Pulpit Commentary Homiletics
I. CANAANITES STILL IN THE LAND WERE A WITNESS TO THE FAILURE OF THE JEWS TO ACCOMPLISH GOD'S WILL. They may have failed
(1) from weakness and indolence,
(2) from mercenary motives, thinking to make profit out of the Canaanites with their tribute.
But these Canaanites were a cause of future trouble and a constant temptation to idolatry and immorality. We shall always suffer when we neglect God's will for worldly convenience.
II. CANAANITES REMAINING IN THE LAND WERE AN INSTANCE OF THE MIXED CONDITION OF HUMAN SOCIETY. Wheat and tares grow together. The Church and the world are in close contact. It is dangerous to associate with evil company when we can avoid it (Psalm 1:1). But it is also wrong for Christians to neglect their duty to the world in order to escape the contamination of the world's wickedness.
III. CANAANITES REMAINING IN THE LAND WERE AN EXAMPLE OF A COMMON CAUSE OF NATIONAL WEAKNESS. Much of the trouble of the dark age of the Judges arose from this fact. A nation to be strong must be united as one body, and it can only be so united when there are common sympathies binding the people together. The government which is effected through the forcible subjugation of unwilling peoples must always rest on an unstable basis, and can never accomplish the highest good of the subject races. Therefore it should be the aim of a government to avoid, if possible, the conquest of new, unwilling subjects, to cultivate the affections of all classes beneath it, and to weld them together by just equality of administration, and the development of common interests. Where national assimilation is impossible it is better that a common government should not be attempted.
IV. CANAANITES REMAINING IN THE LAND WERE A TYPE OF SINS REMAINING IN THE HEART OF THE CHRISTIAN.
(1) Most of the land was conquered. The heart of the Christian is conquered by Christ. Christ sits enthroned there. Sin is dispossessed of the citadel.
(2) Canaanites still lurked in obscure corners of the land. Sin still lingers about the life of the Christian. It retains its old character unaltered, and must be regarded as dangerous (Romans 7:23).
(3) These Canaanites were so far subdued that they served under tribute. The sin that remains in the Christian's heart no longer reigns there. It is a defeated enemy. It will be ultimately exterminated. The temptation to it may be converted into an instrument of wholesome discipline. - W.F.A.