They had waited a long time, over 40 years. It was hot, sandy and wearisome. They had watched their loved ones die along the journey and they were finally at their destination. I can only imagine the relief they felt when were told that they had finally arrived. But there was still one more catch...just one. In exchange for being taken out of slavery, suffering for generations, and given a the most beautiful place imaginable (Gen. 26: 2-5; 28: 13-15; Ex 3), there was just one catch: drive out and/or destroy all of the inhabitants (Num 33: 50-56; Deut 7: 1-3). I can imagine their reaction: What??? Seriously??? Do you really mean ALL??? Really??? Shouldn’t we be polite and let some of them stay??? God, you CAN’T mean ALL!
Now, this isn’t about the Israelites disobeying God, but this is about us; they made their choice, didn’t they? I think sometimes that it is easy to “destroy” some things. You know what I mean, right? Those sins that didn’t give up much of a fight (or really weren’t really a temptation). But, what about the things that we have let hang out...those tough ones.... like the Israelites did (Judges 1-3)...you know what I mean, those sins we don't want to give up because we will look “weird” to our friends if we didn’t do them? Make our family uncomfortable if we practice them? Cause us to miss our favorite fun activity? Look less "fashionable"? All of those things? So, perhaps maybe we are like the Israelites and hope that it isn’t such a big thing, really....I mean, maybe God would overlook it, right? …I mean, did He really mean ALL??? Ask the Israelites: “…you drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the Lord has said to you” (Deut 9: 3). Yep, it is pretty clear, it ALL had to go.
I have always considered God’s command to “utterly destroy” or “drive out” nations of people as a bit harsh. That was a lot of bloodshed. So why all? The Israelites learned why pretty quickly when they did not destroy ALL...they became slaves again. But it is easy to blame the Israelites. They were rebellious. So, what about us? Does He expect us to destroy ALL??? Isn’t it asking too much to give up ALL? Not so much, nope, not really, especially when we consider He gave ALL first…ALL of it (Phil 2: 5-8; John 3:16). Do we really think giving up ALL it was easier for Him? Try reading Luke 22. So, why would we not be willing to destroy ALL for Him?