The Israelites are almost to the Promised Land!
Numbers 33 was what we call in the Institute for Excellence in Writing the “clencher.” It summarizes all that has gone on before. The next chapter sets out the general boundaries of the Promised Land, from north to south, and from east to west.
God instructs them to completely drive out the people who are living in that land…if they fail to do that, then the natives will be like splinters in their eyes and thorns in their sides.
I have always been bothered by that whole “driving out” and “completely destroy” edict. It seems so harsh! Yet God is God! It is HIS earth, and He certainly has all authority and all honor.
A little piece of me, though, grieves for those long ago souls who were completely destroyed simply by virtue of their zip code. I’m sure it was more than that…the people were wicked…but were they ALL wicked? Did they worship multiple gods because that’s the only way they knew? Did they have a chance first to convert and believe in and serve and worship God himself?
Tough questions…and ones that are unlikely to find any answers, this side of heaven.
On this topic I will defer to my Lord and be very thankful that under Christ, I am not one of those foreigners driven away from the land and cast aside. I am grafted into His family…I am welcomed and embraced. I am loved. Zip codes no longer matter!