In considering the characteristics of the nations which Yahweh left to prove Israel, a very sober lesson emerges. It is easy to recognise an enemy of the truth who manifests belligerent opposition to the ways of God. Against such a one we do not find it difficult to recognise and oppose him as an enemy. However, the apostle Paul warns us that in the last days "per ilous times shall come"(2 Tim. 3:1), and he goes on to des cribe the characteristics of the people who would subvert us from the way of truth. In those characteristics we perceive the same things that manifested themselves in these four nat ions who proved Israel.
"The whole world lieth in wickedness", (1 John 5:19), and noth ing would give the world more pleasure than to subvert men and women from the truth as it is in Christ Jesus (Rom.1:32). In order to do this, the world presents all the allurements that Pander to the flesh to entice us to partake of its lusts (1 John 2:15-16).
In the world there are the Canaanites; people who would abase themselves, flatterers whose sole motive is to gain from our deflection.
There are the Philistines, the wallowers in the dust, immersed in earthly, sensual pleasures of the world, like immigrants, always on the move, restless, dissatisfied with their lot, un-circumcised in heart and in ears, and despisers of those who embrace the covenants of Promise; people who are always prepar ed to oppose and to blaspheme those who uphold the dignity of God's Word.
Then there are the Sidonians, people who dwell carelessly, not caring about the state of the world in which they live, unconcerned with anything other than that which involves them, and the excitation of their propensities; these lie in wait to trap us and to ensnare us as the huntsman would the animal, and there are those foolish enough to be "ensnared of the devil", who are taken captive by him at his will (2 Tim. 2:26). These anti-typical Sidonians are true children of Jezebel, whose worship is a worship of sensuality, through which the unwary can be enslaved and brought into a bondage worse than death itself.
In the world also, the anti-typical Hivite finds his place; the quiet, genuine sincere man who wants to live in peace as "one people" with the people of God, but is not prepared to accept the principles of truth in so doing. This man gives all the appearances of humility as did the Gibeonites to Joshua, but it is all outward show, and his purpose is to deceive.
If a great man like Joshua was deceived by this class, how wary should we be in this day and generation, in keeping a well balanced outlook towards the truth, and towards the world. For us, "Thus saith the Lord" should be all sufficient to keep us in the way of truth. We should not be prepared to share our inheritance with anyone else other than those who confess the covenants of promise.
We have not been commanded to exterminate the people of the world, but to live among them and to speak to them of the things of the Kingdom and the Name of Jesus Christ. However, this does not permit us to mingle with the world and to com promise the truth in so doing. That was the cause of Israel's failure. Let us recall the words used by the Lord Jesus in his prayer to the Father on our behalf, "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil, they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world, sanctify (separate) them through thy truth, Thy word is truth", (John 17:15-17).