Barbs, Thorns, and Little Foxes

“The LORD spoke to Moses by the Jordan at Jericho, ‘Say to [the people], when you pass over the Jordan into the land of Canaan, then you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land before you and destroy all their figured stones and destroy all their metal images and demolish all their high places. And you shall take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given the land to you to possess it. But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land before you, then those of them whom you let remain shall be as barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall trouble you in the land where you dwell.'” Numbers 33

Thorns

The land of spiritual growth is fraught with distraction and danger. What ‘figured stone’ idols and ‘high place’ habits in my life, my schedule, need to go? What disordered affections, preferences, and prejudices need to be driven out? Answering any specific call necessitates saying no to other pulls, be they glittery enticements, self-serving indulgences, or ordinary activities. These ‘inhabitants of the land’ eat away at time and effort He intends for different use, diminish spiritual sensitivity and discernment, obscure perspective, and taint impurity. These ‘barbs and thorns’ will trouble us, whether we recognize their influence immediately or not.

“Catch the little foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in bloom.” Song of Solomon 2:15

Lord, the good land of Your will is broad, rich, full of milk and honey– and choices. I desire to possess it. Grant me discernment to recognize the little foxes, and courage to remove idols and places of self-worship that I might honor and serve You alone, and possess all You have provided, for Your honor and kingdom’s sake.

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