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The Girgashites

These people were one of the seven nations God promised to remove from before the people of Israel, so they could possess the land of Canaan (Deuteronomy 7.1-6; Joshua 3.10). They were descendants of Ham upon whom rested a curse from God (see Genesis 9.2510.6, 15, 16). The meaning of their name is said to be "one who returns from a pilgrimage".

Israel's failure to drive out these nations became a snare to them. The Girgashite may be typical of those principles and influences around us in the world, which would rob the people of God of their pilgrim character. In the flesh there is the ever present tendency to turn back from the pilgrimage.

It is said by some that the Gadarenes (Gerasenes) in the time of our Lord were descendants of the Girgashites (Luke 8.26, 37). When the Lord Jesus visited their country and cast the legion of demons out of the Gadarene demoniac, He gave them permission to enter a herd of swine that rushed down a steep place into the sea and perished. This carnally-minded people who witnessed the power of God through His Son, asked Him to leave their country. They set a higher value on a herd of swine, which could only benefit them materially, than on One who could give them both temporal and eternal blessings.

Paul wrote, weeping, about people who once walked with the Lord, and had become the enemies of the cross of Christ, whose mind had turned back to earthly things (Philippians 3.18, 19). He also told of Demas who had forsaken him because he "loved this present world".

Beloved, "set your mind on the things that are above, not on things that are upon the earth. For ye died, and your life is hid with Christ in God" (Colossians 3.2, 3). Shall we today re-examine our priorities, lest we also turn back from our pilgrimage?

One has written:

Oh, for a heart that weeps o'er souls,

Weeps with a love in anguish born!

Oh, for a broken contrite heart,

A heart for sinners rent and torn!

Oh, for the pangs of Calvary's death,

In fellowship with Thee, my Lord!

Oh, for the death that lives in life,

And bleeds for those that spurn Thy word!

Naught have I sought of blessings, Lord,

Save that which brings lost souls to Thee;

All else is vain, nor dare I boast

This, Lord, I crave, be this my plea.

Have Thou Thy way whate'er the cost,

In death I live, in life I die;

Thy way. not mine, 0 Lord, I pray,

Souls, precious souls, my ceaseless cry.