me to glory; but I did think I would soon be able to control my vile lusts. Now, after forty-six years in this pilgrimage, I must confess what we are told four times in Joshua 15-17. As the children of Judah could not drive their enemies out of the land, so regarding my sins — I “could not drive them out.”
The Jebusites dwelling in Israel’s dominions, even in the royal and holy city of Jerusalem, where Jehovah pitched his tent and established the temple of Zion, teaches us that everything here below is far from perfect. Jebusites dwell even to this day in Jerusalem. Much corruption remains in that heart where grace dwells: And while our bodies are the temple of the Holy Ghost, the best of God’s saints find cause to cry out with the apostle, “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” What a joyful relief is it to the soul groaning under a sense of sin that soon the God of peace shall bruise Satan under our feet and the Canaanite shall be no more in the house of the Lord of Hosts (Zechariah 14:20-21; Romans 16:20).
Again we read, “And they drave not out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer: but the Canaanites dwell among the Ephraimites unto this day, and serve under tribute.” So it shall be so long as we live in this body of flesh. When Rebekah found two nations struggling in her womb, she asked (Genesis 25:22) the question every believer often asks. — “Why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the Lord” This is exactly what Paul experienced (Romans 7:18-21).
We are reminded again that “the children of Manasseh could not drive out the inhabitants of those cities; but the Canaanites would dwell in that land.” So it shall be until we drop this robe of flesh. But to every soul struggling with his indwelling sin, the Lord Jesus, our mighty Joshua, says, “My grace is sufficient for thee!”
Joseph’s narrow boundaries serve to teach us that even in Canaan here below there is much to displease the heaven born soul. There is no place of satisfaction here. In the Canaan above there are many mansions, immeasurably spacious, perfectly suited to the highest and most holy desires of his people. Wisely and graciously, our heavenly Father often sends his people painful and disappointing providences into our lives to make us thirst the more for heaven. He takes away those soft pillows we make for ourselves in earthly things to make us long to return to him and his rest, where we find rest to our souls (Psalm 116:7), assuring us that we shall at last “drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots, and though they be strong!”