DEAL WITH SIN OR GOD WILL DEAL WITH YOU
Disobedience eventually catches up with you
Jerry A Collins
1. Does God insist that we obey Him completely?
2. Are we in danger of compromising with sin?
3. How does God expect us to manage sin in our lives?
We have to stop living as if we can get away with our sinful ways and habits. It is amazing how resourceful we can be about our sinful ways. When God speaks He expects full cooperation not just partial determination. There is simply no room in God’s economy for half-hearted approaches at obedience. We cannot make deals with God to let us off of the hook as we pursue our own strategies to survive or compete. God has expectations for us revealed in His commandments to us. These commandments are not suggestions but the expression of the mind and heart and will of God for us. We often abandon that heart and ignore God’s desire for us. Each attempt to do so places us in jeopardy. It is a personal and spiritual type of jeopardy and the Bible warns us of this when we only partially obey God or do so on our terms and not his. So Judges teaches us to quit sabotaging our walk with God and our own personal and spiritual development. It may be easy to start with the correct mindset and even have some initial spiritual victories in your life. But if you persist in only partial obedience it will eventually catch up with you as you allow sin to remain in your life undefeated. We will learn that disobedience leads to defeat no matter how many victories you have had in the past.
IT IS A GOOD THING TO GO TO WAR AGAINST SIN 1-20
Just in case you think it is better to live with your sin or compromise with it or tolerate it the battles of Judah and Simeon remind it is always better to battle it.
1. It is something God wants us to do 1-2 This kind of war is in harmony with what it is God wants us to do. God had commanded Joshua to take the armies into the land and conquer the territory. Now that the land is divided amongst the tribes it is still necessary that these tribes individually mop up the enemy in and around their allotted territories. They had to fight to displace the Canaanites yet remaining. So we move from a national war to more of a regional one. It is still a good thing to battle sin in our lives. You must become sin-sensitive if that is to happen.
2. It is sin God wants us to battle 3-8
This section chronicles the battles in the south with Judah and Simeon—a tribe eventually absorbed by Judah in the south. Together they wage war against Bezek and conquer the king and the city. The fight was a specific one—against the Canaanites—vs 3. Notice the progression that flows from this commitment. (1) They determine to fite the Canaanites vs 3. (2) The Lord gave the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hands vs 4. (3) They defeated the Canaanites and the Perizzites. When you do what God wants you can expect to receive what God has and that will bring you victory. You cannot anticipate victory by osmosis. God expects you to fight. Why is it that the Canaanites were still in the land? From a human standpoint they are there because they did not get rid of them. From God’s perspective, they are there to teach us to go to war. The spiritual life is a war between your new self and your sinful nature. The book of Judges is about war. You can go to war against sin with the confidence that it is the same war God is fighting. God is not tolerating sin today. He never has at any time. By the way, the cutting if the thumbs and big toes was a humiliation since it disabled the King from handling a weapon or standing in battle. Without the ability to fight and lead his army this mutilation disqualified him from further kingship.
3. It is complete victory we must seek 9-11
They carried the fight to the major city of Jerusalem and captured it. Then they turned south and west determined to fight and win. They headed to the desert and to the foothills to dislodge the enemy. The weather and geography did not stop them. Unfortunately the initial success at Jerusalem did not last. Judah eventually failed to displace the Jebusites permanently (Josh 15:63) and their brothers, the Benjamites were not successful either 1:21). Nonetheless, they fought valiantly determined to finish what the tribes had begun under Joshua as they took over their allotted territory in the south. The point is to fight for complete victory. The danger is that some would be left and become a temptation to the Israelites. Sin left in our lives is baggage that can weigh us down when tempted.
4. The battle is valiantly fought because it will be constant and difficult 11-21
1. You must be a valiant warrior 11-15
Caleb—the same one who spied with Joshua and wanted to take the land who had a warlike spirit—enlists others to fight with him now by offering his daughter in marriage to the victor. His name is Othniel Caleb’s nephew. The reward was the waiver of the customary gift to the bride’s family. He was looking for a valiant warrior who would risk war for victory. We do have a part in our battle against sin. We have to take it by the horns and determine to fight our sinful habits or sinful ways or sinful tendencies for full victory. Like Caleb, God is looking to us to be faithful warriors who never waver at the task with the promise of reward from his own hand. Caleb also provides land and springs of water for Othniel and Achsah who were allotted real estate in the south—the desert area of the Negev.
2. The battle will be difficult 16-21
Here we begin to see signs of compromise due to the difficulty of the task. First, Judah allows the Kenites 16 from Jericho who are not Israelites. They were able to mix with the people and stay in the land. However, Judah attempted to complete their mission defeating the enemy along the coastal plain in present day Gaza 17-18. Once again wesee the ominous development of incomplete obedience. Here we learn that while they took possession of their territory, they could not drive out the Canaanites completely vs 19. The stated reason is because of the enemies ‘iron chariots’ but in 2:2-3 God rebukes them by linking their inability to drive them out to Israel’s disobeying the Covenant of Moses. Actually they had not obeyed God and the difficulty of the task may have legitimized this for them. God would have none of it. Do not use the excuse I was born that way or it works for me or that cannot be such a big deal to justify your inability to have complete victory because of the difficulty to have it. Benjamin, the smallest tribe and Judah the largest tribe are both culpable. The Canaanites are determined to have their way just like our sin. We are born with it. What will happen to Israel is what will happen to us when we compromise or tolerate sin in our lives. It gives sin an edge, a place, to lodge itself and then temptation gets a foothold in our lives and becomes much more difficult to dislodge the next time. Eventually it becomes absorbed into our lives to continue to influence us and we find it harder to resist. So the Canaanites and the Kenites—for all the effort expended by Judah, Simeon and Benjamin in the south—still have a foothold in the territory.
ONCE YOU COMPROMISE MORE COMPROMISE IS EASIER 22-34
Here we have the remaining story of the rest of the tribes who followed the lead of Judah and initially conquered but eventually compromised with the enemy.
1. Compromise reveals a developing condition of disobedience 22-26. For Ephraim and Manasseh, the tribes in the center of the country, they cunningly pursued battle BUT they also let a Canaanite and his family go free 25. The result was their inability to take full possession and the Canaanites persisted in living in the land. Sin is like that. Once at home it persists in staying there. Later Israel tried to contain this with force labor vs 28. This was just another form of disobedience and compromise. Sin will be hard to battle and we should never cave in. This same solution was used in vs 30, 33, 35. In each case they could not drive out the enemy. Just because the battle is difficult is not an excuse for not fighting well and for complete victory.
2. Sin tolerated will eventually take over 29-36 As we progress north the tribes there further removed and even more vulnerable take the path of least resistance and follow the worst of the examples of the more powerful tribes. Seven times it says they did not drive them out. Four times it says the put Canaanites to forced labor. Two times it says they lived among the Canaanites. It got so bad that the Danites to weak to conquer their enemies could not even stay in most of their territory and had to migrate to the north to find some peaceful real estate 34-36. The chapter begins with obedience progresses to compromise and ends in disgrace.
1. God expects you to put up a determined fight against sin in your life.
2. If you do not it will be easier to sin and that will destroy your life.