They did not destroy the peoples, Concerning whom the Lord had commanded them, But they mingled with the Gentiles And learned their works; They served their idols, Which became a snare to them. -Psalms 106:34-36 (NKJV)
Ever seen a movie that had some obvious setups for sequels? Well, truth is stranger than fiction.
Those Israelites and their Asherah poles! A constant source of temptation to them was idolatry, and though Joshua mightily commanded the Israelites to astounding and miraculous victories throughout the Promised Land–all to God’s glory–the Israelites didn’t completely follow through. There were pockets of folks who were not driven out, as the Lord had told them to do.
These seemingly innocuous peace treaties or coexistences with the non-Israelites of the Promised Land proved to sow the seeds of much, much suffering ahead. Since all the Asherah poles and false idols weren’t destroyed, they slowly started infecting the Israelites with the attraction of idol worship. As more and more gave in, the nation was infected, and disobedience and outright rejection of the Lord became the norm.
We might think, “Those Israelites! Why are they so thick-skulled?” But in reality, they’re a reflection of us. We have our own modern idols and temptations to take God out of first place in our lives, and it’s always our choice to veer off course.
Let the Israelites’ repeated disobedience be an illustrated life lesson for us to learn: dig deep and partake in His Word. Fellowship with like-minded Christ followers to stay in God-fearing company. Pray without ceasing. As soon as we slip on any of these, those Asherah poles and false idols of today will become more and more appealing…yet again.