June 20, 2010

Examining The Scripture XXXVII: Sowing Seeds Of Destruction

Judges: Chapter 1 and the settlement of Canaan:

What is the first thing we see happening in Judah after Joshua's death? We see the story of the settlement of Canaan in Judges 1 and Israel fights the remaining Canaanites and holdouts...fighting them rather poorly I might add. We have a distinct contrast between verse 17 where Judah did what God commanded and wiped out the inhabitants and then we have a host of verse that say things nearly the opposite in the same chapter.

"Then the men of Judah went with the Simeonites their brothers and attacked the Canaanites living in Zephath, and they totally destroyed the city" Judges 1:17

The contrasting statements to verse 17 are below (I'll quote the first few):

"They took possession of the hill country, but they were unable to drive the people from the plains, because they had iron chariots" Judges 1:19

"The Benjamites, however, failed to dislodge the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem; to this day the Jebusites live there with the Benjamites." Judges 1:21

"But Manasseh did not drive out the people of Beth Shan or Taanach or Dor or Ibleam or Megiddo and their surrounding settlements, for the Canaanites were determined to live in that land." Judges 1:27

The list continues with similar statements in remaining verse 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34 & 35: Of the thirty-five verses in Judges 1, (11) of them or 31% directly or indirectly refer to the tribes of Judah or the Israrelites not wiping out or failure to drive out the inhabitants of the land as commanded by God (Numbers 33:51-52).

"Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'When you cross the Jordan into Canaan, drive out all the inhabitants of the land before you. Destroy all their carved images and their cast idols, and demolish all their high places." Numbers 33:51-52

Disobedience is a sin. By not obeying God’s command to they sinned against God. Over time they were duly punished. Many of these enemies or their descendants merged into Israelite culture and went incognito only to surface later like a disease (sin) that lay dormant to wreak havoc at a later time. These enemies fought or clung tenaciously to what they had and they were not overcome by the Israelites. This tenaciousness is a testament to their enduring sinful character which would inevitably contaminate the Israelite culture with their false gods, pagan idols and pagan rites through marriage and other intimate social interactions. This tenacious sinful character is also the exact reason the Lord wanted them eradicated and /or driven out. Unless they were totally destroyed and removed, even the smallest iota of their sinful culture (like a virus) could infect Israel again with idolatry and similar sin. By not driving them out completely they had already sown the seeds of their destruction right into their culture. All it would now take is for these stray seeds to come to light and begin to spiritually contaminate Israelite society like tares among the harvest.

Between Judges 1:35 and Judges 2:2 which is 3 verse, we quickly find in the next chapter of Judges, Israel again falls quickly into pattern of apostasy and disobedience.

"...and 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?' Judges 2:2

This apostasy owing itself to the failure to not drive out non-believers, probably even allowing them into their worship. This always leads to beleivers "falling away". They have even made some type of covenant/treaty with the people of the land:

“and 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? Now 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." Judges 2:2

God sets aside for holiness for a reason. If he doesn’t, we get sucked back into the sin of the world. You cannot have half of one and half of the other. God wants us totally separated for a reason. We cannot have just a little bit of sin because we continue to pursue it because of our sinful nature. God has called believers to be seperate from the world. We are in the world but not of it just as Christ is not of this world. This same principle applied to Joshua and the people he led for the Lord. By not adhering to the principles laid down by God and obeying in half measures the seeds of destruction are sown. Once this happens the only thing left to do is to repent or prepare for reaping the harvest of the seeds you've sown. Much of that harvest will either have produced bad fruit or no fruit at all.

"By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them." Matthew 7:16-20

Anything in this world that is not of Life is of death. As Jesus had answered, " I am the Way The Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me" if people sow things that are not of God what they reap in the end is death.

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