causing others to sin
SCRIPTURE: Joshua 16
They did not dislodge the Canaanites living in Gezer; to this day the Canaanites live among the people of Ephraim but are required to do forced labour. [Joshua 16:10]
This short chapter describes the allotment of land for the sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh.
Remember that since Levi did not get any land, they needed to add a tribe to keep the number 12.
So the reward for Joseph’s role in Egypt was a blessing for both his sons.
Here we see that they also compromised, allowing the Canaanites to remain as slaves.
This verse is a hint of what will come in the future, when the Canaanites entice them to follow their immorality.
Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come! [Matthew 18:7]
Jesus knows that sin will come in this world, but He also issues a warning to those who lead others into sin.
Yes, Ephraim is responsible for allowing the temptation to continue, but the Canaanites are also responsible for the tempting that they do, as agents of the Tempter.
This is the other side of sin.
Not only are we warned not to give in to the devil’s temptation, we are also warned not to be one that tempts people to disobey or stray from God.
We can do this by example (when others see us behaving in a way that is wrong, but we do it without hesitation or remorse) or by encouragement (when we tell people its OK, or entice them to do it).
Keep in mind, the devil will use any tactic to hinder God’s purpose and God’s people.
Remember when he used Peter to keep Jesus from going to the cross, and Jesus replied, Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men. [Matthew 16:23]
This is why as Jesus-followers sent to lead people to Jesus, we need to maintain a close dialogue with Jesus, allowing His Spirit to discern and direct our ways.
We don’t want to intentionally or unintentionally lead people astray.
The devil is clever, therefore we need to be discerning.
We need to allow the Lord to speak into our hearts and actions.
We need to allow people to speak truth into our lives – even when they challenge us.
This does not need to be a morbid introspection, but an ongoing awareness that no one is immune.
The good thing is that the Lord has sent His Spirit for this very reason.
He will challenge, convict and correct us in a loving way.
Its not about condemnation, its about sanctification (becoming more like Jesus)!
Lord, show me where sin remains in my life, where I am allowing it to remain, and where I am infecting others. And help me to change!