The Seven Enemies
of Israel in
the Promised Land

After Joshua became leader the new generation of Israel entered in to the new land of Canaan as our Lord promised. God gave them an important commandment "When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations—the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations larger and stronger than you—and when the LORD your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy. Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons". (Deut.7:1-3 NIV)

First we can examine the types of enemies there were in Promised Land. Ancient peoples had a simple approach to their names. They would call people by an obvious trait like their character, tradition or occupations. These seven nations had significant reasons for their names enabling Israel to identify their enemy and find how to beat them (or defeat them) and we can do the same.

Researchers explain the meaning of those nations;Map of the Nations of Canaan
HITTITES - This name means terror. They were giants who brought fear, confusion and discouragement to others. This is our enemy too because as spiritual Israelites we should only fear God and not anything other than God and not man. Proverbs 29:25 (NIV) says "Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe".
GIRGASHITES - The meaning of the word "Girgashite" is as one who returns back from a pilgrimage. Therefore, they are people that go back and are earthly. They build their houses using clay which shows they are not stable in their mind-set. This is our enemy too because we have to be stable in our faith always based on Jesus Christ. In Isaiah 28:16 (ESV), "Thus says the Lord God, "Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: 'Whoever believes will not be in haste.'..."
AMORITES. They were people who were arrogant and boastful in their speech, who were always challenging. They had high self-esteem and this pride led to finding fault in others. This is our enemy too because God is the only judge. So, if we judge others then we will also be arrogant before God. Proverbs 8:13 (NIV) says "To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behaviour and perverse speech."
CANAANITES. This name means merchants who humiliate. They were financial giants. The Canaanites were motivated by greed and lust for the accumulation of earthly and material wealth. This is our enemy too as we can't serve two masters and this world's possessions are temporary. James 4.4 (NIV) says "You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God."
PERIZZITES. They were people who had separated themselves and lived in unprotected, unwalled villages. They had no discipline and restrictions. This is our enemy because we have to completely surrender ourselves to God's commandments. Proverbs 25:28 (NIV) says "Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control."
HIVITES. They claimed to offer a good lifestyle, living by phrases such as "if it feels good do it", "don't worry what other people think" and "look out for number one". They lived a very luxurious life. This is our enemy because our spiritual life is a sacrificial one. 1 Tim.6.10 (NIV) says "for the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."
JEBUSITES. They were people who exploited and polluted others through immoral activities. This is our enemy because our body is a temple of our lord. Matthew 5:27-28 (NIV) says "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart."

These are The Sort Of Enemies That Were There In Caanan. And they are very similar to the enemies of spiritual Israel faces too.

But the question is, when we are born again by God, why does he let the sinful desires in our flesh remain? The answer is in Judges 3:1-4(NIV) "These are the nations the LORD left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars...(he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience)…They were left to test the Israelites to see whether they would obey the LORD's commands, which he had given their ancestors through Moses." Through these nations He is teaching the Israelites how to attack their enemies, stay healthy and remain obedient.

So He left sinful desire in us to perfect us. In God's commandment there is no compromise but to attack and kill these sinful desires completely. From Colossians 3:5 (NIV) we can see that we are to "put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry".

There are many examples in the Bible but one of the best living examples is that of the soldier in the army; after they take a pledge they then keep their body and mind fit and continue to train hard and master the use of their weapons so they can be ready for the battle at any time. They must always be alert to make sure no enemies enter their border and if enemies try to occupy their homeland then they must attack. Even after that they must continue to watch and protect the border until their period of service is over. This is the duty of a soldier in the army. They follow and obey completely their commander in training and in the battlefield.

This is the reason apostle Paul compared us with a good soldier. In 2 Timothy 2.3-4 (NIV) he says "Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer." So we have to show the same dedication. We should know to apply all our spiritual weapons to kill our enemies.

James tells us to "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (Jam.4.7 KJV). So the complete unconditional surrender to God is our weapon and strength.

The apostle Peter advises in 1 Pet.1:14-16 (NIV) "As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: 'Be holy, because I am holy'." We have to be holy because we are born again not by the perishable seed but by the word of our living holy God.

The Israelites were encouraged in Deuteronomy 20:1-4 (ESV) "When you go out to war against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and an army larger than your own, you shall not be afraid of them, for the LORD your God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. And when you draw near to the battle, the priest shall come forward and speak to the people and shall say to them, 'Hear, O Israel, today you are drawing near for battle against your enemies: let not your heart faint. Do not fear or panic or be in dread of them, for the LORD your God is He who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory."

In our spiritual race towards God's kingdom, let's remember the words of the apostle Paul who at the end of his life was able to say, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing"(2 Timothy 4.7-8 NIV).