Just as God miraculously delivered Israel from the Egyptians in a land of bondage, so God would deliver His people from the Canaanites in the land of promise.
But with the winning also came a warning: “Watch yourself that you make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land into which you are going, or it will become a snare in your midst” (Exod. 34:12).
God had delivered the Hebrews from slavery, but the responsibility to remain faithful, in spite of God’s persuasion, lay squarely with God’s people.
God’s timeless warning to watch ourselves speaks not only to the temptations this world offers but also reminds us of our vulnerability to them (2 Cor. 6:14).
The same weaknesses that bound us to sin in the old life we bring with us into the new. God delivered us from sin’s slavery in order to obey Him, not so that we would submit ourselves again to sin’s shackles (Gal. 5:1).
We can all look back and say, after recoiling from the results of foolish decisions, “If I had only known, I never would have done it!”
God warns us for this reason, so we’ll know the path of wisdom. But if we refuse to walk God’s path, even as believers, experience will teach us what we refuse to learn through instruction.
Thankfully, Jesus’ death on the cross has freed us from sin’s power to control us (Rom. 6:14). The bad news is that when we sin, we have no excuse! God set us free so that we may be free indeed to obey Him . . . even in a land of snares.
The Lord so desires our devotion as to say He is “jealous” when we look elsewhere. His Word builds a wall around our wandering hearts to warn us of our inclinations to sin and of the world’s inclination to tempt us. His jealousy both warns us and woos us to worship only Him.
Obedience is the road to freedom, humility the road to pleasure, unity the road to personality. —C. S. Lewis