Today we start a new book! The book of Judges. This book could be made into a movie, if you don’t believe me check out the story in 3:15-30 or what about the story of Deborah and Jael in chapter 4 those are two tough women!
In today’s post though I want to focus on the first two chapters because they set the stage for the rest of the book. Beginning in verse 27 of chapter 1 we see a pattern begin to take place:
- “But Manasseh did not take possession of Beth-shean…so the Canaanites persisted in living in the land…they did not drive them out completely.” (v. 27, 28b)
- “Ephraim did not drive out the Canaanites who were living in Gezer…” (v. 29)
- “Zebulun did not drive out the inhabitants of Kitron…so the Canaanites lived among them” (v. 30)
- “Asher did not drive out…”
- “Naphtali did not drive out…”
This inspired writing is not just here to instruct us in history. Something very clear is happening, the people of Israel were to remove all the remnants of those who did not worship the one true God, and they did not. By not doing so this decision eventually led to what we see taking place in the rest of the book of Judges, a people constantly waffling back and forth between loyalty and compromise.
I want us to notice something though, the effects of this decision to not drive out the Canaanites at first doesn’t seem like such a bad thing from the perspective of Israel. In fact in several instances the scriptures tell us that the Canaanites were forced into labor as the Israelites servants. For an entire generation the decision to not drive these people out seemed “ok.”
“The people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who survived Joshua, who had seen all the great work of the Lord which He had done for Israel.” (2:7)
“All that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel.” (2:10)
Why was this so?
“they forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed themselves down to them; thus they provoked the Lord to anger. 13 So they forsook the Lord and served Baal and the Ashtaroth.” (2:12, 13)
Notice the phrase in there
“and followed other gods from among the gods of the peoples who were around them”
And why were those people around them? Because they had chosen “not to drive them out”
Then in chapter 2 verse 21 God said
“I also will no longer drive out before them any of the nations which Joshua left when he died,”
God is not being mean He is just not delivering them from their willful choice.
So my summary in all of this is:
From a Spiritual lesson that borderline sin that is hanging around or that slight compromise that might not seem like that big of deal to us at the time, may have great ramifications on the generations below.
I think of the parent that may watch some subjective movies with their kids…maybe no big deal for the parent in the big picture, but what if it opens the door for the kids to desire to explore even greater depths of that subjective material and the next thing the parent knows their children are addicted to pornography.
Or the parents that compromise slightly on their Sabbath afternoon activities, but they still go to church in the morning…no big deal…’till they see their own kids not taking the grandkids to church because they not only compromise Sabbath in the afternoon, they also compromise Sabbath in the morning.
I think it can also happen to us corporately just as it corporately effected Israel:
Just tonight a group of us that love sports (as we watched the Super Bowl I know the irony) were discussing the challenges of interscholastic sports within our Adventist schools (also a concern outside of Adventism as well).
Years ago our schools decided to move away from the counsel of Ellen White in regards to emphasizing or over promoting interscholastic sports,
“I do not condemn the simple exercise of playing ball,” Ellen White said, “but this, even in its simplicity, may be overdone. I shrink always from the almost sure result which follows in the wake of these amusements. It leads to an outlay of means that should be expended in bringing the light of truth to souls.” Ellen White, 2nd Selected Messages, p. 322.
She also states in another book,
“The games that occupy so much of … [the student’s] time are diverting the mind from study. They are not helping to prepare the youth for practical, earnest work in life. Their influence does not tend toward refinement, generosity, or real manliness. Some of the most popular amusements, such as football and boxing, have become schools of brutality. They are developing the same characteristics as did the games of ancient Rome. The love of domination, the pride in mere brute force, the reckless disregard of life, are exerting upon the youth a power to demoralize that is appalling. Other athletic games, though not so brutalizing, are scarcely less objectionable because of the excess to which they are carried, they stimulate the love of pleasure and excitement, thus fostering a distaste for useful labor, a disposition to shun practical duties and responsibilities. They tend to destroy a relish for life’s sober realities and its tranquil enjoyments. Thus the door is opened to dissipation and lawlessness, with their terrible results.” –Ellen Whtie, Education, pp. 210, 211.
By ignoring this counsel at some point years and years ago we now have people that love sports, some of us that played varsity sports all through Adventist Education now asking the questions, “Are we missing something?” “Are we really helping the current generation by endorsing this the way we do?”
This is not a diatribe on sports. I enjoy them very much, we (my family) enjoy watching the games of our school and supporting the youth of our area. But with this passage in Judges in mind and the conversation I was a part of tonight, I just must be honest…I take pause…
Of course could we say the same for the emphasis on classroom academics and our abandonment of more outdoor education, or starting kids in school at 4, 5, & 6 rather than 7, 8, & 9…
What about in the church are our shrinking churches in North America reaping the consequences of abandoning the model of pastor as church planter/evangelist for the more convenient model of settled pastor.
Okay I will save those for another post 🙂
Whether you agree or disagree I hope we will all think and be cautious if not for ourselves, for the sake of future generations in all our decision making.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Psalm 15-17