For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire.
Reading Deuteronomy Chapter 7, we can see that The Lord gave pretty clear instruction to the Israelites as to how they were to deal with the people in the lands they were about to be given. Some of what we read may seem disturbing and harsh to us today, but God had very clear reasons for His instructions. He knew what would happen if any remnants of the inhabitants of the conquered land or their ways remained when His people occupied the land. He knows that any influence from the Canaanites would cause the people to turn from the one true God, to the idols and ways of the Canaanites.
Of course, God was right. The Israelites failed to eradicate all of the inhabitants of the land and their ways, and time and time again this caused them to fall away from God and incur His wrath and anger. And the reason all the inhabitants of the land were not destroyed is because the people made conscious decisions to allow them to remain.
When we are saved, we need to follow a similar pattern in our lives as we eradicate the sin in our lives. The Canaanites are somewhat a picture of our sinful lifestyles; we have to make a conscious decision to blot them from our lives. Will we wake up the day after we are saved and be sinless? Of course not! God didn’t expect His people to deal with the people of Canaan all at once either. They were to deal with them town by town, piece by piece. But the important thing was that they were to not allow remnants to stay in their midst.
We, just like the Israelites, choose to leave little pockets of bad behavior in our lives. We do this for many reasons; we do it because we think we can manage it, and we do it because we like it.
We have to wipe out the things from our past that are our problem sin; if we allow them to remain, they will return and haunt us. If drinking was your problem, why are you hanging out with your old friends at the bar? If sexual temptation was your problem, why are you watching that show or reading that magazine? If laziness and sloth was your problem, why are you laying on the couch watching TV? The list of possible questions goes on and on.
We have to wipe our our Canaanites; if we do not, then they will certainly emerge from the tiny pockets we left them in and turn us away from our God.