“For your part, you were not to make any covenants with the people living in the land…
But you disobeyed my command. Why did you do this? So now I declare…
They will be thorns in your sides…”
Before any great pioneer settles in their newly discovered world, they first clear the land. So, it’s intriguing that the Israelites moved in among the Canaanites (1:33) BEFORE clearing the land.
God made a covenant with Israel that HE would give them the land, but THEY were to clear it…destroy all the pagan altars and make no covenants with the residents. So, when the Israelites moved in among the people AND their altars, no wonder God’s heart broke, “Why did you do this?”
After all, He had warned them before they ever entered the land, “But if you fail to drive out he people who live in the land, those who remain will be like…thorns in your sides. They will harass you in the land where you live.” (Numbers 33:55) God wanted His people to live free of enemy harassment in HIS promised land. But sadly, the Israelites were tormented for centuries…all because, instead of trusting and obeying God, they moved in among thorns.
If I try to live in God’s promises without first clearing my heart of idols, I too will experience the pricks of many thorns…pain My Father never intended me to feel. He sent Jesus to bear those thorns for me. If I trust HIS grace and mercy, I will never have to live among thorns!