God has brought them out of Egypt all those years before under the leadership of Moses. They wandered in the wilderness complaining and murmuring—what should have been a quick trip took them 40 years to enter the promised land. Do you feel it’s taking you forever to see what was promised, come to pass in your life? Could it be due to complaining, murmuring or unbelief? We have to be willing to ask ourselves the tough questions. When we do, and we hear the answer and make changes to align with God’s Word, that’s spiritual growth at it’s finest.
Now Moses was dead. Joshua had been anointed to take his place and bring the people into the promise land. It was done and now Joshua was dead. They’ve been delivered from bondage and brought into the promised land. Here they are, the Israelites, in the promise land and asking the question of God in Chapter 1 verse 1, “Who will be the first to go up and fight for us against the Canaanites?” The Lord answered, “Judah is to go; I have given the land into their hands.” They asked and God answered. Did you catch that God didn’t say I will give but rather I have given? That’s important for us to note in our own lives.
What question have you presented to God and He’s given you the answer by letting you know that He’s already provided for you in that area, but there is something He requires of you and that something is obedience? That same thing was required of the Israelites and it has not changed for us today. God is still looking for the remnant of people who will obey Him, and remain obedient to the completion of what He’s told them to do.
The men of Judah obeyed at first and took on the fights to conquer and drive the people out, and the Lord was with them. He gave those who they warred with, over to their hands. God keeps His word! He had made it clear to the Israelites (Exodus 32:11, 24 and Deut 4:38), that He would drive the Canaanites out of the land and give it entirely to them. That was way before they had entered the land of Canaan. Again, God keeps His Word. But did they? Do we?
As you read on in Judges chapter 1 you see that the men of Judah quickly begin to fall short of conquering to completion by driving them out. (Read verses 19-36). The Israelites started forcing them into forced labor but they still allowed them to live in the land, interact with them and so on. Was that what God told them to do initially? No. Perhaps the men of Judah felt it was too hard to carry out God’s command, or perhaps they decided to just do things their own way. Maybe they felt conquering enough into forced labor was sufficient rather than obeying God and driving them out of the land completely. Had they forgotten what God made clear to them in the book of Numbers that if they didn’t drive them out completely, those nations would become thorns in their sides? In other words, those nations would be a problem for them if they lived among them. Whatever our thoughts on that the bottom line is, God gave a command. He didn’t ask a favor. He didn’t say, do it if you want to. He gave a command and they came up short in obeying Him. Obedience to completion is still critical to our walk today. We can make excuses but the truth is we have to look at why we waiver at times, procrastinate, complain, murmur or just plain don’t listen to God.
Is there something God has told you to do, or to stop doing, for your own good because He loves you and has the best for you? Are you putting it off, or doing it half way thinking that’s enough? Are you gripped with the bug of procrastination, laziness, complacency, complaining, murmuring, doubt or fear? Do you think that God will understand and just move on?
As we enter Chapter 2, we see what happens when we, God’s people, don’t follow through to completion–in other words, be fully obedient to God, rather than half way.
Judges 2:1-5 AMP Now the Angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bochim. And He said, I brought you up from Egypt and have brought you to the land which I swore to give to your fathers, and I said, I will never break My covenant with you;And you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; but you shall break down their altars. But you have not obeyed My voice. Why have you done this? So now I say, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you. When the Angel of the Lord spoke these words to all the Israelites, the people lifted up their voice and wept. They named that place Bochim [weepers], and they sacrificed there to the Lord. (Bold emphasis mine)
When I study the Word I don’t just view it as something that happened in the past but I also pray to see what God wants me to learn and glean from His Word for my day to day life. What can we learn from chapter 1 and part of chapter 2? Obedience to completion is critical as God’s people. God makes commitments and keeps His Word. Do we? Are we being obedient in completing what He’s put in our hands to do? Are we doing things our way or His? Where is our focus? Yes, through Jesus Christ, we receive the grace of God, but the grace of God is not license for us to do what we want the way that we may want to. Grace says, “God, I desire to please you and to do what you’ve purposed me to do because that will honor you, bless me and cause me to be a blessing to others”.
I thought it interesting that after they didn’t follow through on what God told them to do, and the angel of the LORD let them know the consequence of that, the first thing they did was weep. Have we been there? We’ve done something or said something that is contrary to what we know God expects, and when it blows up in our faces, when it sticks us in the side like thorns, when we lose sleep, and wonder how this is all going to work out it is then the weeping comes.
For some, with the weeping comes blaming God. But is it God’s fault? Is the outcome or the consequence His fault? And at times, some blame the devil when it’s really our disobedience to God that gets us into some of the situations and frustrations we may face. If we are really willing to examine ourselves in the situation we may find that we got off track. Thank God that with the punishment (consequence/judgement) comes His everlasting love, mercy and grace as well. But wouldn’t we rather start getting it right so we can avoid the mess that comes with disobedience?
I’ll be back to share more but I’ve reached my max for today. I have to be obedient to God. 🙂
I pray you will be encouraged and challenged in your own walk by what you’ve read. I’m in this with you as we journey together in God. Praying with you!
Captured by His Amazing Love,