I am using the Spurgeon Study Bible for my Bible Read Through in 2023. All of the study notes are quotes from Charles Spurgeon’s sermons and writing. For more on Charles Spurgeon, click here. The Spurgeon Study Bible is available from Lifeway, Christianbook.com, and Amazon.
There is a great line in the movie Braveheart. King Edward, the ruthless and cruel king of England, is talking with his advisors about how to crush the uprisings in Scotland. He says, “The trouble with Scotland is that it’s full of Scots.”
The same could be said of Canaan, the country to which God sent His servant Abram in Genesis 12. Verse 6 gives what is treated like a minor detail, but the entire history of Israel will prove that it is anything but:
…(At that time the Canaanites were in the land.)
Even after Joshua and the Israelites conquered the Promised Land and divided it into twelve tribes, the Canaanites would continue to be a snare to the Israelites.
The trouble with Canaan is that it’s full of Canaanites.
Here is what Charles Spurgeon had to say about this verse:
…We are to be separated from the people among whom we dwell–to dwell among them yet not to be of them… This is not an easy task. It is far easier to become a monk, or a nun, and shut ourselves up alone than it is to live in the midst of ungodly people and yet to be, ourselves, godly. To trade with the usual followers of commerce and not to fall into their business customs. To mix with the usual host of thinker, yet not to think as they think…Spurgeon Study Bible, p. 17
Israel mostly failed at this. They became enamored with the worship of Canaanite gods and goddesses. Even some of the kings of Israel and Judah sacrificed their own children in the fires of Molech. Kings were judged as good or bad depending on whether they tore down the high places (shrines and altars to Ashtoreth), or built them up again. Almost every prophet warned against idolatry.
The problem with the people of Israel was that they were full of Canaan.
How true is that of God’s people today? It’s been said that a ship is safe in the ocean as long as the ocean is not in the ship. We are still to be in the world but not of the world (John 5:19).