Summary: The best way to stay away from defeat is to avoid the things that make you susceptible to defeat.
Are You Vulnerable?
The book of Judges is an unusual book. It is a book that seems to be constantly recording the downfall of Israel. It records for us the failure of Israel to make progress.
In chapter 18 we find the tribe of Dan seeking a settlement in the land of promise. The leaders send out five men of valor to search the land as they seek a place of inheritance. These spies would then report back to the leaders about the people of the land, the provision of the land, and the power needed to take the land. These five men came upon the city of Laish.
The observation which the spies made about the city of Laish and its inhabitants are found in verse 7. The five spies inform the leaders of Dan that never was place so ill governed and so ill guarded; as a result, this would make it a very easy prey to the invader.
There was much encouragement given to their countrymen that sent them to go against the city. They represent the city as desirable. They represent the city as defeatable.
There were but 600 in all, not a hundredth part of that tribe, for when they entered Canaan the Danites was above 64,000. It appears (by Jg 18:21) that these 600 had their families and effects with them, their little ones and cattle, so confident were they of success.
As I compared verse 7 with 27 and 28, I noticed twice three things that are recorded that I believe the Holy Spirit would have us to notice that led to the downfall of this city. I believe that the same three things that made this city vulnerable, and those same three things can lead to our downfall as Christians as well.
I. LOFTINESS makes one vulnerable.
Here were a city ill guarded and poorly protected. The people of Laish were careless, quiet, and secure, their gates left open, and their walls out of repair. This fact did not bother them. They were self-confident. They had no apprehension of any danger.
CARELESS because they were a proud people. PRIDE IS THE SOIL IN WHICH A CARELESS ATTITUDE BREEDS!!!
Many are brought to destruction by their pride. Satan gets advantage against us when we are proud. Obadiah 3 “The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee.”
Pride is a stone over which many people stumble.
Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”
Proverbs 18:12 “Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility.”
Pride leads to an unguarded and careless life, and an unguarded and careless life will bring destruction.
“Be humble or you’ll stumble,” Dwight L. Moody once said.
The greatest barrier between some Christians and God’s omnipotent power is their own supposed strength.
Two Texans who were trying to impress each other with the size of their ranches. One asked the other, "What the name of your ranch?"
"The Rocking R, ABC, Flying W Circle C, Bar U, Staple Four, Box D, Rolling M, Rainbow’s End, Silver Spur Ranch."
The other Texan was much impressed and exclaimed, "Whew! That is sure some name. How many head of cattle do you run."
"Not many. Few of them survive the branding." Few survive pride! PRIDE IS THE BASE OF ALL FAILURES (I Corinthians 10:12).
II. LAWLESSNESS makes one vulnerable.
“There was magistrate in the land that might put them to shame in any thing” It was ill governed city, for every man might be as bad as he would, and there was no magistrate, no restraint, that might so much as put them to shame in any thing. The office of magistrates were to check and suppress every thing that is vicious and vile. Those who are without civil government are destitute of the means which God has appointed to restrain the wicked and encourage the good and to protect the one from the aggressions of the other.
Every man just did what he wanted to do. There was no authority them. Authority is essential to the peace and prosperity of a nation. It is never safe for a man to do that which is right in his own eyes.
God has given us a book to rule over us. We say it is our only rule for faith and practice and yet we ignore it. Psalm 119:45.
God’s people are a hedged people. We are protected by the hedges of the Word of God. If we break down the hedges, we make our selves vulnerable.
Let the Word of God be the law of our life (Psalm 119: 97-104).
The Law of God will fortify us against:
A. The attacks of Satan
B. The appeal of sin
C. The ambitions that are selfish