Summary: We compromise because we believe in alternatives and we do not believe in the grave consequences of our actions. Don't fall for the devil's lies. Hold fast to what God says. God's commands are inherently good and not impossible to be obeyed.
We will be looking into the book of JUDGES and learn from the mistakes of the past.
• The book of Judges starts with “After the death of Joshua…”
• It spans about 400 years, from the time of Joshua’s death to the rise of monarchy (when the people demanded for a king to lead them).
The first generation has passed on. They were the ones who came out of Egypt, experienced God’s deliverance but perished in the desert because of unbelief.
• They saw many miraculous signs but could not put their faith in the promise of God.
The second generation grew up in the wilderness. They saw God’s amazing provisions.
• They heard the Word of God through Moses. They kept their faith and entered the Promised Land.
• They saw how God fought for them and experienced the victories against their enemies.
Israel now is without Joshua. They are to conquer the remaining lands by tribes, according to the allocations Joshua made with them.
• They asked the Lord in 1:1 “Who will be the first to go up and fight for us again the Canaanites?” The Lord said, “Judah is to go…”
• So the respective tribes began their campaigns against the remaining Canaanites in the land.
• Seven tribes were mentioned in Judges 1 – Judah and Simeon (1:2-20), Benjamin (1:21), Joseph (Manasseh and Ephraim) (1:22-29), Zebulun (1:30), Asher (1:31-32), Naphtali (1:33), and Dan (1:34-36).
[ Read Judges 1:19-36 ]
We can tell from the reading that the author wanted to highlight something.
• Who is the author? He was not mentioned in the book, but from the content of the book and traditions, it is likely the prophet Samuel.
• Samuel wanted the readers to know that the tribes made a grave mistake when they allowed the enemies to stay on.
• God’s clear command was a NO, NO. They are to drive them out of the land completely. But Israel had chosen to co-exist with them.
1:19 says the men of Judah were unable to drive the people out because they had iron chariots.
• 1:21 says the tribe of Benjamin failed to dislodge the Jebusites.
• And then the list goes on. 1:27 says Manasseh failed too because the Canaanites were determined to live in that land.
• The enemies were more determined to fight and stay, than the Israelites were in getting rid of them.
• We see this theme “they did not drive them out” repeated throughout the text.
Instead, they pressed the Canaanites into forced labour (1:28).
• This line was repeated a few times because many of the tribes adopted this alternative. Rather than driving them out, they made them slaves.
They compromised. This wasn’t God’s will.
• The general impression we get is that the situation was tough. It was not easy to eradicate all the enemies.
• The Canaanites were determined to stay. They might have fought hard, and they had iron chariots (1:19).
The easier way out would be to make them slaves, under our control.
• It makes sense. Compromise makes sense, only TO US. It doesn’t make sense to God because He knows the future and the consequences.
• Compromise always appears to be rational and even justified, but it is not.
You want to know God’s view on this? Judges 2:1-3 God spoke, through an angel.
• 2:1 The angel of the LORD went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, "I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land that I swore to give to your forefathers. I said, `I will never break my covenant with you, 2and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars.' Yet you have disobeyed me. Why have you done this? 3Now therefore I tell you that I will not drive them out before you; they will be [thorns] in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you."
This was not a good move. Anything that transgress God’s clear Word is a wrong move, no matter how rational and justified it seems to us.
• God says He did not break His covenant. He did not abandon them. He fought for them in the past, and He will fight for them now.
• In fact, victories for them is assured, it’s a promise, but they did not take it up.
• “Why have you done this?” the Lord asked. You should know better by now.
The issue is not that the Canaanites were strong or that they had iron chariots or that they were more determined to fight.
• The issue was Israel’s disobedience. God: “I have been faithful but you have not.”
• They can win, but they have chosen to lose it, by their disobedience. They have chosen defeat.