These are the kings of the land whom the Israelites had defeated and whose territory they took over east of the Jordan … Here is a list of the kings of the land that Joshua and the Israelites conquered on the west side of the Jordan. Joshua 12:1,7
These two verses tell us that Joshua removed all the major military threats to Israel’s occupation of the land. Joshua achieved the task God called him to do securing the nation’s future. However, there was more to do.
Each tribe was now responsible for their territory and it was up to them to fully possess the land allotted to them. Unfortunately, they weren’t as successful in this task as Joshua had been in his. The tribes became apathetic in their calling and often allowed the Canaanites and other nations to continue practising their pagan religions. These nations worshipped many different gods. Their way of life influenced the Israelites who began worshipping other gods while still worshipping Yahweh. Syncretism crept in.
Likewise, Jesus through his death and resurrection, conquered our major threat, Satan. Now it’s up to us to enforce God’s victory in our lives. However, we’re often like the Israelites and allow wrong attitudes to remain in our lives. Wrong attitudes grow if we’re not convinced the Bible is true, if we’re not sure God really loves us and if we don’t believe God has ultimate sway in the world. When this is the case it’s easy to accept other beliefs and incorporate them into our Christian world view.
The solution is to choose God as our highest priority. We won’t fall into syncretism when we believe he is an all-good, Sovereign God, who loves us deeply.