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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Making Treaties With The Enemy

God warns Israel not to make treaties with those who live in the land, “Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going” (Exodus 34:12).

He gives three reasons for this prohibition:
  1. The people will see how awesome is the God of Israel, “The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the LORD, will do for you” (34:10). Treaties with pagans compromise their ability to see God’s activity on behalf of His people. 
  2. The people will cause Israel to stumble, “They will be a snare among you” (34:12). Treaties with pagans jeopardize the spiritual well-being of those who follow Him.
  3. The people will influence your sons to worship idols, “They will invite you and you will eat of their sacrifices. And when you choose some of their daughters as wives for your sons and those daughters prostitute themselves to their gods, they will lead your sons to do the same” (34:15-16). Treaties elevate pagan religions and make them acceptable options. 
Joshua was a young lad when Moses gives this prohibition. Nearly forty years later as Israel prepares to enter into Canaan Moses reminds them of this prohibition, 
“When the LORD your God brings you into the land which you go to possess and has cast out the many nations before you...and when the LORD your God delivers them over to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them. Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son. For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve others gods...For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the nations on the face of the earth” (Deuteronomy 7:1-6).
Later, during the Conquest Era, Joshua and the people fall for the deceptive tactics of the Gibeonites and make a treaty with them. This treaty forces Israel to use their resources and time to protect the Gibeonites when they are attacked by opposing forces. After Joshua’s death, during the Judges Era,Israel begins to intermarry with the peoples around them and worship their idols. Just like God said.

Older Post
"Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the "tent of meeting." Anyone inquiring of the Lord would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp." (Exodus 33:7)

Over the course of my Christian life I have known a few saints who lived in the Presence of God. God was real to them and those around them were aware of this "aura" of God's Presence. Manley Beasley was one of those people. He, over the course of his life, had learned to practice the Presence. He experienced the truth found in John 1:14, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt [tabernacled] with us."

Four types of Tent dwellers reside in and around the Tent of Meeting: 

1. Those who enter the Tent of Meeting (Moses) and are there when the pillar of cloud descends upon the Tent.

2. Those who are irresistibly drawn to the Presence and remain in or peripheral to the Tent of Meeting (Joshua)

3. Those who would "go to" the Tent of Meeting on occasion (inquirers)

4. Those who watch the Tent of Meeting from a distance (Israel)

What takes place within the Tent of Meeting doesn't remain in the Tent. Those who spend time there live with a greater appreciation of and awareness of who God is as they learn His ways. Others around them are aware of the Presence in and on their lives.

I long to walk continually in the awareness of the Presence. I don't have to beg for something that I already possess but I do need to learn how to "practice" His presence, appropriate His presence. His Spirit dwells in my spirit. The more I walk in the awareness of this truth, the more aware I am of His presence.

Some folk try to make this a mystical experience (it may be so for some) when really, it is, first, a faith experience. Then, it becomes your reality.

Questions for today's Chronological reading:
Exodus 33:7-36:7
  • What request does Moses make of God?
  • Why is knowing God's ways so important (Psalm 95:10)?
  • What does God reveal about Himself to Moses?
  • What are the conditions God gives to the people regarding the continuation of His presence?
  • What does God promise He will do for the men who appear before him three times a year?
  • What will this require from them?
  • How does God involve everyone in His work of building the tabernacle?
Turning truth into prayer
Tell the Lord that you would like to become a Tent dweller. Ask Him to help you learn to practice His Presence until He becomes your greatest reality.