“NOW THESE are the nations which the Lord left to prove Israel by them, that is, all in Israel who had not previously experienced was in Canaan .” “They were for testing and proving of Israel to know whether Israel would listen and obey the commandments of the Lord, which He commanded their fathers by Moses .” (Judges 3).
THE MEANING OF “THE LAND OF PURPLE”:
The “land of purple” can be translated, “the Land of the Phoenicians and Canaanites.” The basic meaning is “purple dye” that the Phoenicians made from a sea-snail, the Murex.
CANAAN is an ancient term of a region, approximately present-day Israel, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip plus adjoining coastal islands. Parts of Lebanon, Syria and Jordan are also included. The Biblical Canaanites and their borders are given in Genesis 10:15-19.
“You Are What You Eat–
The phrase, “You are what you eat,” are words that are a bit unsettling to me. But we are told by medical science and in the media, that we in America, eat too much fast food and junk food. The research tells us how the food we eat affects our bodies and after spending billions of dollars they came to the same conclusion: If you eat junk food all the time, you will get a “junk body.” If you eat a lot of fatty foods and salt, you run the risk of high blood pressure, even a stroke. and concluding with, if you eat a lot of veggies, exercise right, you have a better chance of living a longer life. Aren’t you glad that Government’s financed research is explaining to us in America what we probably already knew. THE FACTS that America faces is a “Push Away Crisis.” The problems we face and ALL the foods we aren’t suppose to eat are all around us. They seem to TASTE BETTER and LOOK BETTER! We might even say, we’ve a RELATIONSHIP with the food in our lives.
Our FOUR BASIC FOOD GROUPS have become:
So getting a little overweight is something that just sort of “snacks up on you.” The PROBLEM is, we allow the things that TEMPT US to be around us. It is just too easy to eat and gain weight.
THE WARNING GIVEN IN THE BOOK OF Shopetin or JUDGES:
In Chapter 3 of Judges, we are given the story of How God Proves His People when they get to the place in their relationship with God, where God is LIMITED BY DISOBEDIENCE and UNBELIEF.
God no longer performs miracles like He once did with Israel under Moses and Joshua. The mighty miracles that included: 10 Plagues and deliverance from Egypt; the Parting of the Red Sea; water from the rock in the desert; bread (manna) falling out of heaven; parting of the Jordan River; and the walls of Jericho falling down.
They had been brought out of the land of SLAVERY, not by their might but by the power of Almighty God. They had no military force and no weapons of war. They were helpless, weak and destitute because of the SIN OF REBELLION that brought them down to Egypt as slaves to begin with. ISRAEL had to depend upon God.
BUT NOW, all the old Israelites were long dead. New generations arose in “The Land Of Purple” and they were forgetting the POWER of God to perform miracles. They had also forgotten the commandment of God; to rid the Land of Canaan of every idolatrous nation.
Allowing A Few People To Remain Behind–
Through kindness and generosity, the Israelites thought they knew better than God, in choosing not to OBEY Him. This bad decision not only haunted Israel all through the Old Testament, but still haunts them today. When God said to destroy ALL the enemy, that’s what He meant. What part of “ALL” could they not have understood?
Now when we forget God, we lose our intimate relationship with Him. Then God says, “If that’s what you want, fine; but you are on your own.” Even though He allows us to continue, doing our own thing in making mistakes; He NEVER really gives up on us.
God LOVES us so much, He ever tries to draw us back to the cross; to our LOVE for Him. That is what’s happening to Israel as we begin to read in The Book of Judges 3:1-4:
“NOW THESE are the nations which the Lord left to prove Israel by them, that is, all in Israel who had not previously experienced war in Canaan. It was only that the generations of the Israelites might know and be taught war, at least those who previously knew nothing of it. The remaining nations are: the five lords of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites who dwelt on Mount Lebanon from Mount Baal-Hermon to the entrance of Hamath. They were for testing and proving of Israel to know whether Israel would listen and obey the commandments of the Lord, which He commanded their fathers by Moses.”
Did you CATCH what the WORD says here? God had allowed a new generation to arise in Israel in spite of their rebellion. His PROMISE was to make them a great nation that was given to Abraham. They had NOT been disproved by their evil deeds.
The NEW GENERATION didn’t learn from the past and if you don’t learn from the past, you are destined to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. Maybe I should have added a few more “over’s” for emphasis sake.
Learning To Fight Your OWN Battles:
If God’s people refused to let God fight for them, God would have to make them stronger so they wouldn’t be destroyed. He left those enemies so Israel could LEARN the art of war, make their own weapons and LEARN to lean upon the arm of the flesh instead of on the arm of FAITH in God.. I remember the lyrics to an old Blackwood Brother’s hit, Learning to Lean–
Learning to lean, I’m learning to lean. Learning to lean on Jesus.
Finding more power than I’ve ever dreamed, I’m learning to lean on Jesus.
Israel needed correction; discipline and the knowledge of how to defend their new land. God chose to USE THE ENEMIES that surrounded them in “The Land Of Purple.” To learn the hard lessons.
JUDGES 3:5-6: “The Land Of Purple”:
“And the Israelites dwelt among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites; And they married their own daughters and gave their own daughters to their sons, and served their gods.”
In The Land Of Purple, the people became very promiscuous, intermarrying with idolaters (non-believers). They found themselves TRAPPED in deceit and immorality.
I believe we have a lot of “CANAANITES” in our own communities with fewer and fewer REAL marriages. The shortcoming of commitment in relationship has led to the high-divorce rates in this country. It also appears that IMMORALITY is the rule of the day. So much so that many people who say they’re Christians don’t even realize how far off from God they are and their own living in immorality. And the sad fact of the matter, most of the church world condones it or doesn’t say anything about it. We have tolerated the Canaanites until it is nearly impossible to weed them out now and the churches don’t see the miracles or see the delivery hand of God like they use too because of sin in the camp.
God didn’t stop watching over His chosen nation; He DID ALLOW them to fight their own battles. We, as a believing community, a land, a nation will have to make a choice. Either pay the cost of staying close to God and let Him be God of our lives. Or… pay the cost of blood, sweat and tears in doing things our own way. Are you letting God fight for you or are you trying to do it yourself?
THE HITTITE ATTITUDE:
Who were the Hittites? Well, they were warlike people and their history is filled with wars, rebellions and fighting. When Israel came into contact with their neighbors, they were sure to have a real fight on their hands. NO PEACE could be established with constant squabbles surely to arise. Basically, they made life in Israel MISERABLE!
Do we have some Hittites around us? You can get into your car, drive down the highway minding your own business and run into a Hittite. Road Rage is getting worse all the time because of the Hittite attitude.
Last week, a neighbor of ours who lives next to the local golf course, had her window broken by a stray golf ball. She has the home for sale, doesn’t have a job and is selling off her furniture one piece at a time to pay for the Homeowner’s Association monthly fees. The widow living next door to the scene of the accident, heard the crash of the window and ran outside to try to help and find the guilty golfers.
Two men came into the front yards, looking at the damage and began to yell and scream at the ladies. “You shouldn’t live next to a golf course if you don’t want to have broken windows.” Then with tears rolling down her face she replied, “I’m trying to sell the house!” Then one of the men said, “You will never sell it because no one is that STUPID to live next to a golf course.” Our neighbor was in a battle with two Hittite golfers.
LORD HELP US, that the Hittite spirit has even come into the church. Just let the Pastor walk by without stopping, someone is sure to get their feelings hurt. “Why, he didn’t even shake my hand after church this morning.” It sounds funny but it’s true.
There is no one in the world more MISERABLE to be around than a Christian with an old Hittite spirit. I know that to be true all to well from my own past. Just ask my wife.
Are there Hittites in your neighborhood; in your house; or in your church? God will let them stay there sometimes just to try your patience; to see if you will still live for Him and do the right thing! Is that Old Hittite getting on your nerves; always butting into your business; seeming to just make life miserable for you? That Old Hittite may be there because God allows it. Maybe it’s because your relationship with God right now isn’t where it should be. Just maybe, it is to get your own heart right with God. Then the one who SEEMS to be your enemy ends up being your best friend. GIVE UP and let God do it! You are losing the battle anyway!
NEXT COMES THE AMORITES IN PART TWO OF: WARNING: Nearing “The Land Of Purple”.