Destroy the images and high places

52 then you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, destroy all their engraved stones, destroy all their molded images, and demolish all their high places; 53 you shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land and dwell in it, for I have given you the land to possess.”55 But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall be that those whom you let remain shall be irritants in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall harass you in the land where you dwell. 56 Moreover it shall be that I will do to you as I thought to do to them.’” Numbers 33:52-53 & 55-56 NKJV

Today we read Numbers, chapters 33 & 34. Chapter 33 verse 1 basically starts the story of the Israelites’ journey beginning back in the book of Exodus when they left Egypt. Then these chapters simplify the journey without any of the events which happened and only the locations and timeline.  It is a nice summary.

Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

However, in these summaries (of the journey and summary of appointing leaders and summary of mapping out land and territories) the above verse quotes a command of the Lord. Only three times in today’s reading does the Lord speak; once to lay out the land, another to appoint leaders, and this passage above (which stands out). 

Let’s see if we can peel back the layers of this and find some depth –

Layer one – the physical: Drive out the evil inhabitance or they will be a problem. I can see that. If you invade my house but tell me I can live on the back porch – you better believe I am going to be an irritant! You keep my stuff inside with you and I will be irritating you to get my stuff and my house!

Layer one – the physical consequences: Now there is conflict and unrest and we both must be managed.  

Layer two – the spiritual: verse 54 says “destroy all their engraved stones, destroy all their molded images, and demolish all their high places”.  Why must we destroy it all? Do inanimate objects have the ability to contain demons? This is a theological debate – and I do try to stay away from such debates. First because I do not want to offend someone when there is no clear earthly answer and they may believe something other than what I say. And the other reason is because I do not want to be wrong – and accountable to God for misleading. 
But some of the things I have already published are not the only way to look at a verse or topic. That is the grace and glory of the depth of the scriptures. There are many layers and sometimes they seemingly contradict but the spirit world has different physics, so to speak.
So – there are no scriptures that I am aware of that specifically say that it is possible for an object to be possessed by a spirit. We know in idolatry worship (and occult practices) God always says to destroy it completely, as we see here. Is it because they contain spirits? If so, does destroying it actually destroy a spirit? See…. I think we are looking at this wrong and asking the wrong questions. God said to destroy it – therefore we should destroy it.
“Neither give place to the devil.” Ephesians 4:27 KJV
If it can contain evil or not – it is a place for the devil. It was made to honor something other than the One True Living God and it therefore honoring the devil. Having it around will give others the impression that you worship or stand for something that isn’t Purity to God.
“Abstain from all appearance of evil.” 1 Thessalonians 5:22 KJV
AND let’s be honest, some of that stuff will give you the creeps – moreover, it will make your spirit uneasy when you are spending time in the presence of the Lord.
I have seen occult object be in the home of a Christian and seen them struggling and faiing – but when an evangelist came through and told them to destroy them – I have seen the blessing of the Lord pour out abundantly.
We will not know if evil can possess an object until we get to heaven and can ask.  I the meantime, here on earth we should destroy such objects.  And if you believe it does have evil power – you faith opens the door for it and it is so. We see the authority faith has and so – if I was speaking one on one with you and you had that mindset – I would tell you to destroy it and agree with you that it had power (because you have given it power or another had given it power and you somehow applied some belief or faith in it.   The spirit world is tricky like that.  We assign power and authority without even realizing – these are what we call strongholds.

Level two – the spiritual consequences: “56 Moreover it shall be that I will do to you as I thought to do to them.”  In Isaiah 55:8-9 we see that God flat out says His ways and thoughts are NOT of the same logic patterns as we humans have developed. Because we cannot fully understand the ways of the Lord – we cannot, therefore, fully understand the meaning of this verse.  We know God is a just God. We know He does pour out His wrath and judgments when He sees fit. We know that sometimes He just sets things up to self-destruct.  We know He is longsuffering and kind because He is love and He extends grace. So we do not know what His thoughts are. We just know that if we are not separated, we did not destroy these things, and we have entanglements – God will permit the same plans for us that He has for the evil.

I sit here separating myself from entanglements of my past. There are always elements – it seems. Almost 50 years of life and flesh being drawn to evil and sin. At this point they are no longer images carved in stone those were obvious and easy to remove from my life. It is the high places – the things that have crept in that threaten you relationship with God that take sacrifices from you and you may not even realize (Yes, it was in the high places that they made sacrificed to the pagan gods) – it is those things which want to be first in your life instead of God but they were out of sight so you didn’t remember they were there. When I was young I did not destroy all the high places – so as an adult I find myself irritated and fighting them. I fear the Lord and do not want His wrath, or even His discipline since I know they are wrong and must go.  (I know I mixed those metaphors a little but it covers a broader set of bases this way).

What hinders your relationship with God? What takes time away from God? What rises up against God in your life?  We see the Israelites never fully dealt with these things and now even the Holy city is divided. World events are shaped by their lack of destroying these things.
On a personal level – will you let the same happen within yourself? Will you let something keep you from the presence of God?  

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: 2 Peter 1:3
NKJV – “as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,”
NAS – “for His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”
ESV – “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,”
NLT – “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.”
NIV – “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: Numbers 33-34 NKJV

Israel’s Journey from Egypt Reviewed

33 These are the journeys of the children of Israel, who went out of the land of Egypt by their armies under the hand of Moses and Aaron. Now Moses wrote down the starting points of their journeys at the command of the Lord. And these are their journeys according to their starting points:

They departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the day after the Passover the children of Israel went out with boldness in the sight of all the Egyptians. For the Egyptians were burying all their firstborn, whom the Lord had killed among them. Also on their gods the Lord had executed judgments.

Then the children of Israel moved from Rameses and camped at Succoth. They departed from Succoth and camped at Etham, which is on the edge of the wilderness. They moved from Etham and turned back to Pi Hahiroth, which is east of Baal Zephon; and they camped near Migdol. They departed [a]from before Hahiroth and passed through the midst of the sea into the wilderness, went three days’ journey in the Wilderness of Etham, and camped at Marah. They moved from Marah and came to Elim. At Elim were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees; so they camped there.

10 They moved from Elim and camped by the Red Sea. 11 They moved from the Red Sea and camped in the Wilderness of Sin. 12 They journeyed from the Wilderness of Sin and camped at Dophkah. 13 They departed from Dophkah and camped at Alush. 14 They moved from Alush and camped at Rephidim, where there was no water for the people to drink.

15 They departed from Rephidim and camped in the Wilderness of Sinai. 16 They moved from the Wilderness of Sinai and camped at [b]Kibroth Hattaavah. 17 They departed from Kibroth Hattaavah and camped at Hazeroth. 18 They departed from Hazeroth and camped at Rithmah. 19 They departed from Rithmah and camped at Rimmon Perez. 20 They departed from Rimmon Perez and camped at Libnah. 21 They moved from Libnah and camped at Rissah. 22 They journeyed from Rissah and camped at Kehelathah. 23 They went from Kehelathah and camped at Mount Shepher. 24 They moved from Mount Shepher and camped at Haradah. 25 They moved from Haradah and camped at Makheloth. 26 They moved from Makheloth and camped at Tahath. 27 They departed from Tahath and camped at Terah. 28 They moved from Terah and camped at Mithkah. 29 They went from Mithkah and camped at Hashmonah. 30 They departed from Hashmonah and camped at Moseroth. 31 They departed from Moseroth and camped at Bene Jaakan. 32 They moved from Bene Jaakan and camped at Hor Hagidgad. 33 They went from Hor Hagidgad and camped at Jotbathah. 34 They moved from Jotbathah and camped at Abronah. 35 They departed from Abronah and camped at Ezion Geber. 36 They moved from Ezion Geber and camped in the Wilderness of Zin, which is Kadesh. 37 They moved from Kadesh and camped at Mount Hor, on the boundary of the land of Edom.

38 Then Aaron the priest went up to Mount Hor at the command of the Lord, and died there in the fortieth year after the children of Israel had come out of the land of Egypt, on the first day of the fifth month. 39 Aaron was one hundred and twenty-three years old when he died on Mount Hor.

40 Now the king of Arad, the Canaanite, who dwelt in the South in the land of Canaan, heard of the coming of the children of Israel.

41 So they departed from Mount Hor and camped at Zalmonah. 42 They departed from Zalmonah and camped at Punon. 43 They departed from Punon and camped at Oboth. 44 They departed from Oboth and camped at Ije Abarim, at the border of Moab. 45 They departed from [c]Ijim and camped at Dibon Gad. 46 They moved from Dibon Gad and camped at Almon Diblathaim. 47 They moved from Almon Diblathaim and camped in the mountains of Abarim, before Nebo. 48 They departed from the mountains of Abarim and camped in the plains of Moab by the Jordan, across from Jericho. 49 They camped by the Jordan, from Beth Jesimoth as far as the Abel Acacia Grove[d] in the plains of Moab.

Instructions for the Conquest of Canaan

50 Now the Lord spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan, across from Jericho, saying, 51 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you have crossed the Jordan into the land of Canaan, 52 then you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, destroy all their engraved stones, destroy all their molded images, and demolish all their [e]high places; 53 you shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land and dwell in it, for I have given you the land to possess. 54 And you shall divide the land by lot as an inheritance among your families; to the larger you shall give a larger inheritance, and to the smaller you shall give a smaller inheritance; there everyone’s inheritance shall be whatever falls to him by lot. You shall inherit according to the tribes of your fathers. 55 But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall be that those whom you let remain shall be irritants in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall harass you in the land where you dwell. 56 Moreover it shall be that I will do to you as I thought to do to them.’ ”

The Appointed Boundaries of Canaan

34 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Command the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land of Canaan, this is the land that shall fall to you as an inheritance—the land of Canaan to its boundaries. Your southern border shall be from the Wilderness of Zin along the border of Edom; then your southern border shall extend eastward to the end of the Salt Sea; your border shall turn from the southern side of the Ascent of Akrabbim, continue to Zin, and be on the south of Kadesh Barnea; then it shall go on to Hazar Addar, and continue to Azmon; the border shall turn from Azmon to the Brook of Egypt, and it shall end at the Sea.

‘As for the western border, you shall have the Great Sea for a border; this shall be your western border.

‘And this shall be your northern border: From the Great Sea you shall mark out your border line to Mount Hor; from Mount Hor you shall mark out your border to the entrance of Hamath; then the direction of the border shall be toward Zedad; the border shall proceed to Ziphron, and it shall end at Hazar Enan. This shall be your northern border.

10 ‘You shall mark out your eastern border from Hazar Enan to Shepham; 11 the border shall go down from Shepham to Riblah on the east side of Ain; the border shall go down and reach to the eastern [f]side of the Sea of Chinnereth; 12 the border shall go down along the Jordan, and it shall end at the Salt Sea. This shall be your land with its surrounding boundaries.’ ”

13 Then Moses commanded the children of Israel, saying: “This is the land which you shall inherit by lot, which the Lord has commanded to give to the nine tribes and to the half-tribe. 14 For the tribe of the children of Reuben according to the house of their fathers, and the tribe of the children of Gad according to the house of their fathers, have received their inheritance; and the half-tribe of Manasseh has received its inheritance. 15 The two tribes and the half-tribe have received their inheritance on this side of the Jordan, across from Jericho eastward, toward the sunrise.”

The Leaders Appointed to Divide the Land

16 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 17 “These are the names of the men who shall divide the land among you as an inheritance: Eleazar the priest and Joshua the son of Nun. 18 And you shall take one leader of every tribe to divide the land for the inheritance. 19 These are the names of the men: from the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh; 20 from the tribe of the children of Simeon, Shemuel the son of Ammihud; 21 from the tribe of Benjamin, Elidad the son of Chislon; 22 a leader from the tribe of the children of Dan, Bukki the son of Jogli; 23 from the sons of Joseph: a leader from the tribe of the children of Manasseh, Hanniel the son of Ephod, 24 and a leader from the tribe of the children of Ephraim, Kemuel the son of Shiphtan; 25 a leader from the tribe of the children of Zebulun, Elizaphan the son of Parnach; 26 a leader from the tribe of the children of Issachar, Paltiel the son of Azzan; 27 a leader from the tribe of the children of Asher, Ahihud the son of Shelomi; 28 and a leader from the tribe of the children of Naphtali, Pedahel the son of Ammihud.”

29 These are the ones the Lord commanded to [g]divide the inheritance among the children of Israel in the land of Canaan.

Footnotes

  1. Numbers 33:8 Many Heb. mss., Sam., Syr., Tg., Vg. from Pi Hahiroth; cf. Num. 33:7
  2. Numbers 33:16 Lit. Graves of Craving
  3. Numbers 33:45 Same as Ije Abarim, v. 44
  4. Numbers 33:49 Heb. Abel Shittim
  5. Numbers 33:52 Places for pagan worship
  6. Numbers 34:11 Lit. shoulder
  7. Numbers 34:29 apportion

2 Replies to “Destroy the images and high places”

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