"Yet it came to pass, when the children of Israel were waxen strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute; but did not utterly drive them out.... And the children of Joseph said, The hill is not enough for us: and all the Canaanites that dwell in the land of the valley have chariots of iron,... And Joshua spake unto the house of Joseph...the mountain shall be thine; for it is a wood, and thou shalt cut it down:...thou shalt drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots, and though they be strong."  Joshua 17:13-18

We are all facing a new year, and I want us to face it in victory. The Book of Joshua is a book of victory and tells us how to have victory day by day.

The children of Israel had gone into the Promised Land and were living in Canaan. But there was something wrong.

God's plan for His people was total occupation. God told Joshua and the children of Israel to take the land from border to border, and to take it totally. God commanded them, "You are to drive the Canaanites out of the land." Yet they disobeyed.

There was no reason for not clearing the Canaanites from the land; they just would not. These demon-possessed people were keeping them from their full inheritance and keeping them from total victory.

In looking at this account, there were three kinds of Canaanites that they failed to drive out, and they represent the things that keep us from victory.

There were Canaanites they favored.

The Israelites thought they had a better idea. They rationalized by saying, "There's no reason to drive these Canaanites out. We can make them pay tribute to us. We can tax them and make slaves out of them. Rather than driving them out, we will domesticate them, and they will be good for us."

Many of us have done that. We have favored certain sins. There are vices that we actually think we can somehow tame and get benefit from. Some people view alcohol and gambling in this way. Other vices may be a little habit, a shady deal, a doubtful behavior, or being unequally yoked. It may not be overtly wicked, and we think it's something we can control.

Friend, there are the Canaanites, or vices, that we favor and think that somehow we can take them and use them for our glory.

There were Canaanites they feared.

But not only were there Canaanites they favored, there were others they feared. Some of these were giants with chariots of iron. They said, "We can't handle them. We can't tame them like we tamed the others, so we better leave them alone."

You see, Satan will come at you in one of two ways: he will come to entice you, or he'll terrify you. He has many people convinced that they cannot live in victory. Is that you? Have you bowed down before certain things and said, "There's no use."

We often fear the drug problem, alcoholism, immorality, or criminal behavior because we are told that these problems are too big for us. So we live in dread and fear. But there is no sin that we cannot overcome — no temptation so terrible, no problem so big, no devilish power so great that we cannot overcome in the strength of the Spirit of God. Don't get the idea that somehow we are helpless victims.

There were Canaanites they had fellowship with.

Finally, there were some of their neighbors whose company they enjoyed. They even settled down and dwelt among them. They were living with their pagan neighbors, and if you will read the Bible, before long they were acting like their pagan neighbors. I want to remind you that these Canaanites were demon-possessed people who should have been dispossessed.

If we become friends with the world, next we'll begin to love the world, and then we'll conform to the world. Finally, we'll end up being condemned with the world.

Are there some Canaanites in your life? Are there sins that you favor and think you can tame? Are there sins that you fear and think you cannot overcome? Are there sins that you fellowship with and have made peace with? God's plan for you is victory! He intends for you to have His full blessing. Don't settle for less than God's best!