When we go out into the “real world,” we will encounter people – all sorts of people. Sometimes we try to decide if they are “good people” or “bad people.” The problem with that strategy is that each person has a mixture of thoughts going through the mind. We each decide which ones to hold on to and which ones to throw away. We decide which ones to act upon and which ones to avoid. In other words, there is a mix of good and bad in each of us.
That’s why it’s so important that we turn to God’s Word to discern what is good. Joshua and the Israelites didn’t have nearly as much Scripture in their day as we do today. But they did have the following passage:
And the LORD spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho, saying, "Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you pass over the Jordan into the land of Canaan, then you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you and destroy all their figured stones and destroy all their metal images and demolish all their high places. And you shall take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given the land to you to possess it. (Numbers 33:50-53 ESV)
Joshua and the Israelites knew that they were supposed to remove all the current inhabitants of the land that was promised to them. They were going to encounter lots of people who were designed for good, but were choosing evil. When the Israelites encounter these people, their instructions are clear: wipe them out. But, when the Moabites show up, Joshua and the Israelites did not obey right away. They stopped to listen to people of “the world.”
And they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and to the men of Israel, "We have come from a distant country, so now make a covenant with us." (Joshua 9:6 ESV)
How about you? When you encounter people, do you look for the part of them that is walking with God? Do you pay attention to the part that is of this world? What do you encounter when you move through your day?