Rev. E. Anderson
The book of Joshua is a good bible book for Christians to study for it gives illustration of, we, too, like Israel should learn to possess their inheritance that God has promised in Christ. There are lessons to learn for all. May you discovered much from the following notes.
INTO THE LAND OF PROMISE – THE BOOK OF JOSHUA
FAILING TO FULFIL ALL
ATTAINMENT: It is good to read that Israel had made it not only to the Promised Land but were now actually in it as conquerors and possessors. As Joshua was to point out there “had not failed any of God’s promise.” What had been assured centuries passes had come into being. It was no wild fantasy or vain imagination: the thing had happened in spite of all the difficulties. The faithfulness and goodness of Jehovah had been very much in evidence and they had every reason to show their appreciation to Him for bringing all into effect.
PROBLEM: From v10 it becomes apparent that there is a failure to accomplish all the divine design. The enemy had not been completely dealt with. There was an element still around and abroad and so it is gathered from this fact that there was a falling short of their mission. They had certainly achieved a magnificent front in dealing with the majority but there were the remains of a minority. The Israelites had come to a place of seeming invincibility but then stopped short at this point of carrying out a full execution of the opposition.
PROGRAM: it looks as if the program was altered to accommodate the minority – Judges 1:28, 30, 34, 35. The enemy was made to serve in a tributary role. They became, for a time, serfs and made to live in bondage to the new ruler, Israel. It seems that God’s People came to the point of limitation and accepted this status quo of affairs. What lessons are to be deduced from this?
1/. THERE IS THE LOSS OF DIVINE VISION AND ABILITY
The first thing that seems to come through is that God’s People had lost sight of the Lord’s intention and program and also of His omnipotence. He who had shown His almightiness in Egypt, the Wilderness and even in their entrance into Canaan was surely with them to see the whole issue through. The fact that they had dealt with the majority ought to have inspired them to deal with the minority. No one and nothing should stand against them. All should fall. The land needed to be purged of all the idolaters and false worshippers. What had happened at Jericho should have continued unabated so that the land was utterly free from enemies. But it seems that Israel changed in their attitude and thinking. The will to fight and see the thing right through was absent.
2/. THERE IS THE INDICATION OF MISTAKE
There is no doubt this was a mistake as history was to prove. Settling for this kind of situation was not in their ultimate interest and good. It may have seemed okay for the time but the sign was that it was a major blunder. Whilst they were in a possessing mind and mood it would have been better to finish the job. There is no indication that they sought the Lord about this issue, if they had done so they would have obtained his mind and favour. Stopping short is always a mistake and has to be guarded against.
3/. THERE IS THE EVIDENCE OF WEAKNESS
Whilst being in a strong condition they express a token of weakness. Never could their spirits been so strong and yet, there is the manifestation of giving way to the opposition. There is certainly a paramount lesson to be learned here because it is oft repeated throughout the history of Christendom. When apparently in an invulnerable state there appears cracks. So many at their strongest hour have suddenly exposed a weakness that one never thought would be. At the time of conquest there has to be a spiritual watchfulness abroad.
Illustration: David at the strength of his power and victories is suddenly brought down morally and an awful price had to be paid.
4/. THERE IS FACT OF COMPROMISE
This is always a present and prevailing factor when involved with God and His purposes and it was evident then. They decided to let a certain amount of their enemies to exist by their side and cause them to pour into their immediate revenue. Surely there could be no harm in permitting them to contribute to their well being and prosperity. The plan and procedure looked wise, sensible and profitable. After all, hadn’t they been similarly placed in Egypt. They had worked and slaved to the advantage of the Egyptians so why shouldn’t they benefit from a like working.
But what they did was to give way to that which was not in the perfect plan of God for their life, faith and worship. Toleration may seem to be okay at times but there must be awareness that it is not compromising the divine will. It is easy to conform and take the easy way out at times because the other route makes more demands and is more costly. Of course, there was the need to get settled down and be truly established, but could this really take place with enemies still around. They may pay their tribute but inwardly they would be grieve and be determined if opportunity was forthcoming in the future to reverse the scene.
5/. THERE IS THE PROPHECY OF DANGER
Whether the Israelites realized it or not, these people would become thorns in their sides and a threat to their peace and prosperity. The fact that they did not drive them out gave intimation that in the days ahead they would become a problem. It wasn’t good that they should be there because of their pagan practices and the possibility of resorting to their ways. This is what precisely happened as the book of Judges revealed – chapter 3:1-8. They began to fall foul of the deceptive tactics of evil and so suffered.
It is imperative to know the full extent of God’s will on the subject of possession. The indications are that the Lord’s will is that the enemy should be completely driven out – Mark 5.
The enemy having been driven out then the Lord must occupy the life and be in full control – Matthew 12: 43-45.