Summary: God saved Israel from Egypt so that they may worship in truth, not in the way of Egypt or of the Canaanites.
Today, I just want to focus on the last verse, verse 10 “But they did not drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer, so the Canaanites have lived among the Ephraimites to this day, but 1they have been forced to work as slaves.”
The last verse of the chapter tells us that the tribe of Ephraim did not drive out the Canaanites who lived in their land. Instead, they forced the Canaanites to work as slaves (10). It didn’t say they could not drive them out, but they did not drive them out because they could drive them out. In fact, if they could force the Canaanites to work as slaves, then it means they had more than enough power to drive them out, but they didn’t. That was a very serious problem before God because God had commanded numerous times that they had to kill them all because allowing the Canaanites to live would corrupt the Israelites.
So God commanded, for example, Deuteronomy 28:16-18 “But as for the towns of these peoples that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, you must not let anything that breathes remain alive. 17You shall annihilate them—the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites—just as the Lord your God has commanded, 18so that they may not teach you to do all the abhorrent things that they do for their gods, and you thus sin against the Lord your God.”
Why is it so important that they were not to live with the Canaanites and not to be influenced by them, their ideas, their values, their way to live and worship? Because they have a very special calling as people of God. These people had lived in Egypt for 430 years, then about 50 years ago by then, God had called and sent Moses to deliver the people from Pharaoh in Egypt. Do you remember what was the message of God proclaimed to Pharaoh through Moses?
Exodus 10:3 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said to him, "This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: 'How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, so that they may worship me.
“Let my people go so that they may worship me.” God pronounced this message not one time, but 7 times God repeated this message to Pharaoh through Moses.
God wanted to rescue the Israelites so that they might worship Him. God wanted His people to be primarily worshippers of Him.
You and I also have to remember God called us and saved us so that you and I may become worshipers. Our primary calling is not to become pastor, elder, deacon or evangelist. If we fail in worshipping the Lord, we fail in the primary responsibility no matter how well we do in our ministry.
But there is a condition to become worshippers. That’s why God wanted them to leave Egypt.
But, Pharaoh didn't understand it so he suggested to Moses that the Israelites stayed there in Egypt to offer sacrifice. But, Moses couldn’t and didn’t accept his offer. Why do you think it was necessary for the people to leave Egypt before they worship God?
God said through Hosea the prophet, “I delight in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” (Hosea 6:6) Jesus said, “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (Jn 4:24) You can worship only in truth, you have to have a right understanding of who God is. You have to have the right understanding of what God thinks, which is truth in order to worship Him. But, the Israelites, though they were Chosen people, their mind was so corrupt because they had learned the wrong ideas and concepts of who God was and how to worship as they had lived for more than 400 years. Since their understanding of God was so wrong, their understanding of human beings and their worldview was also so wrong and they weren’t prepared yet to worship God.
Our passion for God and our desire to worship God do not guarantee that we are ready to worship. We have to have the right understanding of who God is and what God sees. This is why we have to study the Bible carefully so that we may have the right understanding of who God is. In fact, our worship of God and our service for God without the proper understanding of God and His will, could bring more harm than service to ourselves and others.
This was what exactly happened among the Jews in Paul’s time and even today. They have a zeal for God but not based on God’s word as Paul said: “Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. 2For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness.” (Romans 10:1-3)