Read Numbers 33
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Scripture- Numbers 33:55- But if you fail to drive out the people who live in the land, those who remain will be like splinters in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will harass you in the land where you live.
Observations- The Israelites had been on a long, arduous journey through the wilderness. They encountered many obstacles- mostly self-imposed; that is, natural consequences from God for their ongoing disobedience. As they got closer and closer to the Promised Land, God gave them clear instructions to drive the evil, idol worshiping Canaanites out of the land. Even though this task was distasteful to the Israelites and seemingly cruel, God declared there would be far greater problems in the future if they compromised and made peace with the kind of evil the Canaanites enjoyed.
Application- Knowing when to give in or when to work toward compromise versus standing our ground is truly an art that requires God's help and our discernment. When we know we are wrong about something, it's good to quickly admit it, ask for forgiveness, and try again. When we are not up against the wall defending a core value, working toward a win-win solution characterized by compromise is a worthy goal. If, however, we compromise with the sin in our own lives, it will make a home in us and grow far larger and stay much longer than we ever imagined. Have we compromised with sin in ways that have left “splinters in our eyes” or “thorns in our side” that will continue to harass us? We must, as always, turn to Christ for the help we need as we need it.
Prayer- (A Franciscan Prayer) May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart. May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace. May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain in to joy. And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done. Amen.
"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23),
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