11 Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. For they have even taken some of the accursed things, and have both stolen and deceived; and they have also put it among their own stuff. 12 Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies,but turned their backs before their enemies, because they have become doomed to destruction. Neither will I be with you anymore, unless you destroy the accursed from among you.
God had given Israel express commands upon going into battle, but because of greed, one disobeyed. Because of the disobedience God said that not only would they not be able to stand against their enemies, but that He would not be with them. In short, they would have to rely on their own strength. They found what good that was when they went to battle with Ai and were defeated. Without God they could not succeed.
Israel’s situation has a similar message for us today. If we are cherishing iniquity in our hearts, living in disobedience to God’s expressed will, God cannot dwell with us. In the battle against sin and the devil, we are powerless in our own strength. So, like Israel, if we enter that battle with cherished sin, God too, cannot dwell with us and we will be defeated; we will fail to overcome.
God not only desires us to put away the sin in our heart, but He has promised that He will do it for us if we ask. We can see in the book of Isaiah chapter 59:1-2 this issue described; “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear.2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.” God is mighty to save, but we must be willing to change our lives and put away the sin we love so naturally.
He has made provision for that as well. In 1 John 1:9 God says “9 If we confess our sins, He (God) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Not only will He forgive us, but He will cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness as well. But there is a condition; we must be willing to repent and turn from our sin, laying it at His feet. But are we really giving up anything. We are trading a sin polluted heart for peace, joy and strength; the trade doesn’t even seem fair.
Is there something in your life that God is wanting you to give Him? Let us, like David in Psalm 139:23-24, ask the Lord to “23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” May we ask with a heart willing to give up all that He requires. His blessing is far greater.