Canaanization: The love of the world
“For whatever was thus written in former days was written for our instruction, that by [our steadfast and patient] endurance and the encouragement [drawn] from the Scriptures we might hold fast to and cherish hope.” (Romans 15:4)
“Now these things befell them by way of a figure [as an example and warning to us]; they were written to admonish and fit us for right action by good instruction, we in whose days the ages have reached their climax (their consummation and concluding period)” (Corinthians 10:11)
The book of Judges spans about 400 years from Joshua to Samuel covering united Israel’s military and spiritual struggles, before Samuel, David and Saul, as they wrestle among themselves and battle with the remaining countries that they failed to drive out of the Promised Land resulting in constantly been hounded by enemies who desired to exterminate. The consequence of their failure to take control meant what some scholars call, “the Canaanization of Israel” i.e. Israel became more and more like the world around them instead of staying separate from the world and as such fell away into sin and idolatry. God's purpose for Israel from the start was to set them apart from other peoples by giving His laws and His statutes. God revealed His law only to Israel. When He did so, He made it clear that Israel would "be a special treasure to Me above all people, . . . a holy [sanctified, set apart] nation" (Exodus 19:5-6), if the people "obey My voice and keep My covenant" (verse 5). The theme is repeated in Deuteronomy 7:6: "For you are a holy people to the LORD your God, . . . [who] has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth." Yet as the people “did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25), the LORD remained faithful to the covenant He made with Israel.
The lesson here for us as Christians is we are called to be separate, we do not replace Israel, but we, like Israel, under the new covenant through Jesus Christ, are called “chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy”. 1 Peter 2. We are not to love the world or to conform to its lifestyle. Unfortunately, this where Israel failed and why we are seeing today, among Christians and Churches, the abandonment of the truth - a rejection of God’s Word, which will lead to God’s judgement at Jesus Christ’s return.
One of things I come across frequently amount believers is the lack of understanding of biblical and historical significance of Old Testament Books. Most are familiar with events in Genesis and Exodus, the reign of David and Solomon in the books of Samuel and Judges, but loose interest after this. It doesn’t help either that some church leaders trivialise these books as relating to only Israel, the Law before the Grace (New Testament) but they forget Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:17-1. Those who teach or preach from these books often spiritualise without the historical context or background, without identifying the prophetical words fulfilled in history and future fulfilment of events concerning the gentile believers, the world and Israel.
The Lord Jesus and the Apostles taught from the scriptures i.e. the Old Testament. You discover the person of Jesus from Genesis to Malachi “Then beginning with Moses and [throughout] all the Prophets, He went on explaining and interpreting to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning and referring to Himself” Luke 24: 27. Again we see through Paul’s commendation to Timothy “… from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:15-17). This is before even the New Testament was written. If you want to read Revelation you have to read the old books especially Daniel and the practical applications the Jews were commanded to follow in Leviticus mirrors the person and work of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ and this is confirmed and clarified for us by Paul’s letter, Hebrews. As Gleason Archer put it: “How can Christian pastors hope to feed their flock on a well-balanced spiritual diet if they completely neglect the 39 books of Holy Scripture on which Christ and all the New Testament authors received their own spiritual nourishment?”.
It is also important in this age of misinformation and deception that we understand what the bible states. We are surrounded by so many extraordinary interpretations of the end time events that we swallow whatever the latest teaching/prophet/preacher that is marketed through books or DVD gets our attention. Void of discernment. The sad part is these individual only appear when they have merchandise to sell and suddenly, they are everywhere just like the secular entertainers. You have to be able to confront contradictions, falsehood and fantasy and you can only do that by God’s Word.