The book of Judges is a book about heroes, some men, and some women. Although they were not perfect, coming from different backgrounds, they were submissive to God. It is a book about sin and what happens to those who fall into sin. The book is divided into three sections.
During the previous years, Joshua had led the children of Israel into the Promised Land of Canaan, after the death of Moses. The nation had promised to obey and worship the Lord. The time had come that Joshua and the elders had died and were buried. God had instructed the Israelites to clear the land of its inhabitants, but they failed to do so.
In the first half of chapter one, it continues the story from the book of Joshua of the Israelites conquest of Canaan, the land promised to their ancestors. God had given them the ability to overcome and conquer many of the enemies. The political and military challenges they were able to face, but the spiritual issues they had a problem with. The lifestyle of the Canaanites was too appealing to them.
If we endeavor to address life's difficulties just with human application, we will see that they are too overwhelming, and we will not be able to resist. We must be in line with God's will, following His direction in every decision we make. Just like what the Israelites faced, we are living in a 'me first, anything goes society'. The life of a Christian and the life of the world cannot coexist.
The land of Canaan had many city-states. Each city had its own government, laws, etc., and the Israelites had to conquer each city-state individually. The main problem for Israel was the country's religious practices. In the book of Joshua, when the Israelites initially entered the Promised Land, the twelve tribes worked together swiftly to conquer the land. Now that the 12 tribes had divided up the land, each tribe was responsible to remove any remaining enemy from its own region. (Joshua 1-24)
Some tribes were successful while others were not. Some became fearful, weary, undisciplined, or began doing their own thing. Their faith had wavered. We must live by faith daily. Our faith in God must be in every aspect of our lives, not just at or during church services.
All the inhabitants of the land were to be cleared from the land, but the tribes failed to do this. God had given the Israelites instructions to deliver judgment to the wicked people of Canaan, earlier during Abraham's time. But eventually, the Israelites became wicked and had to be punished. (Genesis 15:16, 2 Kings 17, 25, Jeremiah 6:18-19, Ezekiel 8)
Each tribe was unsuccessful in driving out the Canaanites. Some reasons might be that they had grown tired of fighting, they lacked discipline, they were afraid of the enemy, they died spiritually from the temptations of the land that they could not handle.
How much of this sounds like Christians today? We can see it throughout our society. Christians, in general, have given in to the world's temptations, its greed, its sinful desires and pleasures. We have put everything between ourselves and serving God the way we should. You can see it in the idolatry and hatred in our nation. We need to repent, get our hearts right with God. Stand and face the enemy, not by our own strength but by the strength of our Lord and Savior. (Ephesians 6:10-12, Deuteronomy 31:6, Psalm 27, 1 Chronicles 28:20, Philippians 4:13)
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