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Robby Stephens



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What's Wrong With a Few Jebusites?

Welcome to my newest blog posting. I actually started writing for the website A
Good Word several years before the term "blog" was introduced. I remember
the first time someone mentioned to me that he enjoyed reading my blog. I was
actually a little offended by the term, because I didn't know what the term's
meaning was. I Googled the word just now and the definition says: "A blog is a
discussion or informational website published on the World Wide Web
consisting of discrete, often informal diary-style text entries ("posts")." My post
today fits that definition, because I'm sharing my diary-styled thoughts with you.
I often write to myself to help answer some of my own questions. I ask the Lord
to help give me a better understanding.

In our new world of speaking politically correct, I'm not sure this lesson would
fit. Actually, most biblical teachings do not fit in our culture today of trying not to
offend someone in the audience. I'm on a new journey of reading through the
entire Bible again and, as always, I struggle through much of the beginning of
the Old Testament. I would never suggest to a new believer to start reading in
the book of Leviticus, Numbers, or Deuteronomy. My biblical journey this time is
reading through the Bible in a chronological time line; therefore, I ventured
through the chapters mentioned above.

I like the book of Joshua. It is encouraging to read how powerfully the Lord can
lead those who place their complete trust in His ability to guide them. The Lord
stopped the water from flowing in a swollen river Jordan in order for His people
to cross, the walls of Jericho fell down, and many battles were won by the
leadership of Joshua as he conquered the Promised Land for the people of
Israel. I'm reading victory after victory, and then I get to chapter 15 verse 63:
“Judah could not dislodge the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem; to this
day the Jebusites live there with the people of Judah" (Joshua 15:63 NIV ).
What? Wait a minute here! I don't understand! I've read through SO MANY
miraculous victories, and the Bible says the Jebusites can't be removed? Why
doesn't God just wipe them out with a plague like He's done with the people of
Egypt?

Reading further in the book of Joshua, Joshua reminds the people how powerful
the favor of the Lord is. Joshua says, "The Lord has driven out before you great
and powerful nations; to this day no one has been able to withstand you. One of
you routs a thousand, because the Lord your God fights for you, just as he
promised" (Joshua 23:9-10). So I ask, if one man can route 1000 men because
the Lord fights for him, why can't the Israelites remove the Jebusites? I like the
favor of the Lord. I've seen this favor many times in my life. I've witnessed the
Lord's favor in my battles of day-to-day life. I like for Him to go before me in my
battles just like He promised the Israelites as long as they followed His ways.
But the crazy thing is, I get use to His favor, and I begin to think I'm doing OK.
Then I decide it's OK for a few Jebusites to live around me.

I'm certain that that is what the clan of Judah thought as they fought to
overthrow Jerusalem. Victory after victory had been going their way. (Read
Joshua 15: 20-62, hundreds of cities overtaken.) Then they get to Jerusalem,
and they can't remove the Jebusites? The Bible goes on to say that the clan of
Judah lives there with the Jebusites. You see, Judah made the decision to allow
the Jebusites to live among them. They figure what's wrong with a few Jebusites
living around them?

The problem is, that's against what God commanded them to do. Joshua
reminds his people at the end of his life here on earth, "So be very careful to
love the Lord your God. But if you turn away and ally yourselves with the
survivors of these nations that remain among you and if you intermarry with
them and associate with them, then you may be sure that the Lord your God will
no longer drive out these nations before you. Instead, they will become snares
and traps for you, whips on your backs and thorns in your eyes, until you perish
from this good land, which the Lord your God has given you" (Joshua 23:11-23).
That is exactly what happened to the people of Israel, and their trouble even
unto today started with that decision. The book following Joshua is the book of
Judges, and early in Judges the Bible says, "...another generation grew up who
knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did
evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. They forsook the Lord, the God
of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt" (Judges 2:10-12).

Now, you may be thinking: Robby, I get it about the Jebusites of the Old
Testament, but you said that you sometimes allow a few "Jebusites" to live
around you. Are you talking about allowing people of another faith to 'live
around you'? No, I'm pretty strong in sharing my faith with people of other
faiths; however, if your personal faith in Jesus is not secured, you may be easily
misguided to follow another path of beliefs. The "Jebusites" I allow in my life are
the things I sometimes choose to do that don't agree with what would honor the
Lord.

The Lord has been with me through the years, and I've personally witnessed
many battles won on my behalf without me going to combat. But through all my
victories I get a little complacent, and I think, What's wrong with a few
Jebusites? My "Jebusites" may not necessarily be the same type of temptations
you deal with, but we all have areas in our faith walk where the enemy knows
what our weakest point is in order to draw us away from a strong relationship
with the Lord. I am certain right now that you can think of the thing(s) that you
sometimes do that doesn't honor the Lord. This isn't me bringing it up, it's the
Holy Spirit living in you, and that's a good thing.

We have to make daily choices about many things. Life IS a daily battle. Do we
want the Lord God to fight our battles before us, where we are as strong as
1000, or are we OK living with a few "Jebusites" and fight our battles in our own
strength? At one time in Numbers chapter 14, God's own chosen people
decided to fight a battle on their own. The day before, they had made a choice
not to follow the ways of the Lord, and the next morning they went to battle. The
Bible says, "Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill
country came down and attacked them and beat them down all the way to
Hormah" (Numbers 14:45). I prefer not to get beat down.

The few "Jebusites" that we allow in our lives are a type of foothold that opens
the door for more opportunities. The Merriam-Webster definition of foothold is:
"a position usable as a base for further advance." We easily tell ourselves that
this foothold is small, and we can handle it, but listen to the advice in the song
Slowfade by Casting Crowns. The song's lyrics say that people never crumble in
a day, it's a slow fade. The Apostle Paul exhorts us: "...and do not give the devil
a foothold" (Ephesians 4:24).

So, what's wrong with a few Jebusites? It's not what God desires for you. You won't get
"zapped" by allowing them in your neighborhood and living around them. But
you will notice that you begin to get comfortable with them living next to you.
The next thing you notice is that you begin to lose some of the daily life battles
that you easily won in the past. Life gets harder, and depression sets in. Been
there, done that. Like I said at the beginning of this lesson, you're reading my
diary. I didn't move, but I did remove my "Jebusites," and I'm winning again
without fighting, and that makes living much easier.

Robby