Scripture: verse 25
The land has become unclean, and this is why I am punishing it — the land itself will vomit out its inhabitants.
Observation: The Canaanites apparently practiced various defiling sins, including incest and child sacrifice. (I wouldn’t think those two should get lumped together, but they’re definitely in the same section.) According to this verse, their sin was poisoning the land, and the land itself would get rid of them. God goes on to warn that if His people also committed these sins, the land would get rid of them, too.
I don’t really understand the connection between the people and their land. We talk about such connections, of course, especially when discussing primitive people and the king and his land and that sort of thing, but it’s always fairly dismissive on some level.
And this doesn’t appear to be about the people communicating with the land. It’s about the land reacting to their actions. The land was being poisoned by their sin, whether they wanted it or not.
We don’t live in an agricultural society anymore, of course, but the same sort of thing can happen. Our attitudes and our actions affect our jobs and communities and surroundings and bodies in ways we don’t really understand. We’re starting to study them a little, but that doesn’t mean we can make sense of it.
So we need to watch our attitudes and our actions, because they change our environment. Sometimes it seems like I can “afford” to hold a grudge or stay cranky, because I’m around people who will forgive and understand, but when I do so I’m also changing my body and my family in ways I can’t predict. That’s never wise.
Application: Whatever is true and noble and right and pure and lovely and admirable, think about these things (Phil 4:8). And act on them.
Prayer: God, help me to stay focused on you. Help me to remember that your ways are pleasant ways and all your paths are peace (Proverbs 3). I want my surroundings to reflect good decisions that I have made, so please help me to make good decisions. Amen.