Summary: Many times we're not overcoming the weaknesses in our lives and inhabiting the land God has given us because of the same excuses Israel made for not overcoming the land God gave them. Learn how to inhabit your inheritance!
Turn to bibles…Judges 1-2:5
Started a new series in the book of Judges. The Book of Judges begins with a series of victories and defeats that took place “After the death of Joshua”. The boundary lines for the twelve tribes had been determined years before (Josh. 13–22), but the people hadn’t fully claimed their inheritance by defeating and dislodging the entrenched inhabitants of the land. When Joshua was an old man, the Lord said to him, “You are old, advanced in years, and there remains very much land yet to be possessed” (Josh. 13:1, NKJV). The people of Israel owned all the land, but they didn’t possess all of it; and therefore they couldn’t enjoy all of it. I think there are a lot of Christians like that. God has given them their inheritance, He’s blessed them with abundant, victorious life…but they’re not enjoying all that they possess. They’re still bogged down with the sins, the attitudes, the actions and the emotional scars of the past. So if you’re a believer this morning, it’s time to clear out all the old inhabitants and old habits from our lives.
Now, the reason Israel was told to move in and move out every other people group, wasn’t because of some kind of ethnic cleansing or holy war. It wasn’t vengeance, or imperialist economic conquest that that God wanted them to possess the land…it was for spiritual reasons. The land had to be cleared, so Israel wouldn’t fall under their pagan religious influence. God was protecting the nation of Israel, so they could give birth to the Messiah, Jesus. Unless Jesus was born, there’s no hope for any of us. It’s really about the salvation of mankind. Unless Canaan was cleansed of it’s idols, Israel would never remain faithful to God. The same is true of us. Unless our idols are removed, we’ll never remain faithful to God.
God wanted Israel to take the entire land of Canaan, but instead of clearing out ALL of the idols, they only cleared out some of them and lived with rest. They didn’t fully obey God, but they didn’t fully reject Him either. They were ½ Hearted, and as we’re going to see…they would grow to hate it! I think that’s where a lot of people are today. They’re not really rejecting God, but they’re really not “all in” either. But halfway discipleship has never been acceptable to God. He wants ALL of our lives, not just some of it. He wants Lordship over EVERY area…not just the parts we want to give Him.
So Judges chapter 1 tracks the successes and failures of 9 of the Tribes of Israel as they attempt to implement God’s commands. In Josh.1:3,4 God promises that He’s already given them the land…BUT there’s a catch…they have to agree to develop a close and humble walk with Him.
God says in Josh.1:7,8…“be careful to obey all the law…meditate on it” In otherwords, victory and rest come as a result of being dependent, obedient people of God. So they start out pretty good. They ask for God’s guidance. Vs.1… The Israelites asked the LORD, “Which tribe should go first to attack the Canaanites?” Who’s gonna engage the enemy 1st God? vs.2… The LORD answered, “Judah, for I have given them victory over the land.” Ok… the tribe of Judah is up to bat first. They that responsibility, but almost immediately they fail to obey. READ Vs. 3…
Have you ever walked in to a room after hearing a big crash and found two of your kids standing there over a broken vase or TV (etc.) and when you ask them ”What happened?” What do they say? “I don’t know!” They know they’re in trouble, so immediately they want to cover themselves. When you ask each one separately what happened, you get two totally different stories don’t you? Well, that’s what’s happening here. In Judges 1 we’re going to hear the story of what happened…from the ISRAELITES point of view. But later on in Judges 2…we’re going to find out what REALLY happened from GOD’s point of view!
Israel’s version of the story is full of excuses and reasons why they failed, …how “hard” it was to carry out God’s commands. I call them, “Excuses For Defeat” and the 1st one is found right here. It’s the
1. The Common Sense Excuse
Now, any military general knows that before you go out to battle, you have to size up the enemy. You have to figure out how many of them there are, compared to how many troops you have. You have to find out what their weaponry is, and decide whether you can counter what they have. It makes perfect sense doesn’t it? So Judah is sizing up the enemy and they decide …”Whoa, we’re gonna need some help!” and so they ask their neighboring tribe (the Simeonites) for backup. Sounds like a good plan…except for one thing…God never told them to ask for help. He told them to start the fighting themselves. In fact, HE was all the help they needed! He actually told them in vs.2 …that it was a slam dunk. He says,“Judah, I have given you victory over the land.” How much more clear can that be? But NOOOO that wasn’t enough…they wanted some additional assurance.