Beware of Today’s ‘Canaanites’

In 1929 a fantastic archaeological discovery was made in the ancient port town of Ugarit on the Syrian coast. Hundreds of ancient tablets were found, providing a wealth of information about Canaanite culture. They revealed that the Canaanite religion emphasized war, religious prostitution, and cultic personal sensuality. As a religion of convenience, no central sanctuary was needed. Vileness could be practiced anywhere.

Canaanite Baal worship appealed to the Israelites because it wasn’t morally demanding. There were no Ten Commandments in the Canaanite culture. It was easy for Israel to intertwine cultic sex with Scripture and consider it a normal religious expression. Depravity evolves when God’s people allow evil influences to abide with them.

There are “Canaanized” people, including believers, even today.  And a Canaanite attitude is seen in society’s casual acceptance of open promiscuity. Like some in ancient Israel, many people, including Christians, have not separated themselves from the evil influences of the world. God commands us, “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord” (2 Cor. 6:17).

Bible scholar C. I. Scofield wrote, “Separation in Scripture is twofold:(a) from whatever is contrary to the mind of God; and (b) unto God Himself. The underlying principle is that in a moral universe it is impossible for God fully to bless and use His children who are in compromise or complicity with evil.”1

Biblical Christianity condemns all sexual impurity: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality” (1 Th. 4:3). “But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints” (Eph. 5:3). The book of Judges shows that the generation after Joshua did not know the Lord. Therefore sin reigned. This is still the sad global situation today.

The generation after Joshua did not appreciate the Lord’s past works on behalf of Israel. Scripture admonishes us, “Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations. Ask your father, and he will show you; your elders, and they will tell you” (Dt. 32:7). The call is for each individual to remember and keep God’s testimony and to teach the next generation.

The works of the Lᴏʀᴅ are great, studied by all who have pleasure in them. His work is honorable and glorious, and His righteousness endures forever. He has made His wonderful works to be remembered (Ps. 111:2–4).

The generation after Joshua did not appreciate the works of their Lord. It chose to do evil and rejected the call to be holy. “And you shall be holy to Me, for I the Lᴏʀᴅ am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be Mine” (Lev. 20:26). Believers are to abstain from all appearance of evil (1 Th. 5:22). Only by the sure knowledge of God’s Word can we discern truth from error (2 Tim 2:15).

The duty of each individual is to remember God and give Him glory and worship. Then we will find strength to face the temptations of life. The great English Bible scholar F. E. March once said, “When we face difficulties, we sometimes forget God’s past faithfulness. We see only the detours and the dangerous path. But look back and you will also see the joy of victory, the challenge of the climb, and the presence of your traveling Companion, who has promised never to leave you nor forsake you.”

  1. C. I. Scofield, ed., The New Scofield Study Bible (New York: Oxford University Press, 1967), 1257 n.1.

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