Have you ever moved into a house that needed a lot of elbow grease to clean up? Maybe it was a fixer-upper, or the previous tenants left it a mess your job is to create a clean slate before you move in. When the work is all done there is a wonderful feeling of cleanliness and accomplishment. Sometimes we need to create a clean slate in our hearts as well. We’ve allowed too many things to crowd God out.
But if you don’t drive out the inhabitants of the land before you, those you allow to remain will become barbs for your eyes and thorns for your sides; they will harass you in the land where you will live. And what I had planned to do to them, I will do to you.
Israel was given very strict orders to clean out the promised land of anyone who didn’t worship God. Some people might think that is cruel but look at what God told Moses: “They will be barbs for your eyes and thorns in your sides; they will harass you.” Removal of the people from the promised land was for the Israelites benefit. They not only would take them away from worshipping God but would be a constant source of grief and pain. Unfortunately, Israel didn’t heed this advice. We also have a mandate to rid our lives of anything that is ungodly. Unrepentant sin can be like barbs to our eyes and thorns in our flesh.
Realize God’s Promises
Take a lesson from Israel on how not to do things. They didn’t obey the Lord and allowed their fears to keep them from fully realizing God’s promise for them. They didn’t get rid of the idols, and soon they became a stumbling block. We need to do a spiritual house cleaning. Ask the Lord what needs to be removed so we can be closer to him.
How do we create a clean slate? Assess your life. Where do you spend most of your time, money, and energy? If they aren’t on the essentials, then it may be an idol. Ask yourself what is causing you pain and discomfort in your life. Those may result from the “barbs and thorns” that idols have hooked you. Do whatever you can to remove those idols. David prayer “Create in me a clean heart, oh Lord and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Ask the Lord to clean house and give you a steadfast spirit towards him.