Among The Canaanites
27 March 2021
Reading: Judges 1-3; 1 Corinthians 12
Likewise, the tribe of Naphtali failed to drive out the residents of Beth-shemesh and Beth-anath. Instead, they moved in among the Canaanites, who controlled the land. Nevertheless, the people of Beth-shemesh and Beth-anath were forced to work as slaves for the people of Naphtali. (Judges 1:33 NLT)
OK, let’s get this over with! Let’s get through the Book of Judges as quickly as we can! This book is the most frustrating book in the Bible to me! I know there are important life lessons here, but it’s so discouraging to see the Israelites foolishly throwing away the blessings God has so graciously given them!
The first chapters of Judges tell how some of the tribes failed to drive out the previous inhabitants of the land allotted to them and instead settled for living among them. Sometimes the Israelites prevailed for a season and put the Canaanites to work for them. Other times the pagans prevailed and the Israelites served them.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way!
• The Israelites were supposed to stay faithful to God and he promised to give them complete victory.
• But their divided hearts led to divided loyalties and partial victories.
If I allow my heart to be divided, If I settle for allowing my renewed spirit to live among the selfish desires and mixed motives of my old nature—if I don’t grieve over the sinfulness in me, repent, confess, and forsake my sin—sometimes my new nature will have the upper hand and sometimes the flesh will get the upper hand. Sometimes my behavior will be directed by my true self and sometimes by my false self.
With enough determination, I can, for a season, make some of my old-nature characteristics work for me, but sooner or later they’ll catch me off guard and rise up against me. Friends, can you relate to any of this? We need some help down here, Father!
Father, I know there are areas of my life where I’ve merely settled for living among the Canaanites of my old nature. I resolve to keep my heart pure and drive out the enemies of my soul. I can’t do it without your power and your encouragement. Please be the victorious Captain of my soul’s battles! Amen.