Mar 30 (Daily reading: Judges 1-2) In Judges, we find many examples of the conquest of Canaan as an analogy of spiritual warfare in the abundant life we have in Christ. A partnership was formed between Judah and Simeon in this conquest: “Then Judah said to his brother Simeon, ‘Go up with me…and let’s fight the Canaanites; and I in turn will go with you…’ So Simeon went with him…and they defeated the Canaanites” (1:3-4). They were successful when they fought together: “Then Judah went with his brother Simeon, and they struck the Canaanites living in Zephath, and utterly destroyed it” (1:17). We recognize in God’s work and in spiritual warfare that we need one another. Paul wrote about his partnership with Apollos: “So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth…For we are God’s fellow workers” (1 Cor. 3:7, 9).
There is a lesson to learn from Israel’s disobedience concerning the Canaanites: “They did not drive them out completely” (1:28). Because of this, God said: “They will become like thorns in your sides, and their gods will be a snare to you” (2:3). The Canaanites represent the flesh, our sinful nature that wages war against us, even when we walk by the Spirit. “For the desire of the flesh is against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, in order to keep you from doing whatever you want” (Gal. 5:17). But Paul declared: “Now those who belong to Christ Jesus crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal. 5:24). The flesh has been crucified—there is never a right time to negotiate with the flesh, to try to get it to serve us as the Canaanites served the Hebrews. It will always be a thorn in our side! The flesh, or sinful nature, cannot be reformed—it must be crucified!
– Al Gary