Unfinished Business

Manasseh did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shean and its villages, or Taanach and its villages, or the inhabitants of Dor and its villages, or the inhabitants of Ibleam and its villages, or the inhabitants of Megiddo and its villages, for the Canaanites persisted in dwelling in that land. When Israel grew strong, they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but did not drive them out completely.

And Ephraim did not drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer, so the Canaanites lived in Gezer among them.

Zebulun did not drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, or the inhabitants of Nahalol, so the Canaanites lived among them, but became subject to forced labor. Judges 1:27-30.

For the nation of Israel, conquest was good enough. Instead of completely driving out the idolators, they got weary of it and decided to rule over them as their masters. This has not gone well. Instead of obeying God and executing His judgments, they created a permanent opposition party that hounds them to this day.

For America, our disobedience comes in many forms. The African slave trade, begun by the Europeans who settled here, was the kidnapping and subjugation of people who weren’t even on their continent. There was never any biblical justification for this crime, although the most wrongheaded reading of the scriptures were routinely trotted out to sooth their greedy consciences.

You don’t have to think about it very hard to conclude that America was never really a Christian nation, but merely a religious one, that has had periodic rashes of conversions that we call revival.

We will never know if more Africans would have come to Christ if instead of sharing the gospel as their masters, Europeans and Americans had approached them as benefactors. But we do know that we would now be living in a different America.

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