Then Judah joined with Simeon to fight against the Canaanites living in Zephath, and they completely destroyed the town. So the town was named Hormah. . . .
Israel’s mission seems unjust. Why would God command them to uproot and displace entire people groups?
God did not decide this on a whim, nor was he favoring his chosen people, Israel. He had waited 700 years for “the sins of the Amorites” to “warrant their destruction” (Genesis 15:16). That means Israel had suffered in slavery and the wilderness so that God could be gracious to the people groups living in the Promised Land. Now, they were to be judged for their sin.
The Israelites, however, failed to obey God’s command and failed to drive the evil Canaanites out of the land. God would eventually judge the Israelites, too, for becoming as evil as the people they were ordered to drive out (2 Kings 17; 25; Jeremiah 6:18-19; Ezekiel 8). Israel’s obedience was meant to fulfill God’s plan, but Israel’s disobedience left God’s work unfinished.
Often we do the same thing. We choose to tolerate sin rather than drive it out of our lives. We may know what God wants but just not follow through. When we fail to obey God, we fail to be part of the work God has for us.
Is there sin in your life that you’re making room for? God did not ask the Israelites to go alone into battle against the Canaanites; he promised to go with them, and even ahead of them (Josh 3:10). Ask God to drive the sin out of your life, but be ready to go with him. Are you ready to give up the sin that’s still living in your heart? If not, talk with God about what’s holding you back.