Updated: Apr 3, 2021
My mom died of cancer in 2008. I remember that night, I was teaching a night class and when I got there she was gone. Many types of Cancer have exponential growth rates and treatment is often taxing. Whenever a surgeon operates to remove cancer cells, they want to remove as many as possible. No doctor would enter surgery aiming to be casual or careless about the cancer he or she leaves in the patient. The surgeon’s report that he got most of the cancer, but left some cancer cells in your stomach and lungs is not comforting.
I see cancer in and among Israel in the book of Joshua. At the end of Joshua 11 Joshua is declaring the sweeping victories that Israel has experienced. He states,
“Just as the LORD had commanded Moses his servant, so Moses commanded Joshua, and so Joshua did. He left nothing undone of all that the LORD had commanded Moses” (Joshua 11:15).
Then he addresses the elephant in the room – the presence of the Gibeonites among Israel. He goes on to say “There was not a city that made peace with the people of Israel except the Hivites, the inhabitants of Gibeon” (11:19).
Joshua states that they “took the whole land” and “cut off the Anakim from the hill country” and “there was none of the Anakim left in the land of the people Israel” – then he goes on to explain that “only in Gaza, Gath, and in Ashdod did some remain” (11:22).
Only some remain. Compromise.
Cancer cells in Israel. Cancer. It’ll spread. It’ll eat up your energy, your time, your resources, and frequently takes your life.
Not only that, back in chapter 10 we learn that some of the Canaanites had fled back into the security and protection of their fortified cities (10:20). These Canaanites remain to plague and tempt Israel to worship the gods of the lands who allegedly bring fertility. At least 8 of these cities that Israel initially conquered had to be reconquered (Judges 1).
So, we have the enemy living in and among Israel. Like cancer, you can’t leave sin in your life if you want to be healthy. So, it is with sin – are you taking a casual approach to sin? Dealing with some of it, but not all of it? Paul says we are to “put to death therefore what is earthly in you” (Col. 3:5).
What could Israel’s experience have been like if they had obeyed and dealt with that which threatened their walk with God in a decisive and thorough way?
What could your life be like if you dealt with lingering sin in a decisive and thorough way?
Be decisive my friends! Be accountable. Call a friend, verbalize what sin you need to “put to death” but understand that it will be a process (depending on the kind of sin).